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terminal med europe

How to calculate the environmental footprint of a freight shipping route under an offset system

Why this challenge?

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a planetary goal adopted at the COP21 and more recently by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Challenge proposed here consists of prototyping an “eco-calculator” for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions based on the planned door-to-door transits of a container that incorporates environmental footprint offset components


Analyze the logistics route from point A to point B, including the upstream land segment and downstream marine and land segments. Make a distinction between the various pre & post forwarding options (road/rail/river) and the alternative entry and exit ports. Can be parameterized based on shipping vectors used (vessel size, type of rail traction, type of river vessel, etc.). Usable on a website and/or through a dedicated application.

The funding model for this eco-calculator forms part of the Challenge and must include a free version (perhaps with a more sophisticated customized version for a specific stakeholder, for a fee).

Sample situation

Offer port clients as well as other players as accurate a preview as possible of the equivalent carbon footprint generated by carriage of goods over the entire trip, compared with other potential routes (whether already operational or to be implemented). Beyond the prototyping of this measurement tool, the Challenge lies as well in the assumption of a modern active offset system for the calculated carbon footprint.

Anticipated benefits

The commercial and corporate interest of shippers and forwarding agents in reducing their carbon footprint should motivate them to use this tool, especially if a free version is available.

Trial, resources and co‑innovation


  • Provide logistics chain players (forwarding agents, carriers, shippers, ports, etc.) with as accurate an estimate as possible of the equivalent carbon footprint generated by shipping.  
  • Support comparison of the carbon footprint for passage of these goods through various ports.
  • Support comparison of this carbon footprint based on various potential pre & post forwarding modes (rail, river, road).
  • Beyond assessment of external factors, develop and offer, for consideration by stakeholders, incentive scenarios in the use of a given option that offers a smaller environmental footprint.

Resources available

Carbon footprint assessment tool based on goods shipping mode: ADEME methodology guide. Existing voluntary compensation projects.

  • Example of the Swiss-designed “myclimate” international initiative for private clients (air, cruise, etc.) and corporate clients (Interxion, Blablacar, etc.)
  • Los Angeles (origin of WPCI): truck toll at port entrance to fund a below-grade rail line crossing the city
  • ESI: financial incentive for green vessels
  • Other examples: Arbre-Évolution, CO2 solidarity, ECOTA, GoodPlanet, Compte CO2, etc. GPMM expertise

Profile for the expected startup