The European White Paper on Transports states: "Maritime transport is a key factor in modern economics. However, there is a permanent contradiction between industry, demanding ever more transport capacity & public opinion which is becoming increasingly intolerant of conflicts between economic, social, environmental, health issues & competition regarding the right of use of land, water & air.
The Community's answer cannot be just to build new infrastructure & create new shipping services. The maritime transport system needs to be optimised to meet the demands of enlargement and sustainable development.
Maritime transport is regarded one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transport by fuel consumption.
There are initiatives to reduce the one or the other emission factor. MARPOL Annex VI and the European marine fuel sulphur Directive and technologies to reduce SOX and NOX need be mentioned.
However there is no single measure to reduce ship borne air emissions to the level of road and rail transport means (10 ppm sulphur content in automotive fuel versus 15.000 ppm in marine fuel).
On the other hand such a relatively environmentally friendly fuel like natural gas has rarely been used as a fuel for ships. Few tankers only transport Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and even fewer use burn-off gas as fuel.
But, in Norway, there are already 3 offshore supply vessels and 6 fjord ferries running on LNG in service.
The project MAGALOG draws on Norwegian experiences and it is aimed at disseminating Norwegian know-how to other European countries by investigations into possible supply chains for LNG and preparing investments into LNG-fuel logistics in the Baltic Sea Region.