Sea transport is a vital component of the world’s economy as the largest carrier of freight around the globe. Marine shipping is responsible for about 3.3% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. International Maritime Organization in 2009 has set the target for 15% reduction in the maritime emissions by 2018. This requirement calls for further research into minimising carbon footprint of marine shipping through collaboration between industry and academia. The MINI-CHIP project aims to respond to this call in a timely manner. Earlier research on reducing carbon footprint of marine shipping has regarded GHG emissions as an implicit objective surrogated by fuel consumption and cost which could be combined with other items (such as penalty charges). It would be more illuminating for shipping companies to analyse trade-offs in the operational decisions including energy consumption and GHG emissions as explicit decision criteria. Such approach will support informed decision making through assessing the environmental impact of the operational decisions in maritime transport.
To the best of our knowledge, no prior research has addressed minimising carbon footprint of marine shipping as an explicit objective alongside service level and cost objectives in a stochastic environment. MINI-CHIP project aims to address this gap by developing mathematical formulations of marine shipping operations as a stochastic optimisation problem to minimise carbon footprint whilst optimising service level and cost. Novel metaheuristic search techniques and simulation models will be developed within a simulation-optimisation framework. The innovative solution techniques will form the core of a decision support tool for industrial applications. The prospective decision support tool will help reducing environmental impact and contributing to economic prosperity of marine shipping in Europe and around the world and contribute to the transition of Europe to low carbon economy.