Case studies

Air emissions: SOx and NOx

03 April 2019
Air Emissions

The issue

Air emissions from ocean-going shipping have negative effects on human health and the natural environment. We support regulation which will significantly reduce these effects, as evidenced by a 2018 survey showing that areas in Europe with regulation-limited sulphur content in fuel saw a drop in sulphur concentrations in the air by up to 60%. 

But, without a level playing field in terms of compliance and the enforcement of regulation, the competitiveness and profitability of compliant companies will be hurt. 

The International Maritime Organisation’s 0.5% global cap on sulphur dioxide (SOx) content in fuels for shipping will enter into force from 1 January 2020. To enable enforcement of the global cap, the IMO in 2018 decided on a carriage ban for non-compliant fuels on board vessels. Vessels with scrubbers cleaning the exhaust gasses installed are exempted from this ban. OECD estimates the cost of switching to new, compliant fuels at up to USD 15 billion per year for the container shipping industry. Our own estimation is around USD 2 billion annually for A.P. Moller - Maersk alone.

What we do


We comply with regulatory demands and report on cases of non-compliance annually in the A.P. Moller-Maersk sustainability report.

We prepare for the 2020 global cap, by: 

  • Investing in sufficient supply of compliant 2020 fuels
  • Having dialogue with our customers over additional fuel costs
  • Establishing standard operating procedures to ensure that the new, blended, compliant fuels will not cause operational problems, and
    investing in scrubbers on a share of our vessels. Scrubber technology is a less extensive element of our sulphur cap fuel sourcing strategy, with the vast majority of our container vessels complying using low sulphur fuels.


IMO legislation exists to achieve progressive reductions in NOx emissions from ships. It is being implemented through the establishment of NOx emission control areas (NECAs). A.P. Moller - Maersk is preparing for the 2021 enforcement of NECAs in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

Read about our 2018 progress on air emissions

Anything you need, we’re here to help



We meet customer needs from one end of the supply chain to the other.
Contact us

Contact us

Our dedicated team of experts are here for you.
Find Prices

Ready to ship?

Look up rates for new shipments and inland tariffs.

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to receive weekly updates from Maersk on rates and information relevant to your business.