According to "Shipping Emissions in Ports" report, issued by International Transport Forum (ITF), 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 sulphur 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 sulphur 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.

Shipping could – in one way - be considered a relatively clean transport mode. This is particularly the case if one takes the angle of emissions per tonne-kilometre. Typical ranges of CO2 efficiencies of ships are between 0 and 60 grams per tonne-kilometre, this range is 20-120 for rail transport and 80-180 for road transport (IMO 2009). There is considerable variety between vessel types and CO2 efficiency generally increases with vessel size; e.g. CO2 emissions per tonne-km (in grams per year) for a container feeder ship (with capacity up to 500 TEU) were 31.6, three times higher than the emissions for Post Panamax container ships, with a capacity larger than 4,400 TEU (Psaraftis and Kontovas, 2008). This difference is even larger for dry bulk ships, with a difference of more than a factor 10 between the smallest vessels (up to 5000 dwt) and capesize vessels (> 120,000 dwt).

At the same time, the air emissions from shipping are considerable. Depending on the methodology, different studies have estimated CO2 emissions from shipping to be around 3% of total global emissions and shares that are much higher for some of the non-GHG emissions: in the range of 5-10% for SOx emissions and 17-31% for NOx emissions (Table 1). A solid body of research exist on shipping emissions in particular parts of the world (e.g. Europe) that confirm the reliability of these shares of shipping emissions (e.g. Cofala et al. 2007).

In comparison with other transport modes, shipping emissions are also substantial. Whereas CO2 emissions of shipping might be approximately a fifth of those of road transport, NOx and PM emissions are almost on a par, and SOX emissions of shipping are substantially higher than those of road transport by a factor of 1.6 to 2.7 (ICCT, 2007). According to Eyring et al. (2003) international shipping produces about 9.2 more NOx emissions than aviation, approximately 80 times more SOx emissions and around 1200 times more particulate matter than aviation, due to the high sulphur content in ship fuel.

These emissions have increased at a large pace over the last decades and are expected to increase in the future. Eyring et al. (2003) show that main shipping emissions (CO2, SOX, NOX and PM) grew with a factor of approximately 4 over the period 1950-2001, faster than the increase of the number of ships over that period, which tripled. Shipping emissions are projected to increase over the coming decades. E.g. the IMO assumed in 2009 that shipping-related carbon dioxide emissions would increase with a factor two to three up till 2050 (IMO, 2009).

Although most of these emissions take place at sea, the most directly noticeable part of shipping emissions takes place in port areas and port-cities. It is here that shipping emissions have the most direct health impacts. NO2 and CO-emissions in ports have been linked to bronchitic symptoms, whereas exposure to SO2-emissions is associated with respiratory issues and premature births. Data from the Los Angeles County Health Survey reveal that Long Beach communities in close proximity to the Port of Los Angeles experience higher rates (2.9 percentage points on average) of asthma, coronary heart disease and depression, compared to other communities in Los Angeles (Human Impact Partners, 2010). Additionally, the California Air Resources Board attributed 3 700 premature deaths per year to ports and the shipment of goods (Sharma, 2006). On a global scale, calculations suggest that shipping-related PM emissions are responsible for approximately 60,000 cardiopulmonary and lung cancer deaths annually, with most deaths occurring near coastlines in Europe, East Asia and South Asia (Corbett, 2007).

However, relatively little is known about ship emissions in ports. The literature review below (section 2) identifies the main studies in this respect, which in most cases are case studies of one port. What is missing is a comprehensive overview of shipping emissions in ports, using a uniform definition and methodology, so that emissions in different ports can be compared with each other. This paper wants to fill this gap, by providing this comprehensive overview of shipping emissions in ports. It considers the following air emissions: CH4, CO, CO2, NOx, PM10, PM2,5 and SOx.

The calculation of shipping emissions in ports makes use of a database of Lloyd’s Marine Intelligence Unit on vessel movements in 2011, containing information on turnaround times of ships in ports across the world and ship characteristics, which allows for a bottom-up estimation of ship emissions during port calls. In these calculations, various policy measures implemented in ports to mitigate air emissions have been taken into account, such as the EU regulation to use low sulphur fuel at berth, shore power and various fuel switch programmes. The analysis has been made for different ship types, including containerships, bulk carriers, tankers and Roll on/Roll off- (Ro/Ro-) ships, carrying a variety of cargo categories. This calculation has been aggregated into emissions per port and per country in 2011. Projections have been made towards 2050, based on the ITF Freight projection model. These projections have been made per country.

You can read the report by clicking on the image below:

Shipping Emissions in Ports

 Source: ITF


More reports on the maritime economy from the International Transport Forum at the OECD can be found at :

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