Competitiveness of Short Sea Shipping

09.39 / 16067
From 2009 to 2010
In this project TML and NECL analysed the market position of Short Sea Shipping (SSS) and assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively the impact on its competitiveness for 5 future policy scenarios. The project had three main objectives:

- For a selected group of policies targeting improved environmental performance for Short Sea Shipping (SSS) in Europe, investigate the magnitude of the impact of these policies on:
- Transport costs
- Transport volumes
- Emissions
- Estimate the importance of non-cost drivers on the modal choice of shippers, and how they may change the results of calculations for the first objective.
- Investigate potential effects these policies may have on trade flows between Europe and other continents.
As a first step, costs structures for all relevant modes were developed. To assess the competitiveness of European short-sea freight shipping compared to road and rail alternatives for 252 origin-destination freight routes, a model was developed. This model – using a CES-production function - allows for the choice between a route using mostly SSS (and partly road) or a route using mostly road (but which can also include rail or SSS) for each O/D pair. This choice mainly depends on the evolution in costs.

The results show that the effect on costs and volumes mainly depend on the ship type, the distance and the commodity transported. Overall, the effect on modal shares remains rather limited; varying between a decrease for SSS of on average 1 to 7%; while there is a clear effect on total emissions for all pollutants. The qualitative analysis focused on possible responses ship operators may take such as speed reductions or lower profit margins.
This was complemented with an analysis to assess the effect of a sulphur regulation of 0.1% in the ECAs on intercontinental trade. Given the marginal cost increase of intercontinental maritime transport and the marginal share of maritime transport cost in end user prices, the new legislation would cause negligible cost increase to end user prices


From 2009 to 2010


European Commission, DG ENV


Nautical Enterprise

Our team

Tim Breemersch, Eef Delhaye, Kris Vanherle
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