Assessment
Author(s)
Frank Maes
Publication

Assessment of the effect of international maritime regulations on air quality in the southern North Sea

(2023ATMOSPHERE. 14(6).

Air pollution is a leading cause of death worldwide, and it has a profound impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems. A substantial portion of air pollution is attributable to Ocean Going Vessels (OGVs). In light of this, international regulations have been put in place to mitigate air pollutant emissions from OGVs. While studies have indicated that these regulations can create significant health, environmental, and economic benefits, there remains a research gap regarding their specific impact on enhancing air quality. The aim of this study is to investigate how the implemented regulations have affected air quality in the Southern North Sea. The study found that the international regulations on ship emissions have successfully led to a decline in SO2 emissions from OGVs in the Southern North Sea, which resulted in a reduction of ambient SO2 concentrations inland, leading to positive effects on public health and the environment. However, the proportion of shipping’s contribution to SO2 emissions is projected to increase in the future. Moreover, the study revealed that the use of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) presents significant concerns. They were more frequently found to be non-compliant, and, more alarmingly, they emit higher mean levels of SO2. It also emerged that international regulations in the southern North Sea have less of an impact on the reduction of NOx emissions from OGVs than expected, which is all the more important given that NOx emissions from OGVs are expected to account for 40% of the total domestic NOx emissions for the northern region of Belgium by 2030.

assembling seabed
Author(s)
Klaas Willaert
Publication

Assembling the seabed : pan-European and interdisciplinary advances in understanding seabed mining

(2023Ocean governance : knowledge systems, policy foundations and thematic analyses. In MARE Publication Series 25. p.275-294

The aim of the book is to provide an internationally visible compendium of salient discussions about the past and present contradictions and future outlooks of and on the governance of our oceans. Particular emphasis is placed on the different narratives, logics and rationales involved in constructing oceanic pasts, the shaping of its present and the imaginaries of future ocean governance. The subject of governing oceanic systems and coastlines has arrived in the centre of European and global strategic and sustainability interests, exposing and addressing the high degree of policy fragmentation and the lack of cross-scalar approaches to tackle existing challenges. This book contributes to these ongoing debates in academia and policy-making by offering a range of historical and contemporary case studies from Europe and beyond relating to ocean governance in the thematic fields of land sea interaction; area-based management; seabed resource management; nutrition security and food systems; ocean, climate change and acidification; and fisheries governance.

MP
Author(s)
Theo Notteboom
Publication

Towards a prioritization of alternative energy sources for sustainable shipping

(2023MARINE POLICY. 152.

Research in B. and M. Management
Author(s)
Theo Notteboom
Publication

Operational productivity and financial performance of pure transhipment hubs versus gateway terminals : an empirical investigation on Italian container ports

(2023RESEARCH IN TRANSPORTATION BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT. 47.

The sea-sea transhipment of containers between vessels has become a key part of the container handling ac-tivities in the global maritime shipping network constituting 25.8% of the worldwide container port throughput in 2017 (Drewry Shipping Consultants, 2018). Since the 1990s, the global port system has seen the development of pure transhipment hubs close to interoceanic passages (Straits of Malacca, Suez Canal, Panama Canal, etc.) and port sites at other strategic maritime locations. Some regional markets, such as the Mediterranean Sea, seem to offer the right conditions for the emergence of pure transhipment hubs characterized by a transhipment incidence, i.e., the share of sea-sea transhipped containers in the terminal's total container traffic, of >65% (Notteboom et al., 2019). Although prior academic papers have stressed main issues related to pure transhipment hubs' competitive and operational performance, no contributions have investigated their link with economic and financial performance. This paper aims at analysing the main drivers that are expected to shape transhipment hubs' profitability and to compare their financial performance with gateway terminals (focused on import/export cargo only) and ter-minals handling a mix of gateway and transhipment flows. A database is developed consisting of the operational, economic and financial data of main Italian container terminals for the period 2009-2020. An OLS statistical model is tested for investigating the relationships between economic-financial performance and technical -operational performance of pure transhipment hubs compared to gateway and mixed terminals. The findings reveal that, for the same operational performance, terminals predominantly focused on tran-shipment activities tend to reach significantly lower levels of profitability compared to gateway and mixed terminals. It is also demonstrated that these terminals have a lower ability to create a positive cash flow and income compared to gateway and mixed terminals. The research outcomes provide useful insights for both port managers and policy makers involved in the development and management of pure transhipment hubs.

IAPH
Author(s)
Theo Notteboom
Publication

World Ports Tracker

World Ports Tracker, Edition 4 (Quarter 4, 2022)

Atmosphere
Author(s)
Frank Maes
Publication

The role of Belgian airborne sniffer measurements in the MARPOL Annex VI enforcement chain

(2023ATMOSPHERE. 14(4).

