Press release archive: 2013

Economic downturn decreased emissions from the Baltic Sea shipping

29.11.2013 10:01

The economic recession which began in 2009 has decreased the emissions of nitrogen oxides from Baltic Sea shipping by eight percent (2009-2008).

Photo: J. Vehkakoski

Photo: J. Vehkakoski

Emission levels from shipping usually reach their maximum during the summer months because of the high season of passenger traffic.

These conclusions are results of emission modeling studies of the Finnish Meteorological Institute which clarify the role of Baltic Sea shipping in air pollution. The emission model STEAM, which was used in this study, is based on the automatic position data transmitted by ships’ navigation systems. This enables studies which are based on vessel technical data and realistic ship traffic information in the Baltic Sea area. This research provides insight on the contribution of various ship types, age and size groups as well as flag states to ship exhaust emissions.

Vessels registered to the Baltic Sea riparian states are responsible for about half of exhaust emissions. The contribution of the Nordic countries is over one third. Other EU-flagged vessels produce about one third and non-EU ships are responsible for the rest of the emissions. The work to determine the structure, the emissions and cost changes of ship traffic play an important role in the planned emissions cuts in the Baltic Sea area. Environmental policy options concerning the shipping sector are described in the conventions of the International Maritime Organization.

This work was funded by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (TraFi) and the European Regional Development Fund.

More information:

Senior researcher Jukka-Pekka Jalkanen, tel. +358 050 919 5455,

Researcher Lasse Johansson, tel. +358 50 406 6737,