Project Ideas

VB Project idea Goods Trasport in the North Sea region: Present and future effects on human health and the environment.


Within the North Sea region transport of goods is a major contributor to air pollution, having negative effects on public health and the environment. The transport industry is adapting to already implemented or planned changes in regulations and infrastructure within Europe, and within the North Sea region in particular. From 1. January 2015 The IMO MARPOL Annex VI restricts the amount of sulphur in marine fuels used in the North Sea to 0.1% or alternatively, he use of alternative fuels or scrubbers. Major improvements in infrastructure (port facilities, rail and roads) are either under construction or planned. It is yet unclear how the industry will adapt and if the adaption will imply shifts from one mode of transport to another. In particular the increase of cost for shipping may result in a shift from sea to road transport. Even though the shipping industry is becoming cleaner, a model shift from sea to road transport could lead to increased air pollution levels both locally and regionally. Ultimately the decisions regarding transport of goods are made by the transporters and their costumers based on cost, transport time and regularity. Regulations and infrastructure are key factors in the decision process. In this project we will investigate the present and expected future distribution between transport modes (sea, road, rail) and its effects on air pollution and subsequently on human health and the environment.


The project will build on existing estimates for current and future regional and local (targeted ports) emissions of air pollutants from all sources (land based and sea based). Future emissions will be based on current legislation. Different emission scenarios for goods transport will be developed based on technologies implemented and different distribution between the transport modes. The emission estimates will be used as input to regional and local air pollution models. Model calculated concentrations of key air pollutants as PM2.5, ozone and NO2 will be used to calculate the effects of transport on human health.


Postboks 43

Jan Eiof Jonson

Tel: +4722963324

Central Aim

The aim of the project is to study the effects of different transport modes of goods on air pollution and subsequently on human health and the environment. Central questions that we would like to answer are:

  • In what way does the different transport modes contribute to air pollution levels, both locally (port cities) and regionally on the North Sea region.

  • In what way will changes in regulations and infrastructure affect the distributions between transport modes, and in turn, how will this affect air pollution levels?

  • The key decision makers are the transporters. They make their decisions independently of the policy makers, and are often located outside the countries affected by their decisions. How will they adapt to to the changes in regulations and infrastructure?

  • Are there new technologies that could help reduce emissions for sea and road transport?

  • In what way will modal shifts and changes in emission regulations (SECA/NECA for ships, emission controls on trucks, etc) affect the emissions?

Envisaged Output

The output of the project will be an estimate of the air pollution, and subsequently the burden on human health and the environment , both on a regional and a local scale, from goods transport within the North Sea region. Estimates of air pollution, health effects and the effects on the environment will be calculated for the individual transport modes. These calculations will be repeated based on different future distribution of goods transport between the different modes, and different assumptions for technology improvements. These calculations will give an estimate of the improvements in human health and environmental benefits from already already implemented or planned changes in regulations, technology and infrastructure. We will point to possible regulatory or infrastructure bottlenecks in the flow of goods within the region preventing the the most cost effective and environmental friendly modes of transport to be chosen.

Partners Found Already

Partners backing out due to difficult funding in intereg projects.

Partners Sought

Ideas could be integrated into other projects

Estimated Budget

Thematic Keywords
Goods transport, air pollution, health effects

Lead Beneficiary

06 March 2015

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