The Port Emissions Toolkit has been developed under the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project, in collaboration with its strategic partners, IMarEST and IAPH.


The first guide of 'The Port Emissions Toolkit': Assessment of port emissions, incorporates the latest emission inventory methods and approaches. It recognizes that ships do not operate independently from shore-based entities in the maritime transportation system, and that port emission considerations must extend beyond the ships themselves to include all port-related emission sources including: seagoing vessels, domestic vessels, cargo handling equipment, heavy-duty vehicles, locomotives, and electrical grid.

Documenting the 'drivers'

When a port decides to carry out a port emissions assessment, it is important to catalogue the reasons why ti does it. These reasons are called 'drivers' and they try to anticipate possible future drivers.

When cataloguing drivers, it is helpful to group the drivers by their importance to ensure continued port operations. Drivers can be split in three categories:

  • High: Those drivers that require immediate direct action and are only addressed through an emissions assessment;
  • Medium:Those drivers that do not immediately call for direct action but are significant enough to inform the design of an emissions assessment;
  • Low: Those drivers that would require only general information and additional context to be provided and/or for demonstrating progress through action.

Credit: IMO

Define intended uses

IMO says that ports should identify the intended uses for the information collected during the port emissions assessment. The intended uses will be influenced directly by the relevant drivers and will impact other planning steps such as reporting.

What is more, a clear understanding of the assessment’s audience is vital to ensure that confidential data is appropriately aggregated for public dissemination.

Concern about the handling of data from operators can be a significant barrier to collecting data that is needed for a port emissions assessment.

Air pollutants and GHG emissions

There are both air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions that come from maritime operations at a port. It is important to select which pollutants are going to be included in the assessment and their associated units of measure. The common air pollutants and GHG emissison estimated for port-related sources are:

  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx);
  • Particulate matter7 (PM), which is further classified by size: PM10 and PM2.5;
  • Sulphur oxides (SOx);
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
  • Carbon monoxide (CO);
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2);
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O);
  • Methane (CH4).

Emissions sources

Finally, it is important to decide which emissions sources are under direct port control versus sources under indirect port control. For this reason, it is recommended that only those sources and operations that are linked to port operations be included in the assessment.

Any emissions sources except from those either directly or indirectly linked to port operations will obstruct the use of the assessment, as the port will not have control nor influence these non-port sources.

There are two source types regarding with port operations:

  • Mobile sources;
  • Stationary sources.

Sources can also be divided into emissions source categories within each source type. Finally, each emissions source category is further divided by energy type used to power the equipment.

Credit: IMO

What is more, as far as operational control by port authorities or administrative bodies is concerned, port operations can be classified by three general types with varying degrees of overlap:

  • Landlord ports: Own the land or are given responsibility for managing the land on which the port is located and in most cases develop the port facilities, such as marine terminals, but lease the land and/ or facilities to terminal operators who are responsible for the equipment used on the terminals;
  • Operating ports: Develop, own and operate the marine terminal facilities and the equipment used on the terminals;
  • Private ports/terminals: Privately owned, operated and are not tenants of a port authority.

See more information in the PDF below