Bonus Projects




Sustainable sHipping and Environment of the BAltic Sea region (SHEBA)

The Baltic Sea is subject to intense shipping, about 15% of the global seaborne trade is conducted via Baltic waters. In addition numerous leisure boats are in use.  It is hypothesised that shipping is significantly affecting the Baltic Sea environment. Yet there is a need for a much higher level of detail and quantification of current and future shipping’s contribution to environmental threats in the region in order to identify how to ensure sustainable development of shipping in the area. SHEBA brings together lead experts from the fields of ship emissions, atmospheric, acoustic and oceanic modelling, atmospheric and marine chemistry, marine ecology, environmental economics, social sciences, logistics and environmental law in order to provide an integrated and in-depth analysis of the ecological, economic and social impacts of shipping in the Baltic Sea and to support development of the related policies on EU, Baltic Sea region, national and local levels.

The objectives of SHEBA are:

1.  Update shipping activity data using Automatic Identification System (AIS) data from HELCOM and data on activity data for pleasure boats.

2.  Determine today’s and scenario shipping emissions of air pollutants, different categories of water pollutants, noise and of production of liquid and solid waste as a function of vessel activity.

3.  Assess the current situation of air and water pollution from shipping and the effects of scenario emission changes in the Baltic Sea region and in selected harbours by means of modelling systems.

4.  Conduct an impact assessment of ship generated underwater noise in the Baltic Sea area using a proxy for the shipping induced noise.

5.  Develop an analytical framework for the integrated assessment of effects of shipping and harbours in the Baltic Sea region.

6.  Assess changes in ecosystem services in different shipping scenarios compared to a Baseline.

7.  Evaluate various technology and policy options to reduce pressures and impacts from shipping and harbours in the Baltic Sea and identify and analyse trade-offs between these options as well as marginal changes in costs and benefits (Cost-Benefit Analyses).

8.  Make inverted model scenarios in order to propose required levels of actions which would ensure that the impact from shipping will not escalate due to forecasted growth.

Key theme of the BONUS call addressed by SHEBA is: “Assessing the effects of air and water pollution and introduction of energy (including noise) by shipping activities on the marine environment and integrated water management in harbours”. As supplementary themes “Governance structures, policy performance and policy instruments”, and “Maritime spatial planning from local to Baltic Sea region scale” were chosen.

Eleven partners from 7 countries are linked-up in SHEBA, their geographical location is displayed in figure 1. The list of the project partners along with the acronyms used is given below. 



 Figure 1: The contribution institutions are located around the Baltic Sea except CNRS/CINAM, which is located in Marseille, France. Acronyms are assigned in the partner list below. 


Along its running time SHEBA will receive advise from an external, international Advisory Board consisting of the following experts: David Turner, Gothenburg University, Sweden; Carl Carlsson, Swedish Shipowner´s Association; Anita Mäkinen, Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Helsinki, Finland; Stefan Schmolke, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, Hamburg, Germany; and Magdalena Wesolowska, Maritime Office in Szczecin, Poland.

Project Partners


IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL); Gothenburg (Coordinator)

Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers); Gothenburg

Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI (FOI); Stockholm


Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG); Geesthacht

Ecologic Institute (EI); Berlin


Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI); Helsinki

SYKE, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE); Helsinki


Marine Systems Institute, Tallinn University of Technology (TUT); Tallinn


Maritime Institute in Gdansk (MIG); Gdansk


University of Southern Denmark, Department of Environmental and Business Economics, (SDU); Esbjerg


Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Marseille Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanoscience, joint research unit UMR 7325 (CNRS/CINAM); Marseille


Work Packages

SHEBA's research and coordination is structured into 7 working packages (WPs), of which WP6 and WP7 are overarching activities interconnecting all other WPs. In working package 1 the overall scene concerning maritime policy is set and shipping related scenarios are developed, its outcome feeds into the topical working packages “Air Pollution” (WP2), “Water pollution” (WP3), and “Noise” (WP4). Results from all working packages will be the bases of an “Integrated Assessment” which is central in WP5.

Bonus scheme

WP 1 Policies, activity data and scenarios

In Work Package 1 ‘Policies, activity data and scenarios’ the main drivers for the shipping sector such as the present and future transport needs due to economic and societal developments will be described. Further, policy instruments that are implemented today and decided for the future will be analysed regarding their impact on ship traffic and technology development.

Updated shipping activity for 2014 will be obtained from AIS data. The volumes of sewage, bilge and ballast water and their assignment to ship activity and/or onshore facilities related to handling of the waste water from ships will be calculated as well as emissions to air from different ship categories. Also activity data for pleasure boats will be obtained for the countries around the Baltic Sea. 

Further, a set of scenarios will be developed in order to analyse different future outcomes in regard to shipping, the environment, human health and climate. These scenarios will be descriptive and forecast possible outcomes of different drivers of change. These drivers can be regulations, economic development, technical breakthroughs etc. The scenarios will be developed for the years 2030 and 2040. The scenarios will be used in SHEBA to support the analysis of how shipping will impact the environment in regard to air, water and noise. One scenario will be a business-as-usual scenario (BAU) to describe what will happen with current trends in development of the sector and with already decided regulations becoming implemented. There will then be a set of alternative scenarios illustrating the effect of changes in the drivers. Examples of some of the key factors influencing scenarios to be considered include: fuel changes; the use of mitigation technologies; environmental requirements; changes in traffic volume and modal shifts; different levels of water pollution; and changes in technologies.

