Data platform adds greater transparency to shipping emissions

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has developed a new platform to provide access to data on cargo transported by individual vessels, the companies that own the cargo, and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with global maritime trade.

The Global Shipping Watch service will commence with a pilot version covering trading countries including the United States and Brazil, combining descriptions of cargo in individual ships, including ownership information, with AIS data on ship movements and operations obtained from satellites and land stations.

The AIS data are matched to the cargo data by looking for a common recorded departure port, date and destination for all vessels. The platform’s algorithms then segment the AIS signals into individual ‘journeys’ that span each vessel trajectory, from cargo loading to unloading.

For each vessel journey GHG emissions are calculated using the methodology within the Fourth IMO Greenhouse Study, which combines AIS operational data (e.g., heading, speed, draft) and vessel technical specifications (e.g., deadweight, design speed, engine power and fuel consumption rate).

Finally, emissions are allocated proportionally based on cargo weight and value, allocated to cargo types, cargo ownership, countries of export/import, companies operating the vessels, and countries of flag.

“The combination of detailed cargo data and vessel operations data brings a very powerful product and shines a light on what has long been a blind spot. Companies, investors, governments and research organisations can now use the data to inform decisions and actions to improve maritime shipping logistics and decrease emissions,” said Javier Godar, a Senior Researcher at SEI.

“So far, tackling shipping emissions has been hampered by the absence of reliable data, baselines, and emissions monitoring capabilities. One can hardly improve what is not adequately measured, monitored and benchmarked, ideally by independent third parties.”

Global Shipping Watch currently includes data on all maritime exports and imports from the US (about one sixth of world trade in goods), as well as exports for the year 2019 from countries including Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ghana and Indonesia. The aim is to increase the geographical and temporal coverage of the platform to include most of global maritime trade over time.

The platform has been developed as part of the SEA-CASE (Spatially Explcit Analysis of Cargo Associated maritime Shipping Emissions) research project, partly funded by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).

Share this story

About the Author

Picture of Rob O'Dwyer
Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Further Reading

News Archive