Published on 17 Nov 2021

Pollutant emissions in major seaports likely to have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, finds NTU Singapore study


Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), have modelled that pollutant emissions from the shipping sector increased significantly in major international seaports during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Professor Law Wing Keung, Adrian, who led the study, said: “Our study presents a review of the ship emission outlook amid the pandemic uncertainty. Lockdown measures and other Covid-19 restrictions on human activity have upended the landscape for the shipping sector and significantly affected the operating patterns of maritime and trade, leading to the computed outcome revealing significant increase in pollutant emissions in the seaports in our study.” 

Ms Liu Jiahui, a CEE PhD student, who was first author of the study, said: “Although they typically spend the least time in ports, dry bulk carriers, which are merchant ships designed to transport unpackaged bulk cargo, such as grains, coal, ore, and cement, experienced the biggest increase in pollutant emissions. This is due to a combination of COVID-19 precautions at ports and the increased demand for raw materials due to the resumption of industrial activity in the second half of 2020, which resulted in a spike in dry bulk carriers in ports.”

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