WP 2 Air pollution

In SHEBA’s work package 2 exhaust gas emissions from ships and their contribution to air quality in the Baltic Sea region are investigated. The most important pollutants are nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter. In addition, nutrient deposition, e.g. from nitrogen containing aerosol particles and acid deposition are calculated to be further used in ecosystem models in work package 3.

Atmospheric chemistry transport model systems are the main tools that are used in the Air Pollution work package. The models are fed with shipping emissions from work package 1. This includes current emissions as well scenario emissions for different developments in the shipping sector. Contributions from other emission sectors like industry, traffic, agriculture and households are considered as well. This is of high importance because atmospheric chemistry is highly non-linear and all interactions between different pollutants need to be considered. The scenarios will include the implementation of a nitrogen emission control area for new built ships and the wide use of alternative fuels like liquefied natural gas.

SHEBA looks at regional as well as city scale effects. Four harbor cities at the Baltic Sea coast, Gothenburg, Rostock, Gdansk and Riga, will be investigated in more detail. Here, model systems with finer resolution will be applied to better account for effects of ships at quay. By this, new developments in emission reduction technologies in ports, e.g. onshore power supply, can be evaluated.

WP 3 Water pollution

In WP3, the extent and effect of water pollution from shipping in the Baltic Sea will be assessed. Impact on the marine environment from ships may be either direct as discharge of nutrients and/or contaminants in sewage, ballast water, cooling water, bilge water, scrubber water, leakage of stern-tube oils or leakage of toxic anti-fouling paints. It may also be indirect as deposited eutrophying or acidifying substances as well as contaminants from ship plumes. To reduce emissions and discharges from ships international regulations apply, mainly through conventions by the International Maritime Organization. On the other hand, the ambitious monitoring program of the European Commission, implemented as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, has identified eleven areas of concern regarding anthropogenic impact to the marine environment. For each area also called Descriptors the state of Good Environmental Status has been defined, usually a description of what the marine environment looked like in the 1950-ies.

WP 4 Noise

The WP4 of SHEBA deals with underwater noise of Baltic Sea shipping. It is generally recognized that underwater noise can block communication, cause behavioural changes and physical injury to marine life. Underwater noise is a combination of signals from natural (wind, waves, ice, volcanic activity) and manmade sources (ships, boats, seismic exploration, underwater construction). We will concentrate on the noise generated by commercial shipping and chart its contribution to underwater sound.

WP4 will use noise source and propagation modelling to determine Baltic Sea areas where underwater noise levels from shipping are high and may become a problem for marine life. Experimental measurements of shipping noise impact on fish will be investigated in controlled environment. This will allow observations of behavioural changes as a function of noise frequency and intensity. Shipping noise mitigation scenarios will be tested to gain knowledge on possible measures to reduce underwater noise.

WP 5 Assessments and Policy

Work Package 5 ‘Assessments and Policy’ will evaluate technology and policy options to reduce pressures and impacts from shipping and harbours in the Baltic Sea. As a first step, it will develop an analytical framework to assess shipping and harbor activities in the Baltic Sea region. This will include an integrated (ecological, economic, and social) assessment of policy options to mitigate pressures linked to shipping. The framework will then be used to determine how environmental pressures in the Baltic caused by shipping activities may change the provision of marine ecosystem services over time and under different future scenarios, including a business as usual scenario. 

Furthermore, this work will assess policy options in relation to key EU policy objectives stemming from the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and Water Framework Directive (WFD). This will include an analysis of trade-offs and synergies between various policy options to reduce environmental pressures from shipping and support the achievement of EU policy goals. The assessment will also include an analysis of the economic and societal effects of identified alternatives for shipping to comply with environmental regulations.

WP 6 Interaction with stakeholders; Data products and dissemination; Dissemination, education

Working package 6 (WP6) will deal with all aspects of dissemination, stakeholder interaction, educational materials and data handling within SHEBA.

Our project has a very wide spectrum of participants from a number of different disciplines. Because it is closely related to policy, society, and industry, the interaction with relevant stakeholders from these groups is of high importance. The project will involve stakeholders in the projects advisory board as well as in a dedicated stakeholder group, which accompanies the project and will be consulted during a series of stakeholder meetings. WP6 will take care of all interactions between stakeholders and SHEBA.

As second topic of WP6 is the data handling within the projects as well as with the outside world. A large amount of information gathered within SHEBA will be in the form of data. Defined data products (e.g. shipping activity statistics, pollution maps, impact maps) which are designed to be of use for stakeholders and decision makers in the field of the shipping sector and environmental politics, will be made accessible via a interactive data portal.

The project will organize a number of activities in order to make the public aware of the impact of shipping on the marine environment and the developments and activities taken to achieve good environmental status of the Baltic Sea. The projects activities will address young scientist, students, schools and the general public on different levels. WP6 will develop the respective concepts and the educational material for this task.

WP 7 Coordination

Working package 7 coordinates SHEBA, this involves the overall management as well as the quality control.


Subscribe here for SHEBA project news and SHEBA Newsletter:

Subscribtion form

Issue 2016/1

Welcome to this SHEBA newsletter, which is the second of a series of 6 newsletters along the runtime of the project aiming to inform project collaborators, stakeholders affected by Baltic shipping and the interested scientific community on the content and development of SHEBA. more

Issue 2015/1

Welcome to this SHEBA newsletter, which is the first of a series of 6 newsletters along the runtime of the project aiming to inform project collaborators, stakeholders affected by Baltic shipping and the interested scientific community on the content and development of SHEBA. more


Deliverable 1.1, type RE: Drivers for the shipping sector


Coordinator Jana Moldanová, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden 


Dissemination issues: Markus Quante, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Coastal Research, Germany


Project webpage: