Industry Issues


Container shipping is the most carbon efficient means of transporting most goods across the world. Most of the world's manufactured goods and products travel by container ship, with the containers then transferred to rail or truck to reach their final destination. Containerization has revolutionized the movement of goods and the increased efficiency of moving goods has produced numerous benefits including lower environmental impacts associated with the movement of products from one point to another.

In support of Members' efforts to promote sound environmental stewardship, the Council is working with legislators, appropriate government agencies, the International Maritime Organization, and other organizations. The scope of issues is quite broad - including regulations to improve air quality, climate, preventing the spread of invasive species, the reduction of marine noise, and a variety of other issues relating to protection of human health and the environment.

Air Emissions

The World Shipping Council and its members are engaged in a number of efforts to adopt effective international regulations to address air emission from ships. In fact, the World Shipping Council was the first industry organization to endorse proposals for establishing stringent international controls addressing nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxide (SOx), and particulate matter (PM) emissions from ships. Learn more

Vessel Discharges

The World Shipping Council is working with the International Maritime Organization, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other relevant organizations on the on-going development of standards addressing various vessel discharges. Learn more

Invasive Species

Invasive species may be transferred from one geographic location to another through ballast water discharges, hull fouling, or through the movement of products and their packaging. The World Shipping Council and its members are involved in a variety of efforts to prevent the transfer and introduction of non-indigenous species through these different channels. Learn more

Marine Life and Habitats

As the world's oceans have become better understood and subject to increasing use, efforts have also followed to protect specific marine habitats and species. These efforts include designation of specific marine habitats where greater limitations apply to what activities are permitted, speed restrictions and "areas to be avoided" to help protect specific species such as the Northern Atlantic Right Whale, and a growing effort to learn more about the sources of noise in the marine environment and how to reduce the amount of noise that cetaceans and other species are subject to. Learn more

Recycling, Reuse, and Waste Management

Over the last two centuries, wood, hemp, and other organic materials traditionally used in the maritime sector have been replaced with steel and other synthetic materials. This change in materials has occurred not only in the construction of the ships themselves, but has also occurred across the full spectrum of products used on board as well as the products being transported. This change in materials has introduced a new set of challenges and environmental problems since many of these materials do not readily biodegrade. New management systems have been required to deal with the challenges associated with these materials and the increased level of use resulting from a growing world population. International standards have been established for the management of marine debris, the recycling of ship containers, and the dismantling and recycling of ships themselves. Learn more