Low Carbon Shipping & Shipping in Changing Climates

A Research Led Consortium on Sustainable Shipping



One of the key tools to our work is the Global Transport Model (GloTram). GloTraM combines multi-disciplinary analysis and modelling techniques to estimate foreseeable futures of the shipping industry. The model starts with a definition of the global shipping system in a baseline year (2010) and then evolves the fleet and its activity in response to external stimuli (changing fuel prices, transport demand, regulation, technology availability). The conceptual framework used is shown in the diagram below.

The model is underpinned by rigorous analysis of the existing fleet, along with the economics of technology investment and operation in the shipping industry. This approach ensures that the model closely resembles the behaviour of the stakeholders within the shipping industry and their decision making processes to ensure realistic simulation of their likely response to new external stimuli (such as a carbon price).

GloTraM was initially developed by the RCUK Energy programme and an industry (Shell, Lloyd’s Register, BMT and Rolls-Royce) funded project “Low Carbon Shipping – A Systems Approach”. It has since been further developed through a number of further projects including the project “Shipping in Changing Climates”.

The model produces estimates of international shipping’s GHG emissions as a function of a macro-economic scenario (trade), price data (fuel and carbon) and other policy. Outputs include the impacts of policy on transport costs. The model also analyses a number of non-GHG emissions and air pollutants, for which there are also policy applications.

The model has applications for greenhouse gas mitigation policy development (both Command and Control and Market Based Measures) on global (International Maritime Organisation), regional and national scales. The research group is active in all three of these policy arenas, informing the work at IMO and Committe on Climate Change (UK).

In addition to policy impact, the model is in use in a number of multi-national organisations for assistance in strategic decision making. To date the model has been used to inform the International Energy Association (IEA) on future shipping trends, Lloyds Register and Shell on alternative fuel scenarios.


Model documentation and related publications

GloTraM user guide

Model description conference paper - Smith et al. (2010)

The GloTram method - Coming soon

For a full range of outputs from the model visit our publications page


For any queries related to the model, please contact Tristan Smith:

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UCL Energy Institute
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