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".

GloTraM structure

Policy impact and knowledge transfer

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.

This work 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.

The model analyses a number of non-GHG emissions and air pollutants, for which there are also policy applications.

In addition to policy impact, the model is in use in a number of multi-national organisations for assistance in strategic decision making.

Model summary

Type: Techno-economic model of the global freight transport system, currently focused on international shipping
Purpose: Generate foreseeable scenarios for the evolution of international shipping over the period 2010-2050
Policy impact Greenhouse gas mitigation policy development with the International Maritime Organisation and regional bodies. The model is also used by a number of multi-national organisations to assist strategic decision making.
Spatial scale: Shipping activity is broken down to country-country flows of trade for 100 commodity categories. Presentation of results aggregated to any regional specification can be applied and we currently use a 6, 11 and 15 region specification for these purposes.
Temporal scale: Annual: Average annual characteristics of the fleet (activity, costs, fuel consumption, emissions) are calculated in order to calculate the variables for fleet evolution.
Main contact: Tristan Smith
Other contacts: Solmaz Haji Hosseinloo


Documentation is available on the Low Carbon Shipping project website.


Journal papers

Smith T. W. P. (2012) Technical energy efficiency, its interaction with optimal operating speeds and the implications for the management of shipping's carbon emissions. Carbon Management, 3(6), 589-600.

Book chapters

Smith T. W. P. (2012) Energy, Transport and The Environment: Addressing the Sustainable Mobility Paradigm. In King D. A. and Inderwildi O. R. (Eds.) Low Carbon Shipping. Springer.