Implications for Flanders of policies addressing the greenhouse gas and acidifying emissions of international shipping

In collaboration with Resource Analysis of Antwerp, CE Delft has analysed the economic effects of several scenarios for reducing emissions of CO2 and acidifying air pollutants by international shipping. This report comprises the following elements:

  • Analysis of the importance of the maritime sector for Flanders and forecasts of sectoral growth.
  • Analysis and selection of policy options for reducing CO2 emissions and policy options for reducing NOX and SO2 emissions.
  • Projections of likely NOX and SO2 emissions as a function of antici-pated trends in fleet size and traffic volumes and implementation of a range of technologies.
  • Analysis of the economic impacts of the CO2 and air pollutant emission abatement measures investigated on the Flemish maritime sector and the Flemish economy.

The study shows that costs are governed by the magnitude of the cuts in air pollutant emissions by ocean-going vessels. Scenarios in which emissions are reduced by several dozen percentage points lead to scarcely any extra costs. If emissions are to be cut by 80% or more, though, costs per tonne-km may rise by around 6-8%. This may lead to a 1-2% decline in demand. Including intercontinental maritime transport in the European Emissions Trad-ing Scheme (ETS) may affect the energy efficiency of other sectors in the scheme. To limit the cost to industry as well as impacts on the competitiveness of certain sectors, redistribution of the ensuing revenue may be advisable. Including maritime transport in the ETS and the same holds for measures addressing air pollution from this source, to the extent that these involve variable costs will have an impact on the competitiveness of Flemish ports. Par-ticularly at the ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend (active in the RoRo market to and from the UK) there is likely to be a competitive disadvantage. This may lead to a shift in traffic from North Sea ports (Zeebrugge, Ostend) to Channel ports (Calais, Boulogne). The same may hold for Antwerp vis-a-vis Rotterdam when it comes to intercontinental traffic. Including the maritime sector in the ETS will, like tougher emission limits, have an impact on the competitiveness of Short Sea Shipping relative to road transport. The extent of the extra costs will depend very much on the price of ETS carbon credits or technical measures and whether or not the proceedings from the auctioning of emission rights are ploughed back to the sector.