Effects of More Stringent Sulphur Requirements for Sea Transports

Effects of More Stringent Sulphur Requirements for Sea Transports


Inge Vierth, VTI - Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute, Rune Karlsson, VTI - Swedish Road and Transport Research Institut, Anna Mellin, VTI - Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute


The International Maritime Organisation decided on more stringent requirements for sulphur emissions in Northern Europe. The impact of higher sea transport costs on Swedish freight transports (i.e. modal split), is analysed using the national model.


The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has decided on more stringent requirements for the sulphur emissions from sea transports in the European sulphur emission control area (SECA) from 2015. The SECA comprises the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel. The new regulation is assumed to lead to higher sea transport costs. The cost increases differ between different types of ships depending on the sulphur level of the marine fuel used today.

The paper analyses how the increase of sea transport cost influences the national and international Swedish freight transports. Key questions are to what extent sea transports are redistributed from the SECA to the seas outside of SECA and to what extent mode shifts from sea to land can be expected. Related questions are how the choice of transport chains, port choice and route choice within the different modes are affected.

Many different scenarios are studied as the technical development is uncertain, i.e. if the shipping companies use cleaner more expensive marine fuel, switch to other energy sources, like liquid natural gas or methanol, or use srubbers to reduce the sulphur emissions. It is neither obvious how the developments on the market for marine fuel will influence the diesel prices for trucks and how the track fees for rail transports will develop.

Simulations are carried out using the national freight transport model Samgods. The model comprises a logistics module and is based on the aggregated-disaggregated-aggregated approach. Shippers’ annual logistics costs are minimized. Choice of shipment size and transport chain is modelled taking into account economies of scale and consolidation within and between the modes and consolidation. Transport demand is assumed to be constant.

The paper is based on studies that the authors have carried out on behalf of the Maritime Administration (Vierth, Lord & Mellin, VTI-notat 15-2009) and Transport analysis (Vierth, Mellin & Karlsson, VTI-notat 33-2013). These two studies have been published as Swedish reports.


Association for European Transport