Study claims green shipping would add just eight cents to a pair of Nikes

Running ships entirely on green hydrogen-based fuels would add less than €0.10 ($0.10.5) to the price of a pair of trainers and up to €8 for a refrigerator, a new study on the cost of decarbonising European shipping shows. The analysis of shipments from Shenzhen in China to Europe was carried out by NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).

Faig Abbasov, shipping director at T&E, said: “Green shipping would add less than 10 cents to a pair of Nikes. This is a tiny price to pay for cleaning up one of the dirtiest industries on earth. In a year where shipping companies are making bigger profits than Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Netflix combined, it is right to question whether shipping companies are doing enough.”

The study shows that even in the most extreme case of a ship running on 100% green fuels, prices would not rise significantly.

In the worst case scenario, shippers would face increased transport costs of 1% to 1.7%. However, on an itemised basis, the price of consumer products would barely budge, the study maintains. A pair of trainers would cost just €0.003 more, a television €0.03 and a refrigerator up to €0.27 more.

The cost increase calculations are based on different hypothetical fuel mixes for a container vessel that sails between China and Europe. Data is obtained from the satellite-based automatic identification system (AIS) and cross-checked with the EU MRV database.

Abbasov concluded: “A decade ago, the only hope of decarbonising shipping was halting global trade itself. Now we have the technology, but what is lacking is a market signal for green hydrogen producers. As a world leader in shipping, the EU should set an ambitious green e-fuel mandate that guarantees hydrogen fuel suppliers a market. Green shipping is possible. It is a question of political will.”

Touching on exactly the same subject last year was Soren Skou, the CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Interviewed by the BBC, the Maersk boss acknowledged the shipping industry as a whole would have to spend billions of dollars transforming the global merchant fleet but the cost for the end consumer would be minimal.

“It would in a container with sneakers from Vietnam, translate into something like six cents per pair of sneakers. So I don’t think that it will really impact the consumption opportunities for consumers out there,” Skou told the BBC.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Characterising shipping as one of the dirtiest industries is just nonsense. In energy utilization terms it is one of the most efficient. Hydrogen propulsion for very large ocean going ships is still unproven and the economics are equally opaque. The cost of production and indeed the methods of production plus storage, transport and dispensing hydrogen all need to be factored in. The claimed incremental cost on a pair of trainers is spurious,

  2. Did the author consider the required volume of hydrogen required for deep sea shipping?

    I think not, because it is many many times greater than for traditional fuels.

    You would hardly fit any containers at all if the ship is to run on hydrogen.

    This article is nonsense..

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