Being green on sulphur: Targets, measures and side-effects

Christos A. Kontovas, George Panagakos, Harilaos N. Psaraftis, Eirini Stamatopoulou

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are not the only emissions of concern to the international transport community. SOx emissions are non-GHG emissions that are caused by the presence of sulphur in the fuel. As the maximum percentage of sulphur in automotive and aviation fuels is strictly regulated in most countries around the world, much of the attention in recent years has focused on maritime transport. The attention mainly stems from the fact that in marine fuels the percentage of sulphur can be very high: it can be as high as 4.5 % in Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), which is the fuel typically used in all deep-sea trades. Even though the amounts of SOx produced by ships are substantially lower than CO2, SOx emissions are highly undesirable as they cause acid rain and undesirable health effects in humans and animals. To mitigate these adverse environmental effects, the international shipping community has taken substantial policy measures. With the introduction of new limits for the content of sulphur in marine fuels in Northern European and North American sea areas, short-sea companies operating in these areas will face substantial additional cost. As of 1/1/2015, international regulations stipulate, among other things, a 0.1%limit in the sulphur content of marine fuels, or equivalent measures limiting the percent of SOx emissions to the same amount. As low-sulphur fuel is substantially more expensive than HFO, there is little or no room within these companies current margins to absorb such additional cost, and thus significant price increases must be expected. Unlike its deep-sea counterpart, in short-sea shipping such a freight rate increase may induce shippers to use landbased alternatives (mainly road). A reverse shift of cargo would go against the EU policy to shift traffic from land to sea to reduce congestion, and might ultimately (under certain circumstances) increase the overall level of CO2 emissions along the entire supply chain. The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the potential effect of sulphur regulations on the share of cargo transported by the waterborne mode vis-à-vis land-based alternatives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGreen Transportation Logistics : The Quest for Win-Win Solutions
    Publication date2016
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-17174-6
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-17175-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    SeriesInternational Series in Operations Research and Management Science


    • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
    • Business, Management and Accounting (all)
    • Engineering (all)
    • Management Science and Operations Research
    • Strategy and Management
    • Applied Mathematics
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Software


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