The carbon footprint of the transportation sector

Transportation is a key industry in our society, and it currently accounts for 34% of the UK’s carbon emission. This sector is the largest source of carbon emissions globally and the only sector where current emissions are greater than the 1990 set point.  



There are around 90,000 merchant ships in service globally which carry approximately 80% of global trade by volume. Aside the ships which makes about 85% of the vessels, there are other fleets used for other purposes. The International Maritime Organisation estimated that shipping emits 2.85% of annual global emissions of CO2 while transporting containers, bulky goods, and crude oil internationally. A ship is expected to be operated for 30 years.


Demand for haulage is an important parameter for measuring economic development and it currently contributed to about 7% of the global annual carbon emission.  


The aviation industry contributes 2.2% of carbon emission and about 4.9% of non-carbon dioxide warming per annum. The non-carbon dioxide warming is from increased emission of NOx which stimulates the ozone. With global aircraft expected to reach a maximum of 39,000 by 2030 this pushes the carbon dioxide annual emission to 3.5%. Decarbonising the aviation fuel is one of the many ways to mitigate this effect. An aircraft has a lifespan of 25 years.