To mitigate the problem of European ships being scrapped in the developing countries

Last month a new report on sustainable shipping was presented to executives and other maritime stakeholders at European Maritime Day in Bremen. Among other contributors to the report, researchers from Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg propose several tangible measures to make EU shipping more sustainable.

Recommendations include a system featuring something comparable to a mandatory "pension insurance plan" for European ships, only to be redeemed if the ship is scrapped at a European yard. The idea is to mitigate the problem of European ships being scrapped in the developing countries where the process inflicts negative environmental and health effects.

Other recommendations cover such issues as wreck handling, intermodal transport and shipping emissions. The authors of the report come from several University of Gothenburg and Chalmers departments, and from IVL and Stena Metall.

'Sustainable shipping has to take into account economic, ecological and social aspects. Our report shows there are interesting technological solutions that can improve shipping environmental performance and reduce the sector's impact on climate - and that political measures and other incentives are required in order to put these changes into practice,' said Maria Svane, project leader for the research network known as the European Panel on Sustainable Development (EPSD), the initiator of the report.

By studying EU actions, strategic EU documents and specific strategies and regulations within various areas connected to shipping, the researchers have identified shortcomings in guidelines and legislation and in existing theory. The report is primarily aimed at executives at national and EU level, but also at researchers and players within industry interested in and who wish to examine questions pertaining to sustainable shipping development.

'We hope the report will contribute to better decisions that result in more sustainability concerning shipping within EU and that the ripples from this will spread out globally,' said Maria Svane.

EPSD is an independent, research-based network founded by University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University and led by The Centre for Environment and Sustainability, (GMV). The purpose is to help steer EU politics towards a sustainable society based on good science.

The report "Targeting the Environmental Sustainability of European Shipping. The need for innovation in Policy and Technology" can be downloaded by clicking below