Global shipping contributes annually with about 1 Gt to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. This is approximately 3% of global emissions and a sizeable contribution from a single sector. As future trade-flows are likely to grow significantly in the course of the next decades these emissions will increase correspondingly. Several options to reduce emissions from international shipping have been identified in literature, such as the installation of energy efficiency measures, switching to cleaner fuels, and reducing operational speed. Life-cycle models can aid in the identification and quantification of potential impact reduction options as they capture so-called environmental problem-shifting, i.e. reducing impact in one part of the value chain while incurring additional impacts up- or downstream. Life-cycle work on shipping has so far focused on selected cases with few studies available in the scientific literature. However, differences in system boundaries, functional unit of assessment, and assumption, complicates comparative analysis and scaling-up of results to global fleet level. In this article, we elaborate on our experiences of using life-cycle based models to perform comprehensive environmental impact assessments of both single technologies, and sector wide systems, and discuss how similar approaches can be used in a maritime context. We present a first outline and an example case of an integrated modeling framework for the life-cycle based environmental assessment of ship transport.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.