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Scrubber: a potentially overestimated compliance method for the Emission Control Areas - The importance of involving a ship's sailing pattern in the evaluation


  • Gu, Yewen

    (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Wallace, Stein W.

    (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)


Different methods for sulphur emission reductions, available to satisfy the latest Emission Control Areas (ECA) regulations, may lead to different sailing patterns (route and speed choices of a vessel) and thus have significant impact on a shipping company's operating costs. However, the current literature does not include sailing pattern optimization caused by ECA, and its corresponding cost effects, in the evaluation and selection process for sulphur abatement technology. This leads to an inaccurate estimation of the value of certain technologies and hence an incorrect investment decision. In this paper, we integrate the optimization of a ship's sailing pattern into the lifespan cost assessment of the emission control technology, so that such expensive and irreversible decisions can be made more accurately. The results shows that a considerable overestimation of the value of scrubbers, and thus a substantial loss, can occur if the sailing pattern of a ship is not considered in the decision-making process. Furthermore, we also illustrate that it is more important to involve a ship's sailing pattern when the port call density inside ECA is low.

Suggested Citation

  • Gu, Yewen & Wallace, Stein W., 2017. "Scrubber: a potentially overestimated compliance method for the Emission Control Areas - The importance of involving a ship's sailing pattern in the evaluation," Discussion Papers 2017/13, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2017_013

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    Cited by:

    1. Shuaian Wang & Dan Zhuge & Lu Zhen & Chung-Yee Lee, 2021. "Liner Shipping Service Planning Under Sulfur Emission Regulations," Transportation Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(2), pages 491-509, March.
    2. Lixian Fan & Bingmei Gu, 2019. "Impacts of the Increasingly Strict Sulfur Limit on Compliance Option Choices: The Case Study of Chinese SECA," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(1), pages 1-20, December.
    3. Tan, Zhijia & Zeng, Xianyang & Shao, Shuai & Chen, Jihong & Wang, Hua, 2022. "Scrubber installation and green fuel for inland river ships with non-identical streamflow," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 161(C).
    4. Zhang, Ming & Zeng, Xianyang & Tan, Zhijia, 2024. "Joint decision of green technology adoption and sailing pattern for a coastal ship under ECAs," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 102-113.
    5. Gong, Xu & Li, Zhi-Chun, 2022. "Determination of subsidy and emission control coverage under competition and cooperation of China-Europe Railway Express and liner shipping," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 323-335.
    6. Fan, Lixian & Gu, Bingmei & Luo, Meifeng, 2020. "A cost-benefit analysis of fuel-switching vs. hybrid scrubber installation: A container route through the Chinese SECA case," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 336-344.
    7. Theodoros C. Zannis & John S. Katsanis & Georgios P. Christopoulos & Elias A. Yfantis & Roussos G. Papagiannakis & Efthimios G. Pariotis & Dimitrios C. Rakopoulos & Constantine D. Rakopoulos & Athanas, 2022. "Marine Exhaust Gas Treatment Systems for Compliance with the IMO 2020 Global Sulfur Cap and Tier III NO x Limits: A Review," Energies, MDPI, vol. 15(10), pages 1-49, May.
    8. Gu, Yewen & Wallace, Stein W. & Wang, Xin, 2018. "Can an Emission Trading Scheme really reduce CO2 emissions in the short term? Evidence from a maritime fleet composition and deployment model," Discussion Papers 2018/10, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    9. Sung-Ho Shin & Oh Kyoung Kwon & Xiao Ruan & Prem Chhetri & Paul Tae-Woo Lee & Shahrooz Shahparvari, 2018. "Analyzing Sustainability Literature in Maritime Studies with Text Mining," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(10), pages 1-19, September.
    10. Zhuge, Dan & Wang, Shuaian & Wang, David Z.W., 2021. "A joint liner ship path, speed and deployment problem under emission reduction measures," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 155-173.
    11. Katarzyna Prill & Cezary Behrendt & Marcin Szczepanek & Iwona Michalska-Pożoga, 2020. "A New Method of Determining Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator for Specialized Ships," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(5), pages 1-17, March.
    12. Li, Lingyue & Gao, Suixiang & Yang, Wenguo & Xiong, Xing, 2020. "Ship’s response strategy to emission control areas: From the perspective of sailing pattern optimization and evasion strategy selection," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    13. Gunnar Prause & Eunice O. Olaniyi, 2020. "Building a sustainable and transferable sulphur emission free BSR [Die Errichtung eines nachhaltigen und übertragbaren Ostseeraumes ohne Schwefelemissionen]," NachhaltigkeitsManagementForum | Sustainability Management Forum, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 21-27, June.
    14. Lee, Sang-Jeong & Sun, Qinghe & Meng, Qiang, 2023. "Vessel weather routing subject to sulfur emission regulation," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 177(C).
    15. Trivyza, Nikoletta L. & Rentizelas, Athanasios & Theotokatos, Gerasimos & Boulougouris, Evangelos, 2022. "Decision support methods for sustainable ship energy systems: A state-of-the-art review," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 239(PC).
    16. Eunice Omolola Olaniyi & Laima Gerlitz, 2019. "LNG Maritime energy contracting model," Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues, VsI Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Center, vol. 7(1), pages 574-594, September.

    More about this item


    Scrubber; Fuel-switching; Emission Control Areas; Sailing pattern; Port call density; Lifespan cost evaluation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General


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