State of European Transport 2024


Shipping is responsible for over a tenth of EU's transport emissions and is a major source of air pollution. With most shipping emissions occurring at sea, shipping has often been seen as an impossible-to-regulate industry. This is changing.

  • Cargo, passenger ships calling at European ports (2022)27,185
  • Number of European ports (2023)1,233
  • Total emissions in Europe (2022)201 MtCO2e

European shipping is responsible for about 14% of total transport emissions and this ratio is projected to reach one-third by 2050 under current policies. Around 80% of European trade is carried on ships. Ships carry oils, ores, grains, containers and passengers. They can be floating hotels or key passenger and freight links between or within European countries. Europe is leading the way in regulating their climate impact, yet existing European policies will see ships running on fossil fuels beyond mid-century.

From the beginning of 2024 all big ships entering and departing from Europe’s ports will be included in the EU’s carbon market, while the EU has also introduced the world’s first green shipping fuels law. The question is no longer if, but how quickly?

The EU’s current policy measures, including the EU’s carbon market, will reduce emissions….

Europe is making progress at tackling shipping emissions. The inclusion of shipping in the EU's carbon market (ETS), for example, is a world first. However, Europe is still moving too slowly.

Images and video: Adobe Stock
Scope: EU27 + Norway, Iceland. For the 3 numbers on top of the page: EMSA.