Report: Shipping Emissions to Quadruple Up to 2050

Published Dec 3, 2014 8:48 AM by The Maritime Executive

The International Transport Forum has released a new report titled "Shipping Emissions in Ports."


Shipping emissions in ports are substantial, accounting for 18 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, 0.4 million tonnes of NOx, 0.2 million of SOx and 0.03 million tonnes of PM10 in 2011. Around 85% of emissions come from containerships and tankers. Containerships have short port stays, but high emissions during these stays.

Most of CO2 emissions in ports from shipping are in Asia and Europe (58%), but this share is low compared to their share of port calls (70%). European ports have much less emissions of SOx (5%) and PM (7%) than their share of port calls (22%), which can be explained by the EU regulation to use low sulfur fuels at berth.

The ports with the largest absolute emission levels due to shipping are Singapore, Hong Kong (China), Tianjin (China) and Port Klang (Malaysia). The distribution of shipping emissions in ports is skewed: the ten ports with largest emissions represent 19% of total CO2 emissions in ports and 22% of SOx emissions.

The port with the lowest relative CO2 emissions (emissions per ship call) is Kitakyushu (Japan); the port of Kyllini (Greece) has the lowest SOx emissions. Other ports with low relative emissions come from Japan, Greece, UK, US and Sweden.

Shipping emissions have considerable external costs in ports: almost EUR 12 billion per year in the 50 largest ports in the OECD for NOx, SOx and PM emissions. Approximately 230 million people are directly exposed to the emissions in the top 100 world ports in terms of shipping emissions.

Most shipping emissions in ports (CH4, CO, CO2 and NOx) will grow fourfold up to 2050. This would bring CO2-emissions from ships in ports to approximately 70 million tonnes in 2050 and NOx-emissions up to 1.3 million tonnes. Asia and Africa will see the sharpest increases in emissions, due to strong port traffic growth and limited mitigation measures.

In order to reduce these projected emissions, strong policy responses will be needed. This could take the form of global regulation such as more stringent rules on sulfur content of ship fuel, or more emission control areas than the four that are currently in place. In addition, shipping could be included in global emissions trading schemes and climate finance schemes.

A lot could also be gained by policy initiatives of ports themselves. Various ports have developed infrastructure, regulation and incentives that mitigate shipping emissions in ports. These instruments would need wider application in order for ship emissions in ports to be significantly reduced.