Shipping on our oceans

Shipping contributes to around 10% of global CO2 emissions; large cruise ships contributing the most. According to research by the European think tank Transport & Environment, cruise ships are incredibly harmful to the environment. In 2017, 47 cruise ships were responsible for ten times more environmental pollution (SOx emissions) than all 260 million cars on European roads. These figures are merely indicative. It is abundantly clear that reducing emissions in this sector will make a significant impact on climate change. 

  • 'The world's sixteen biggest ships emit the equivalent CO2 pollution of all the cars on the roads.'
  • 'The seventeen largest ships in the world emit more sulphur than all the cars in the world.'
  • 'One container ship is as polluting as 50 million cars.'
Shipping on our rivers

Inland vessels, mostly freight transport, are doing relatively well in terms of emissions: total road transport in bulk and containers has 100% higher emissions than freight transport by ship. Cargo ships contribute 3.5% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Cargo ships in the EU contribute around 13.5% of CO2 emissions of all European transport.

However, on rivers, we see a different picture for passenger ships; due to their larger and more complex energy supply. Alongside propulsion, big energy consumers like industrial kitchens, refrigeration and air conditioning result in a much higher contribution to CO2 emissions than cargo ships. Most studies don't take this difference into account.
A river cruise ship contributes more CO2 emissions to inland shipping than a cargo ship. However, this is not represented in the EU statistics.

Passenger ships on our rivers

What will passenger shipping energy supply look like in 2030?
What is the expectation level of our future guests?
Will passengers still see black plumes of smoke when the ship's engine starts?

In 2030 guests won't want to see or smell exhaust fumes. This concept is already apparent in the travel world. Tourism is a sensitive industry, a good indicator of desirable technological progress. To satisfy these desires and create a climate-neutral energy supply, we must first answer the question: How can it be achieved?

The current state of the engines on board inland vessels, both cargo and passenger vessels, is the so-called Stage 5 certified engine, which is comparable to Euro 6 for cars.

Currently, Euro 6 engines have the most favourable emission values for CO2, especially NOx, for cars. However, they remain internal combustion engines (Otto engines) that consume fossil fuels: The greater volume of the engine, the higher the CO2 emissions. 

Tour operators and passenger ships

Ships cost money and above all, they have to make money. One of the biggest problems in tourism is fierce competition. Price wars are typical. Investments made into ships are usually to improve the level of luxury or comfort; that which contributes to the holiday experience only knows its limits in superlatives.
Investing in sustainable technology is expensive and does not directly contribute to an improved holiday experience for the guest. A sustainable ship is not necessarily more attractive than a traditional river cruise ship in the brochure. So why would the owners make such an investment in sustainability?

Tour operators and shipping companies (shipowners) have not yet made definite plans to run their ships on renewable energy. In the (sea) cruise liner industry, the Aida Nova from shipping company Arosa uses gas as an energy source. Gas is cleaner than current conventional fuels, but it is not a renewable source of energy. The propulsion and energy supply of new-build ships still use fossil fuels; in most cases, diesel.