Market-based Instruments for Reducing Air Pollution

Assessment of policy options to reduce air pollution from shipping

The European Commission wants to address the rapidly increasing share of maritime emissions in total SOx and NOx emissions. One of the options considered to meet this objective is the integration of maritime emissions into an EU-wide Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).

This project investigated the legal and operational feasibility, the implementation modalities and the potential ecological and economic impacts of integrating maritime NOx and SOx emissions into an EU-wide ETS.

TML carried out two tasks in the project, based on its large experience in the maritime shipping sector. (for more information: EMMOSS model - TREMOVE Maritime model)
Firstly, a database of the maritime SOx and NOx emissions was built. The database was used as the base case for the further study of the ETS impacts. Secondly, TML calculated detailed maritime shipping emission abatement cost curves for NOx and SOx. This was important in order to be able to evaluate emission reduction potentials and the interaction with the land-based emission sources.

We can conclude that there is an additional benefit of including the maritime sector in a land-based ETS, but only if the trading price is sufficiently high. It would be more effective however to restrict the maritime emissions to the 12 nautical miles zone and port zones in the EU because:

  • The legal analysis indicates an ETS regime can only be enforced in ports (and internal waters) and territorial seas (i.e. within the 12 nautical miles zone). Including high seas is only possible on a voluntary basis.
  • The emissions abated in the 12 nautical miles zone and ports zones, although much lower in volume, are more effective than emissions abated in all EU waters in terms of reducing environmental impacts.


Final Report (pdf) / Annex (pdf)

You can also download them from the website of the European Commission:



funded by

European Commission, DG ENV


Kris Vanherle, Bruno Van Zeebroeck


VITO (project coordinator), Institute European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Arcadis


Kris Vanherle

+32 16 74.51.29
reference: 08.31