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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Sustainable Shipping: Options for a Global Industry

Jonathan Dowsett

Sustainable Shipping: Options for a Global Industry


Changing customer expectations, rising fuel prices, and forthcoming legislation are driving unprecedented change within the international shipping industry. Some companies have passed the sustainability value horizon and are beginning to tackle the significant obstacles that separate the shipping industry from developing a sustainable future within their organizations. However, for the majority of the industry, guided change is dramatically needed. This paper identifies seven critical sustainability issues facing the industry through broad industry research spanning the full spectrum of industry stakeholders. Then, options that can address these issues are presented from technical, operational, and legislative perspectives. The conclusions of this paper provide brief industry-level recommendations that will allow industry stakeholders to focus attention on the most critical sustainability issues first. Perhaps most importantly, this paper shows that despite the complexities of the shipping industry, a process to achieve improved sustainability combining technical, operational, legislative, and educational aspects is beginning to get underway.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.