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Maritime shipping as a clean mode of transport

The world’s long coastlines and the large number of coastal ports make maritime transport a smart, efficient and competitive alternative to land-based transport. Per tonne-kilometre, the environmental performance of maritime transport is often superior. This is especially true for large vessels, whose greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transport work are the lowest in freight transport.

Less air polluting emissions, less impact on human health

Especially when sailing close to shore, ship emissions affect the local air quality, which impacts human health. Emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) from shipping represent about 60% of global transport SOx emissions. Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from shipping account for about 15% of global anthropogenic NOx emissions and approximately 40% of global NOx emissions from freight transport. Seventy percent of all shipping emissions are emitted within 400 km of the coast and can therefore significantly affect air quality in coastal cities and ports, as well as inland.


Long-term exposure to particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides has an harmful effect on human health. These pollutant emissions therefore need to be further reduced to protect human health and ecosystems and improve local air quality in port areas and neighbouring residential districts.

Focus on GHG emissions reduction

Maritime shipping is estimated to be the source of approximately 3% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. With international trade projected to grow significantly in the years ahead, maritime shipping emissions are expected to increase by a factor of 2-3 by 2050 if no action is taken. To curb emissions growth, IMO regulations require new-build vessels to be more fuel-efficient. LNG thus represents one of the options to reduce ships’ GHG emissions.

Further reading

85-100% less pollutants

LNG as a shipping fuel can help significantly reduce the environmental impacts of maritime transport, most likely without increasing costs. With this fuel, NOx, SOx and particulate emissions can be reduced by 85-100% in comparison with HFO.