The EMSA website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, in accordance with the EMSA privacy notice. Find out more on how we use cookies


Sustainable Shipping

sustainable shipping

Sustainable Shipping is a holistic management concept for sustainable development, applied to the shipping sector, incorporating environmental and social responsibility. Sustainability includes three main pillars: Environment, Society and Economy and the development of Sustainable Shipping is the result of the strengthening of these three pillars.

Different factors affect the development of sustainability in shipping, from regulatory to socio-economic factors, market related aspects and human factors, which all together contribute in different ways to the development of these three pillars. Since many different stakeholders are involved in the process, it follows that one of the critical factors in supporting of Sustainable Shipping is the understanding of all parties concerns, needs and expectations. Constructive dialogues, partnerships, synergies, joint R&D, are some of the key instruments in developing Sustainable Shipping.

sustainable shipping graph

 Within the European Union framework, a special forum dedicated to Sustainable shipping was established by the “Commission Decision of 24 September 2013 on setting-up the group of experts on maritime transport sustainability” - The European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF). The following has contributed to the creation of the ESSF:

-Transport sustainability identified as an important part of a common transport policy, in Article 90 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

- The important role of maritime transport towards achieving more sustainable EU transport, as identified by the White Paper Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – "Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system".

- The need to establish a stakeholder’s platform that could facilitate technical dialogue and cooperation amongst all interested
parties, as underlined by the Commission staff working document "Pollutant emission reduction from maritime transport and the Sustainable Waterborne Transport Toolbox".

- The need to develop appropriate measures including those identified in the Commission's staff working paper of 16 September 2011 entitled "Pollutant emission reduction from maritime transport and the sustainable waterborne transport toolbox" promoting compliance with the environmental standards of the Sulphur Directive, and minimise the possible negative impacts.

The Agency supports international & EU initiatives on clean and sustainable shipping in the following ways:

- Developing alternative and cost-effective fuel technologies for shipping;

- Reducing fuel consumption for existing ships and improving energy efficient of engines and hulls for new builds. These new global measures will improve the efficiency of ships, and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

- Implementing the IMO mandatory measures for a global industry such as the EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships;

- Reduction of ship air pollution, notably sulphur (SOx and SO2), nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions; and,

- Developing legislation to ensure ship-generated waste can be delivered to port waste reception facilities efficiently.

EMSA participates in IMO Committees and Correspondence Groups (MEPC Correspondence Group on EEDI review, Correspondence Group on Further Energy Efficiency measures) and has collaborated with DG MOVE in the development of the Individual Ship Performance Indicator - ISPI concept. Moreover, the Agency cooperates with relevant research institutions and/or pilot projects (e.g. FMI - Estimating 2011 emissions within EU waters) and is providing technical assistance to the Commission proposal on deliberations for the Regulation Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of Ship CO2 Emissions.