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Sulphur Directive to Finnish timber

Tripartite talks between the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe concluded by adding a minimum €200 in extra costs to the Finnish forest industry due to the Sulphur Directive. Source: Timberbiz

“This decision will load a minimum of €200 million ($254 million) in annual extra costs on the Finnish forest industry.

This is equal to the average yearly earnings of more than 5000 forest industry employees,” said 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 per cent 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 per cent in the densely-populated Mediterranean Sea region, and this will only enter into force in 2020.

According to the Finnish Forest Industries Federation 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 very dependent on sea transport – more than 90 per cent of the forest industry’s products are exported by ship.

The forest-based sector of Finland faces competition from other countries that are also trying to attract investments and production facilities. An annual extra cost of €200 million poses a serious threat to 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,” said Jaatinen.