“This decision will load a minimum of €200 million in annual extra costs on the Finnish forest industry. This is equal to the average yearly earnings of more than 5,000 forest industry employees,” says Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
The Sulphur Directive will cap the maximum sulphur content of ship fuels at 0.1% as of the beginning of 2015. This restriction will apply in the Baltic Sea, North Sea and the English Channel. The maximum sulphur content will be reduced to 0.5% in the densely-populated Mediterranean Sea region, and this will only enter into force in 2020.
The Sulphur Directive is particularly bad for the competitiveness of Finnish companies and distorts competition both within the EU and relative to other countries. Because of its geographical location, Finland is extremely dependent on sea transports – more than 90% of the forest industry’s products are exported by ship, for example. It is not possible to pin the costs caused by the Sulphur Directive on export articles, however.
The forest-based sector of Finland faces competition from other countries that are also trying to attract investments and production facilities. An annual extra bill of €200 million poses a serious threat to the vitality of Finnish factories.
“Retaining the Finnish export sector’s present level of competitiveness will necessitate substantial compensatory measures to offset the unreasonable extra cost caused by the Sulphur Directive. This calls for both EU funding and national compensation. Subsidies for the development and implementation of sulphur-emission-reducing technologies as well as for promoting the adoption of liquefied natural gas in maritime transports will also be needed,” Jaatinen stresses.
Timo Jaatinen, Director General, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6601, +358 400 900 801