Effects of more stringent sulphur requirements for sea transports

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In 2008 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided on more stringent requirements from 2015 for airborne emissions of sulphur dioxide from sea transports in the sulphur emission control areas (SECA). The European SECA comprises the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel. The paper contains an overview of the European studies that have been carried out to investigate the impacts of IMO's more stringent sulphur requirements. All studies were carried out after IMO's decision in 2008 (which means that the decision was taken based on other reasons). The studies focus on different aspects but all of them estimate how IMO's stricter requirements will affect the sea transport costs. The Swedish impact studies are described in particular: in the 2009 study the national transport model Samgods was used and in 2013 both the Samgods model and the agent-based simulation model Tapas. Impacts on the choice of transport chains, routes and ports are calculated. The results indicate that shippers to some extent can reduce the increase in transport cost by transferring flows from the Swedish east coast to the Swedish south and west coast, the Norwegian coast and the land-based route via Denmark. Modal back shifts from sea to rail and road occur. These shifts are modest, especially if higher prices for diesel and higher rail track fees are assumed on top of more stringent sulphur requirements in the SECA. One important question is to what extent the increases in costs that are due to more stringent requirements can be compensated for by improved efficiency of the transports, such as the exploitation of economies of scale.

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