Initial situation

Freight transport still relies predominantly on vehicles with conventional propulsion technologies and fuels. This leads to a deterioration in air quality with increasing traffic volumes under otherwise identical conditions, especially in port cities, and has local effects on the environment and human health. Sustained or increasing environmental pollution from transports therefore requires prompt steps to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutants. In addition to regulations in the international and national legal framework, measures taken by the stakeholders involved (ports, terminal operators, shipping companies at both global, national and local levels) must also help to reduce emissions from freight transport and improve the overall sustainability of transport chains.

Freight traffic in a seaport city increases the concentration of air pollutants and of climate gas (e.g. in the box of the emissions), and therefore has a direct impact on environmental and health risks. (Own presentation.)

There is more and more knowledge about freight transport-related emissions and their contribution to air quality. In addition to publications in journals, the below are very good examples in the following fields:

  • the European CEN 16258 standard for the calculation of transport emissions


In the MaritIEm research project

  • findings are being created in order to evalutate measures in the maritime transport chains on the basis of the results of emission and concentration calculations


  • to reduce the air pollutants and climate gases emitted by the maritime transport chains.

An exemplary calculation and evaluation of the emission and concentration quantities and possible measures for reduction will be carried out within the project based on the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven.


The project is methodically divided into the following four phases:

  1. First, the transport flows are classified according to transport means (sea and inland waterways, freight trains, trucks) and types of goods (containers, cars, bulks, general cargo, etc.), than mapped in a source-destination matrix. Based on this matrix and with the help of known points within the transport chain (e.g. transshipment points, berths, recipients / senders, etc.), the transport routes are determined in a model.
  2. With the help of emission factors and other source group-specific data (topography, diesel class, type of shunting locomotives, power, tidal height, capacity utilisation, etc.), the relevant emissions for the respective transport means are quantified.
  3. The modelling of air pollutant loads requires the consideration of total emission – both from freight transport and from other sources. Source group specific modelling allows the determination of the contribution of maritime transport chains. As a result, concentrations and the contributions of maritime transport chains are determined areally and at selected hotspots.
  4. Selected scenarios will be run in a simulation environment and compared in terms of their impact in order to identify a set of measures that are suitable for an effective reduction of emissions and concentration from maritime freight transport.

Project details

The project MaritIEm is part of the mFUND research initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure BMVI.

Project coordinator: Institut for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL)

Project partner: IVU Umwelt GmbH (IVU)

Project duration: 06/2020 – 11/2023