Ship owners could save up to €9m a year with advanced emissions monitoring – study

Advanced emissions monitoring of large ships calling at EU ports could help save owners and operators of large ships up to €9 million/year, according to a new study published by environmental NGOs Transport & Environment and Seas at Risk. These savings would come from lower operational costs of using automated systems such as fuel flow meters or continuous emissions monitoring, which are already used by many of the world’s largest shipping companies.

The cost savings arise from the electronic collection and reporting of data, which doesn’t require man-hours, as well as the accuracy and verifiability of the data, which significantly reduces verification costs by third parties.

Aoife O’Leary, clean shipping officer at Transport & Environment, said: “This study clearly shows that the best way to monitor shipping emissions is also the cheapest in the long run. When GPS systems became available to massively improve the accuracy of ship navigation, no ship owner turned a blind eye to the technology just because of an upfront capital cost. So, why should the Commission favour the use of inaccurate old-fashioned paper receipts when they could promote an accurate, real-time fuel monitoring system, enabling real emissions reductions?"

The report, for T&E by consultancy CE Delft, concludes that these modern monitoring systems also have the potential to enable fuel savings, and therefore lower emissions costs, by a significantly greater extent than the 2% CO2 cut claimed by the Commission in its proposal.

The Commission estimates that CO2 emissions from ships sailing in European waters amounted to 180 million tonnes in 2010. If these emissions were reported as a country, maritime transport would be Europe’s 8th largest emitter.

In June, the Commission proposed that all ships calling at EU ports be required to measure and report their annual fuel burn and emissions when travelling to/from the EU. As it stands, the proposal goes no further than requiring ship owners and operators to report fuel consumption based on fuel sales receipts, which ships already carry. Advanced, electronic consumption measuring methods, which provide ship owners with the necessary information to capture real emissions reductions, are mentioned, but not mandated by the proposal.

These advanced measuring technologies are also able to monitor and report such pollutants as sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Air pollution from international shipping, of which SOx and NOx emissions are a big part, accounts for about 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe [1].

Due to synergies between the EU and International Maritime Organisation air pollution laws, the CE Delft study suggests that investing in these modern systems could also lower the cost of complying with international shipping air pollution standards, such as the 2015 sulphur limits.

John Maggs of Seas at Risk said: “As the shipping industry pushes back against new laws to make shipping greener, this study shows that it makes perfect environmental and economic sense to use modern technologies and consolidate reporting requirements into one regulation. We therefore call on the European Parliament to strengthen the proposal to ensure that all harmful pollutants can be more effectively controlled.”


Notes to editors:

[1] CEEH (2011): Assessment of health-cost externalities of air pollution at the national level using the EVA model system). By J. Brandt et al. CEEH Scientific Report No  3. Centre for Energy, Environment and health:

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