The global maritime transport sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. It accounts for 15% of nitrogen oxides, 13% of Sulphur oxides, and 3% of carbon dioxide emissions annually, and emits significant particulate matter. Global economic growth and transport demand means maritime transport emissions could increase between 50% and 250% by 2050, if not urgently reduced.
The heavy fuel used by the maritime transport sector is one factor causing these emissions. Vessels use low-grade fuel containing Sulphur concentrations, 3,500 times greater than diesel fuel for cars. In fact, 200 of the world’s largest vessels produce the same amount of Sulphur as all the world’s cars combined. The world cannot reach its emissions targets without decarbonising the maritime sector.
In the UK, the transport sector is the biggest emitter across the whole economy, and whilst road and rail are making signiﬁcant steps to reduce emissions, they continue to grow in maritime. Sole UK domestic shipping today is producing more emissions than buses and rail combined. Therefore, urgent action is required now, in order to reach Net Zero by 2050