MSC getting to zero emissions – parte 1
MSC getting to zero emissions – parte 2

The European Commission’s definition of Short Sea Shipping (SSS) encompasses the movement of cargo and passengers by sea between ports in geographical Europe or between these European ports and those situated in non-European countries along the enclosed seas bordering Europe. This definition reflects the broad scope of SSS, including both domestic and international maritime transport in the Mediterranean area.

In terms of sulfur emissions regulations, Sulfur Oxides Emission Control Areas (SECAs) have been established in various regions. The Baltic Sea SECA, the North Sea SECA, the English Channel SECA, and specific coastal areas in the United States and Canada have already enforced strict sulfur emission limits with a maximum allowable sulfur content of 0.10% in marine fuels.

Designating the Mediterranean Sea as an SOx-ECA is a significant step toward enhancing environmental protection in the region. By imposing stricter regulations and targeting particulate matter emissions, these amendments contribute to the overall goal of reducing pollution in this vital marine ecosystem. The timeline provides stakeholders with ample time to prepare and adapt to the new regulations, ensuring a smooth transition to compliance with the heightened sulfur limit from May 1, 2025. These amendments represent a critical milestone in ongoing efforts to protect the Mediterranean Sea and promote sustainable shipping practices.”

From an environmental side, overall shipping traffic in the Mediterranean accounts for approximately 7% of global shipping’s energy use and emissions. In terms of vessels operating in the area, AIS data shows that roughly 30.000 vessels are operating annually in the Mediterranean and CO2 emissions from shipping cause here for about 10% of the Mediterranean coastal states CO2 inventories.
The creation of ECAs will have a positive environmental and socio-economic impact in the area while triggering its Green Transition through the desired Restoration of the Mediterranean, protecting its resources and biodiversity, as well as facilitating the achievement of EU strategic objectives and its Missions.
With regard to the introduction of SECA – and with regard to an eventually forward-looking introduction of NECA – in the Mediterranean, changes for shipping in fuel demand and fuel costs are to be expected. Taking into account that fuel costs in general represent 30% to 60% of operational costs – clearly depending on speed – any changes in fuel costs are considered as a sensible issue – as also diverted effects could arise.
The SECA deep sea shipping presentation covers the world container fleet in the Mediterranean
by ship details and environmental characteristics with regard to the deployment of container vessels in a SECA Med. In addition, the forwad-looking NECA deep sea presentation provides TIER-related information by TEU size-classes, by Year of built, by type of technic and by operator.
A briev summary of a wide literature and web research on SSS

As of January to June 2023, the regulatory requirements regarding sulfur content in fuel for vessels operating in the Mediterranean area stipulate that the sulfur content in fuel must not exceed 0.5%. However, it’s worth noting that since January 2015, vessels operating in the Baltic, the North Sea, and the English Channel (SOx-Emission Control Area) have been required to consume fuel with even more stringent limitations on the sulfur content, capped at 0.10%. These regulations aim to reduce sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions from shipping and improve air quality in these environmentally sensitive regions.

All the partner nations in the Mediterranean are members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and therefore, the sulfur oxide (SOx) emission limits are consistent across the region both in 2023 and for the future in 2025. This regulatory uniformity ensures that shipping emissions in terms of SOx remain consistent throughout the Mediterranean area.

The maritime transport sector, which includes international, domestic, and inland water navigation, had significant environmental impacts in 2018. It accounted for 24% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, 24% of sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions, and 9% of particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions from all sectors. While emissions from maritime transport remained relatively stable in European seas from 2014 to 2019, the introduction of Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) resulted in a significant decrease in SOx emissions in the North and Baltic Seas. However, the Mediterranean Sea does not have a SECA in place, leading to a lack of decrease in SOx emissions in that region.

Air pollution from shipping is most concentrated along coastlines, with up to one-third of ship emissions occurring within 12 nautical miles of the shore. Ports also contribute to shipping emissions, especially in large port cities.

Short Sea Shipping (SSS) and its intermodality face challenges in South-East Europe and the East Mediterranean, where infrastructure for efficient modal shifting procedures is underdeveloped. Investment is needed to improve hinterland connections, but the region offers potential for international trade within the Mediterranean and access to Far-Eastern markets. The existing transport system in the Republic of Croatia, for example, is not fully adapted to SSS utilization, leading to administrative, organizational, technical, and infrastructure shortcomings.

