Shipping governance and global environmental challenges (2010-18)

Shipping, a critical infrastructure of global economy that carries 80% of international trade volume and more than 70% of its value, according to UNCTAD, is an inherently transboundary activity with low governability, particularly when it comes to environmental and safety performance. A closer consideration of shipping governance draws attention to the fact that there is no single actor, institution, or source of authority that defines and steers environmental quality in shipping. Instead, there is a plurality of actors and rules forming a set of governance arrangements within multiple interdependent contexts under the overarching set of maritime laws, conventions, and customs, which satisfies the criteria of a polycentric governance system. How can such a system deliver coherent outcomes, in other words, how it is coordinated across levels and scales remains poorly understood. The project “Quality shipping governance” aimed at redressing this knowledge gap and showing how, despite all odds, collective action emerges in transboundary environmental governance of shipping.

Related publications

Quality standards in polycentric systems: A case of shipping (2019)

Shipping governance is a polycentric system: there is no single actor, institution, or source of authority that defines and steers environmental quality in shipping. Instead, there is a plurality of actors and rules within multiple interdependent contexts. How can such a system deliver coherent outcomes, in other words, how it is coordinated across jurisdictions and governance scales? This paper argues that quality standards, defined here as de jure requirements and de facto expectations applied to products and processes, facilitate coordination between geographically and organizationally diverse economic actors in maritime shipping. We show how quality standards function not only as soft rules, but also as institutionalized references and shared conventions, enabling coordination across levels and scales. Standards may seem elusive and vague, but their normative power is to describe the desirable future.

Air emissions from ships in port: does regulation make a difference? (2019)

Different ports present different regulatory environments. Yet, does it have an effect upon air emissions from ships? This study addresses exhaust gasses (NOx, SOx, CO, CO2) and particles (PM2.5) released from operative vessels in port with differing regulatory frameworks (Las Palmas, St. Petersburg, and Hong Kong). It demonstrates that port emission patterns cannot be solely explained by regulatory differences and differences exist between shipping sub-sectors. Results show how disaggregation of emission inventory can provide policy support.

Explaining choices in Energy infrastructure development as a network of adjacent action situations: The case of LNG in the Baltic Sea region (2018)

Why does LNG infrastructure expand as a new major energy technology around the Baltic? This study argues this is due to the capacity of LNG infrastructure to fulfill policy expectations in three issue-areas: enhancing energy security, providing low-sulphur bunker fuel, and balancing renewables in the power sector. This paper contributes to the development of a polycentric perspective on energy infrastructure governance by developing the concept of network of adjacent actions situations (NAAS). The analysis of linkages between these actions situations emphasizes the spatial, temporal, and discursive aspects of energy infrastructure governance at the regional level.

Regulating GHG Emissions from shipping: Local, global, or polycentric approach? (2017)

How shall GHG emissions reduction from ships be governed? As climate change has become a subject of increased attention in the shipping sector,  questions about  appropriate governance have been raised. This paper examines the recent literature on polycentric climate governance and suggests principles for environmental regulation in shipping based on a polycentric approach. The argument regarding the role of global, regional, and local policies in curbing shipping emissions is shown to be a part of a broader theoretical debate on forms of global governance.

A Geographical Perspective on LNG Facility Development in the Eastern Baltic Sea (2015)

This paper presents an overview of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities development in the eastern Baltic Sea. The paper shows that factors motivating the development of LNG terminals in eastern Baltic ports come from areas of energy and maritime policy. While to date the development of LNG terminals is a priority at the national (state) rather than local (port) scale, in the future the emerging LNG infrastructure may have an effect upon port competition in the eastern Baltic range.

Quality governance in maritime oil transportation: the case of the Baltic Sea (2015)

How is change brought about in quality governance of Baltic maritime oil transportation? This qualitative case-study investigates how a particular constellation of public and private, binding and voluntary, internal and external quality standards impacted the process of institution building for quality management in Baltic oil shipping. The paper shows that emergence of quality practices in oil shipping is associated not only with the development of shipping industry as a whole, but also with the dynamics within the energy value chain. This means that collective action is contextually-bound, thus the mechanisms of quality shipping governance can essentially differ from one locality to another. This implies that local solutions can be found to problems conventionally identified as global.

Corporate social responsibility and quality governance in shipping (2015)

What is the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the governance of quality shipping in the Baltic Sea region? This study seeks to identify how CSR fits within the broader maritime governance arrangements from the point of view of private actors, such as shipping companies and ports. The findings indicate that maritime industry actors are aware of CSR potential to influence regulation, even if they are not engaged in CSR themselves.


Governing shipping externalities: Baltic ports in the process of SOx emission reduction (2013)

How can the same universal international regulations produce varying patterns of governance? A closer look at the process of adoption of sulphur emission regulation in the Baltic Sea region demonstrates that the globalized shipping industry is nevertheless locally and sectorally embedded. As a result, local actors, in particular ports, play a crucial role in environmental governance.

Binding rules or voluntary actions? A conceptual framework for CSR in shipping (2014)

How to effectively address the negative environmental and social impacts of shipping? Public regulation based on international conventions is universal and global in scope, but it is facing several implementation gaps. Private regulation in shipping can complement the public regulation, but it is partial in its scope both thematically and geographically, and it relies on actors’ commitment. Therefore, the central dilemma is how to effectively combine both public and private regulation in shipping in order to make it environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. One potential candidate to reconcile the two governance logics is corporate social responsbility (CSR). The paper offers a conceptual framework to integrate CSR into the polycentric shipping governance.

Governing external cost of shipping in emission control areas: An instrumentation approach (2014)

How does the present system of externalities governance in shipping function and what can be expected from introducing new instruments, such as Emission Control Areas (ECAs)? The study provides an instrumentation analysis of quality shipping governance in the Baltic Sea region. It concludes that most of the governance instruments fail in integrating all the relevant actors into the governance process. As a result, the governance mix is largely based in old-fashioned hierarchical modes of governance featured by command-and-control instruments animated by mechanisms of control and punishment. In those cases where a regulatory task is divided between public and private authority, the role of private actors is reduced to public goods suppliers, meaning that policy targets and contributions are decided by public authority and implementation is outsourced to private actors. The important producers of public goods associated with quality in shipping, for example, the coastal states, ports and shippers, are not adequately integrated into the governance system. ECA could be used as a chance to bring the relevant actors together based on the area’s territorial definition.

The Russian dimension of Baltic maritime governance (2013)

Maritime affairs are not in the spotlight of EU-Russia relations. Yet, in the Baltic Sea region Russian maritime policy is an inherent piece of regional sustainability. In a review of historical, administrative, economic, and political facets of Russian maritime policy, the paper identifies the logic of “greatpowerness” underpinned by the category of “national interest” as its main driver. In this overall logic, cooperation with the EU in maritime affairs is a part of larger Russia’s EU politics. The study concludes that Baltic maritime governance depends on the ability of the EU and Russia to maintain constructive relations beyond the scope of the maritime domain.

Varying patterns in vessel operation quality and their governance implications (2013)

Some ships demonstrate higher performance when it comes to the environment, but is there any pattern? This study applies correspondence analysis to explore patterns in vessel operation quality among four groups of vessels operated in the Baltic Sea in 2009-2011 using port State control inspection data. The paper claims, that observed variation indicates that some sectors of the shipping industry receive stronger incentives and/or possess better capabilities to deliver high quality in vessel operation. The paper concludes that in the context of globalized markets no ‘one size fits all’-approach can be used to address shipping externalities and suggests designing policy measures specifically aiming at groups of maritime actors associated with different segments of shipping market.