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences launched its airborne sniffer program in 2015 whereby a custom-built sniffer sensor was installed onboard the Belgian coastguard aircraft enabling the measurement of SO2 and NOx emitted by ocean-going vessels (OGVs). The data gathered on non-compliant OGVs were subsequently sent to port inspection authorities, who were then able to trigger inspections more rapidly than had they not had the data from the aircraft. This study reveals the added value of airborne alerts on port inspection effectiveness, a subject that had not been previously documented. This article demonstrates that airborne alerts have not only led to increased sanctions but have also drastically improved the efficiency of port inspection authorities, leading to a 50% reduction in the enforcement cost per confirmed violation. Port inspection authorities were able to follow up on 46% of the generated Fuel Sulphur Content (FSC) alerts. Of the alerts that were followed up, 43% were confirmed as non-compliant after inspection. This means that 20% of the total number of generated airborne alerts, which includes those that were not able to be followed up, met conditions for legal sanctioning. In contrast, for NOx alerts, only limited follow-ups were conducted by port inspection authorities. None of the alerts were confirmed with those inspections, mainly due to the lack of inspection mechanisms for real-world NOx emissions under IMO and EU regulations. In addition, for this study, a large-scale remote FSC measurement validation analysis was conducted for the first time, comparing airborne FSC measurements and FSC reference data. In order to obtain FSC reference data, onboard measurements from exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCSs) were collected, together with fuel samples from Belgian port inspection authorities. The validation analysis revealed that the empiric deviation in the airborne FSC measurements with the FSC reference data was 9%, which was significantly lower than the 25% uncertainty used in the reporting of the alerts. This study helps pave the way for an increased role of airborne monitoring in the MARPOL Annex VI enforcement chain.

publication
Author(s)
Klaas Willaert
Publication

The forgotten aspect of the common heritage of mankind : the interests of developing states within the context of deep sea mining in the Area

(2023The evolution of the law of the sea : celebrating AssIDMer’s 20th anniversary. p.165-174

Together with its mineral resources, ‘the Area’ – comprising the seabed and subsoil beyond the boundaries of national jurisdiction – is designated as the ‘common heritage of mankind’. This abstract concept, indirectly derived from the legal notion of ‘res communis’, provided a solution for several issues surrounding the anticipated exploration and exploitation of the deep seabed resources. Indeed, it reconciles the conflicting ambitions of exploitation and conservation and serves to avoid a ’tragedy of the commons’ scenario, as the absence of an specific management regime would pose a significant risk of unbridled exploitation and drastic ecological decline. Nevertheless, one of the predominant motivations behind the principle of the common heritage of mankind was to ensure fair sharing of the benefits derived from the Area by preventing a first-come first-serve race to the bottom of the ocean, which would mainly entitle developed nations – possessing the necessary expertise, technology and financial means to engage in deep sea mining – to the mineral resources of the deep seabed and would exclude most developing states from these economic opportunities. This important objective ought to be implemented through a number of mechanisms (including the establishment of the Enterprise, the system of reserved areas and the adoption of equitable sharing procedures), but most of these have not yet been operationalized by the International Seabed Authority or seem to be undermined by current developments. This reveals an apparent imbalance between two of the main ambitions associated with the common heritage of the mankind: while the prominent focus on marine environmental protection and the widespread scrutiny in this regard is appropriate, since the precise impact of seabed mining on deep sea ecosystems remains largely unknown and is a major concern, the seeming neglect of the interests of developing states in the Area and the lack of urgency to address these issues should not be overlooked.

Ocean yearbook
Author(s)
Klaas Willaert
Publication

Sharing is caring : prominent issues and considerations regarding the equitable distribution of deep sea mining proceeds

(2023OCEAN YEARBOOK. 37(1). p.194-206

The status of the Area and its mineral resources as the common heritage of mankind constitutes the guiding principle of the international deep seabed regime. Although its implications and objectives are wide-ranging, one of the crucial components of this abstract concept consists of a general premise to carry out activities in the Area for the benefit of mankind as a whole. This ambition can be pursued through various mechanisms, and one of the most direct ways is to share the proceeds of deep sea mining among all states on an equitable basis. In accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is tasked with developing a suitable payment and distribution system, which takes the needs and interests of developing states into particular consideration. This article analyses the overarching rules and principles, discusses prominent issues and evaluates the available options, offering an insightful look at a complex process which will shape some of the most important aspects of the international deep seabed regime.

research handbook LOS
Author(s)
Klaas Willaert
Publication

To outsource or not to outsource? Rethinking the piracy prosecution model

(2023Research handbook on the Law of the Sea.

Over the years, the piracy prosecution model has been characterized by the outsourcing of legal responsibilities. Indeed, in the heyday of Somali piracy, pirate suspects arrested by Western warships were often transferred to other states in the region to be prosecuted there. This trend was prompted by several advantages that came with prosecution and punishment of pirates within the region concerned, but gave rise to lengthy discussions on the legality of such transfers. Furthermore, there are also a number of drawbacks associated with it, and the reluctance of countries to commit to piracy prosecution might erode the perception of pirates as 'enemies of all mankind', who should be fought by the entire international community. The great dependence on a handful of local states with limited resources renders this prosecution model quite vulnerable, so it seems appropriate to share the burden and restore the balance. In this regard, the universal jurisdiction linked to piracy offenses appears to be more of a curse than a blessing, and a clear shift in piracy prosecution responsibilities might be needed.

covid
Author(s)
Theo Notteboom
Publication

Weathering the COVID-19 pandemic towards the ‘new normal’ : potential longer-term impacts on port and shipping governance, performance, and infrastructure geopolitics

Maritime economics and logistics
Author(s)
Theo Notteboom
Publication

Seaports as green hydrogen hubs : advances, opportunities and challenges in Europe