To further the development of SSS, education and training are crucial. Collaboration among specialized universities is needed to generate developmental strategies. Additionally, the absence of IT systems to promote intermodal routes hinders progress.

Italy had considered the idea of a Mediterranean Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) limited to the Adriatic Sea, but it was dropped for the foreseeable future according to the Italian Environmental Ministry.

The shipping industry is under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact, and various innovative technologies have been introduced to address this challenge, such as marine engines that consume low-sulfur fuel oil, alternative fuels like LNG, methanol/ethanol, and ammonia, as well as scrubbers to remove sulfur dioxide. These changes aim to make SSS a greener and more environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

In the context of the broader goal of decarbonization and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the heavy-duty trucking industry is also transitioning towards electrification, with the aim of having 50% of sales as electric vehicles by 2030 in alignment with the European Green Deal.

To achieve the envisioned scenario of Short Sea Shipping (SSS) growth, several obstacles must be overcome. These challenges include:

Infrastructure Upgrades: SSS demands substantial infrastructure upgrades and enhanced port capacities to efficiently accommodate increased volumes.

Environmental Regulations: Adhering to strict environmental regulations, especially emissions controls and ballast water management, while remaining competitive, poses financial and operational hurdles.

Cost Competitiveness: SSS must compete with other transportation modes like road and rail in terms of cost, which can vary depending on the routes.

Cargo Consolidation: Streamlining cargo consolidation processes to encourage shippers to bundle smaller shipments into larger, SSS-appropriate loads presents logistical challenges.

Customs and Border Procedures: Simplifying customs and border procedures to reduce delays and bureaucratic complexities is essential.

Public Perception: Convincing stakeholders and the public of the advantages of SSS, including its environmental benefits, remains a challenge.

Technology Integration: Embracing innovative technologies like digital tracking and automation is crucial for improving SSS efficiency.

Competition: SSS competes with well-established networks and faster transit times offered by road and air transport.

Regulatory Alignment: En

Webinars, courses etc. provided by experts and opinion leaders, and related supporting material and interviews to expert/opinion leaders etc.
A briev summary of a wide literature and web research on SSS
Training courses and programs related to SSS are offered by the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport. These courses focus on promoting intermodality in the logistics and transportation sector, with a particular emphasis on maritime navigation and sustainable transportation. The courses involve Italian professionals, ports, shipping companies, and industry institutions, aiming to educate a well-prepared logistics community to tackle future challenges. There is increasing demand for SSS transport along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, highlighted by statistics on offered capacity and maritime transport demand (“”)

EU commission: European Vocational Skills Week

– National Contact Point:

– EU website, possibility to filter events about skills filtering with keywords (…only for year 2023?)

Permanent financial and political support for research and development of SSS

a) WELCOM – West – East logistics corridor for multimodal transport (01/1996-10/1996). The main objective of the WELCOM was to create the basis for future demonstration and evaluation on the West-East Corridor from Ireland, via the Netherlands and Germany up to Poland using alternative modes of transport – short sea shipping, inland waterways and rail.

b) ARCDEV -Arctic Demonstration and Exploratory Voyage (12/1997-09/1999). The project is a Short Sea Shipping (SSS) full scale demonstrator. It was concentrated on the operational and technical feasibility as well as on the cost-effectiveness of a SSS corridor linking all the year round the Arctic regions of Russia to the EU.

c) 3SNET- Short sea shipping network (01/1998-09/1999). The project has developed a product which can be integrated in the logistics market place as soon as short sea trade has fully incorporated new communications systems, and in particular the Internet, into commercial activities.

d) PROSIT-Promotion of Short Sea Shipping and Inland Waterway Transport by the Use of Modern Telematics (01/1998 – 03/2000). The main results of PROSIT were the installation of the Interconnectivity Manager (IM) and the development and testing of a new tool, named ProShip, which uses the IM for information exchange with customers or transport industry.

