container ship at sea

Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR)

Ensuring that the transition to renewable and low-carbon fuels is supported by the necessary infrastructure

The EU’s Fit for 55 proposal is its most ambitious proposed legislation towards establishing a greener, low carbon economy. 

The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) is being revised as part of the Fit for 55 proposed measures and revamped as a regulation (AFIR) to ensure that:

  • Member States adopt appropriate GHG reduction measures of equal ambition
  • the adoption of renewable and low-carbon fuels (RLF) is not constrained by a lack of recharging and refueling infrastructure

The AFIR will work hand in hand with the FuelEU Maritime legislation and the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). These three measures are essential to trigger the development of policies for the rollout of alternative fuels infrastructure in EU Member States.

What does AFIR impact?

  • EU sea and inland ports
  • EU member states

Key dates

  • 31 December 2024 : Deadline for submission of draft national policy frameworks (NPF) by EU Member States
  • 31 December 2024- 31 December 2029 : Deadlines for mandatory onshore power supply (OPS) in TEN-T ports for inland and seaports respectively

In addition to technical specifications for OPS, AFIR will include specifications for hydrogen, methanol, ammonia and LNG bunkering.

What does TEN-T mean?

The TEN-T is part of the EU’s larger Trans-European Networks infrastructure plan. While other Networks target telecommunications and energy systems, TEN-T plans to implement the infrastructure for a transportation network including, road, rail, air and waterways.

To provide integrated long-distance, high-speed transportation, TEN-T aims to improve:

  • Key roads
  • Railways
  • Inland waterways
  • Airports
  • Seaports
  • Inland ports

AFIR will ensure the proper provisions for RLF coverage in the TEN-T network.

What is AFIR?

In 2016, AFIR required Member States to create and provide NPFs to the EU Commission, which should outline national objectives for implementing RLF infrastructure, including both maritime and inland LNG infrastructure. However, the AFIR did not impose any mandatory requirements for hydrogen infrastructure, leaving it up to the Member States' discretion.

  • Main EU ports (TEN-T ports) are required to provide a minimum shore-side electricity supply for seagoing container ships and seagoing passenger ships over 5,000 GT as of January 2030
  • TEN-T maritime ports should provide an appropriate number of refuelling points for liquified methane by January 2025
  • A single solution for shore-side battery recharging points for maritime and inland waterways vessels
  • Hydrogen, methanol and ammonia refuelling points
  • Possible removal of the current requirement for LNG bunkering in TEN-T core ports

Who will enforce AFIR? How will it impact ports and ship operators?

Member States will have to update their NPFs and resubmit them by January 2025. 

Ports, both maritime and inland, will need to invest in OPS infrastructure, requiring increased support from public authorities. They will also need to plan a long-term fuel-mix strategy to ensure they plan to integrate the relevant technology.

AFIR will indirectly benefit ship operators as it will assist them in meeting the FuelEU requirements. The inclusion of provisions for both OPS and RLF infrastructure will prove useful in achieving this objective.

Is the AFIR finalized ?

AFIR Regulation 2023/1804 was published in the EU Official Journal on 22 September 2023.  It entered into force on 12 October 2023. 

How can I keep up to date with AFIR news?

The development of AFIR will give a significantly clearer picture of the availability of alternative maritime fuels. This may be worth considering for ship owners and operators when deciding their future fuel mix. 

Bureau Veritas will monitor the evolution of all Fit for 55 proposals as they are adopted. We will continue to provide advice as needed to ship owners and operators in EU waters to help them to prepare their fleets. To stay up to date with the latest developments on AFIR and other Fit for 55 measures, subscribe to our newsletter.

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