container ship at sea

Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR)

The information provided on this page is based on the European Commission Proposal dated July 2021. Key elements are subject to change before the definitive measures are adopted.

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 revision 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

  • January 2025: Deadline for submission of national policy frameworks (NPF) by EU Member States
  • 2025-2030: Potential mandatory onshore power supply (OPS) for inland and seaports

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, AFID 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 AFID 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
  • Designated 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 refueling 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?

Once AFIR is adopted, 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 ?

The European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional agreement on the proposal during the fourth round of trilogues on the measure held on 27 and 28 March 2023. 

The European Parliament's Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee is scheduled to confirm the provisional agreement on 24 May 2023. It would then need to be formally adopted in plenary. Finally, the Council will adopt the Parliament's position (without debate) and the Regulation will be formally adopted.

Once adopted, the Regulation will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

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. Like all of Fit for 55, the final form of the AFIR update has yet to be decided, though it will become clearer in the months ahead.   

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.

Explore more of Fit for 55