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Atmospheric emissions from shipping: the need for regulation and approaches to compliance

Cullinane, Kevin; Cullinane, Sharon


Kevin Cullinane

Sharon Cullinane


Shipping has traditionally been viewed as the least environmentally damaging mode of freight transport. Recent studies have increasingly questioned this perception, as attention has focused on both the greenhouse gas emissions (mainly CO2) and the emission of health-damaging pollutants (such as sulphur, nitrogen oxides and particulates) by ships. This paper reviews the available evidence on the atmospheric emissions of shipping. It proposes that the profit objective has prompted the pursuit of greater fuel efficiency within the sector, but that reliance on market forces alone is insufficient to deliver on the environmental imperative. The paper outlines the current and planned regulatory regime for the atmospheric emissions from ships and posits that greater, and more diverse, market regulation is required. Alternative general approaches to regulatory compliance are categorised as ‘alternative sources of energy’ or ‘abatement technologies’ and the characteristics of a range of specific options are analysed. The paper concludes that although the shipping industry has been slow to improve its environmental credentials, a combination of regulation and technological innovation provides it with significant potential to dramatically reduce its environmental impact.


Cullinane, K., & Cullinane, S. (2013). Atmospheric emissions from shipping: the need for regulation and approaches to compliance. Transport Reviews, 33, 377-401.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013
Deposit Date Jul 29, 2014
Print ISSN 0144-1647
Electronic ISSN 1464-5327
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Pages 377-401
Keywords shipping; regulation; atmospheric pollution; environment;
Public URL
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