e) SSS-CA – Short Sea Shipping Concerted Action (04/1996 – 03/2000). SSS-CA has produced three main results: 1) a comprehensive database about the state of the art on SSS, 2) the formulation of the terms of reference for pilot projects in the area of SSS, and 3) an extensive statistical analysis of SSS flowing in Europe. f) Design and development of a high-speed container feeder for short sea shipping (06/2000-05/2001). The main research goal was to design and develop a highspeed container feeder for more competitive and reliable short sea shipping with given main specifications.

g) CREATE3S – Creative Concepts REalised by Advanced design & production to improve Total Efficiency of new generation Short Sea Shipping (11/2006-11/2009). The CREATE3S concept envisages a vessel consisting of two principal modules: a ship hull module and one or more large cargo modules. The CREATE3S concept is intended to be equally applicable to container, dry bulk and liquid cargoes.

h) PROPS -Promotional platform for shortsea shipping and intramodality (07/2008- 06/2011). PROPS aims to work closely with the Short Sea Promotion Centres to develop a workable and replicable methodology that will enhance their practical promotion activities in the fields of legislative, technical, and operational actions and to extend their operations to encompass inter-modal and co-modal transport.

i) SPIN-TN -Thematic network on the development of European strategies to promote short sea shipping, sea-river and inland navigation (05/2005- 11/2015). The objective of the SPIN network is to develop a European Strategy to promote Inland Navigation and to encourage the acceptance and exploitation of the strategy.

j) REALISE- Regional Action for Logistical Integration of Shipping across Europe (07/2005-10/2014). The principal objective is to develop European strategies and initiatives to promote the use of short sea shipping, sea-river shipping and inland navigation in the context of the overall logistics market, particularly for the carriage of unitised cargoes, ensuring a shift in freight transport from land to water in a multi-modal context.

Specific EU programs or projects aimed at reducing emissions and promoting sustainability in short sea shipping in Europe

The control of emissions from maritime transport is at the forefront of the EU and therefore many European programs have addressed this issue. Indicatively, the SuperGreen project has promoted the development of green corridors and provided recommendations on sustainable freight transport.

The Marco Polo project has contributed to the SSS policy with the aim to eliminate traffic bottlenecks and road congestion. An objective of the ongoing project MOSES is to minimize short sea shipping emissions. The innovation of the concept relies on the introduction of a feeder vessel and autonomous tugboats with hybrid electric propulsion as well as a robotic container-handling system and automated docking system.

The assets, that are electrified, will be powered during berth by an automated shore side station, fully integrated into the port energy management system. The automated vessels aim to a modal shift from large container terminals to small ports in an effort to further stimulate SSS.


Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Clean Seas, Green Shipping: Embrace SSS for a Sustainable Future

SSS and Environmental Impact: Short Sea Shipping is a vital component of sustainable freight transport, offering a greener alternative to road and air transport. It can significantly reduce emissions of harmful pollutants and contribute to cleaner air and water.

Regulatory Progress: Regulations governing sulfur content in ship fuels have become stricter in recent years, promoting cleaner and more eco-friendly practices in maritime shipping.

Economic and Environmental Benefits: SSS not only offers environmental benefits but can also provide cost-effective transportation solutions, particularly for liquid bulk cargo, making it an attractive option for businesses.

Challenges to Overcome: While SSS holds promise, it faces various challenges, including infrastructure upgrades, regulatory compliance, cost competitiveness, and the need for cargo consolidation and customs streamlining.

Public Perception: Raising awareness about the advantages of SSS, including its environmental merits, is crucial for its continued growth and success.

Intermodal Collaboration: Collaboration among governments, industry stakeholders, and regulatory bodies is essential for overcoming the obstacles and creating a conducive environment for SSS development.

Technological Advancements: The maritime industry is actively embracing innovative technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of SSS.

Local and Global Impact: SSS plays a significant role in the movement of goods within Europe, especially in regions with well-developed maritime infrastructure like the Mediterranean, and can contribute to broader environmental and sustainability goals.

Choice for Sustainable Shipping: SSS offers a choice that aligns with the global trend towards decarbonization and a greener future.

Continuous Research and Development: The maritime industry is continuously researching and developing technologies and practices to make SSS even more environmentally friendly and efficient.