Reducing maritime transport emissions makes economic sense

Reducing the maritime sector's CO2 emissions makes economic sense, writes Merja Kyllönen.

By Merja Kyllönen

18 May 2016

Maritime transport is an environmentally friendly and energy efficient way to transport goods and people. It is also the only sensible way to carry international heavy freight.

However, the maritime sector's carbon emissions have increased and are already equal to the national CO2 emissions of Japan and Germany combined. 

As transport increases, so do emissions; it is estimated they will increase by 250 per cent by 2050. 


The Baltic sea is one of the worst affected, and it is often referred to as the most polluted sea in the world. This is a problem not only for environmental reasons (as urgent as these are), but also for economic reasons.

Over four million tourists cruise in the Baltic sea every year. Helsinki Port, for example, is the busiest cruise harbour in Europe. It is unimaginable that people would continue to enjoy the Baltic Sea, if it is a green sludge full of sewage and algae.

Therefore, I warmly welcome the International Maritime Organisation's decision not to allow newly built passenger ships to discharge sewage and algae within the Baltic special sea area. This will be the first sea region in the world with an overall sewage discharge ban, and we should be proud.

The work to save our seas will continue with NOX and sulphur, where comprehensive decisions are needed. Restrictions that we often fear will be an advantage also for our industry, as the demand for low-emission maritime technology will only grow.


Read the most recent articles written by Merja Kyllönen - Can the EU's circular economy apply to ports?