WIT Press

Cleaner Air In Seaport Container Terminals: Assessing Fuel(s)


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

25 - 36




609 kb


J. M. Vleugel & F. Bal


Policies to reduce air pollution caused by transport have been practiced in many countries for decades. Maritime transport and seaport areas have been included since the 1990s, with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the MARPOL treaty (1997–ongoing) gradually leading the way to cleaner shipping. Political interest is rising, because maritime and seaport emissions negatively affect the lives of millions of people. Environmental policy may stimulate technical fixes, both end-of-pipe and at the source. Seaport terminal operators may buy more energy efficient equipment, replace diesel by electricity and optimize operations. Ship owners may adapt their fleet to reduce fuel consumption. Less fuel consumed means lower (local) emissions (of SO2, NOx, PM10, CO2) to the air; interesting options, which are increasingly put to good service. A critical assessment of their real impact in a longer timeframe is warranted. In a desk-research study, an input-output model was used to determine the impact of these technical fixes on (local) air pollution. It turns out that their impact can be substantial: reductions in air pollution of 70% and beyond by ships and terminal equipment. Cleaner air goes in parallel with lower operational costs as well. A green company image also attracts customers. A caveat is that the environmental impact of cleaner fuels is partially compensated by the growth in container transport. Transport is a consequence of logistic choices. Replacing global- by regional or local sourcing/sales and transport optimisation (optimised use of containers) is a worthwhile alternative, which also makes macro-economic sense. Keywords: air pollution, fuels, sea transport, ports, logistics.


air pollution, fuels, sea transport, ports, logistics.