ARB Research Seminar

This page updated June 19, 2013

Regional Commercial Marine Vessel Inventories and Forecasts

James J. Corbett, Ph.D., College of Marine Studies and Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Delaware

July 26, 2007
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Research Project


This seminar presents results of a study to geographically characterize energy use and emissions for interport ship movement for North America, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico. A regional scale methodology will be described for estimating commercial marine vessel (CMV) emissions from the ~172,000 voyages to and from North American ports in 2002.

North American shipping consumed about 47 million tons of heavy fuel oil and emitted ~2.4 million tons of SO2 in 2002, with approximately 30 million tons fuel and 1.6 million tons SO2 within the North American domain for this project. Comparison with port and regional studies shows good agreement in total estimates and better spatial precision than current top-down methods. Development of growth trends to describe future trade and energy requirements for North American cargo and passenger vessels will be described. We estimate a growth trend for North America (including United States, Canada, and Mexico) of about 5.9%, compounded, agreeing with other trend estimates that energy used by ships bringing global trade to and from North America will double by or before 2020.

Future ship emissions will be compared under a scenario without sulfur controls, and for a with-SECA scenario assuming IMO-compliant reductions in fuel sulfur to 1.5% by weight for all activity within the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles) of North American nations. Implications of this work for evaluating health effects, economic policy instruments, and mitigation policies will be identified for discussion.

Speaker Biography

James Corbett, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the University of Delaware's Graduate College of Marine Studies and in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Corbett's research has focused on transportation and environment, including technology-policy research on air emissions from international and domestic maritime transport, energy and environmental impacts of multimodal freight transportation, and assessment of technological and policy control strategies for goods movement. Current research includes spatial and temporal modeling of ship emissions, feasibility and costs of pollution controls for multimodal freight transportation, evaluation of technology-policy alternatives for ballast water management to reduce invasive species introductions, and risk assessment techniques evaluating ship strikes with marine mammals. He has published more than 25 peer-reviewed papers related to shipping and multimodal transportation. He holds a Ph.D. degree (1999) in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

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