Life cycle inventory of fairway channels

This report considers activities associated with fairways from an environmental perspective. The specific aim of this study is to quantify life cycle inventory (LCI) data on construction, operation and maintenance of fairway channels.


Well-maintained fairway channels are necessities for a functioning marine transport system. In this report environmental aspects of construction and operation of fairway channels are described and analysed. Life cycle inventory data on energy use during dredging, maintenance of navigational aids, pilotage and ice breaking are presented. Impacts on the marine environment have not been included in the study. All data have been acquired from the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Port of Gothenburg.

The study is part of a greater project covering environmental life cycle aspects of a larger part of the transport infrastructure system, including ports. The data have therefore been modelled to fit in a life cycle assessment model, developed for the same project.

The aim is to present generic data for Swedish fairway channels. However, port specifics can cause large variations in the need for the fairway channel maintenance, piloting and ice breaking. Care should be taken before applying and using the presented data in a wider context. All the activities described in this report are for this reason accompanied with a brief recommendation on further use. For use in LCA models with wider scopes, it is recommended that impacts from pilotage and ice breaking are related to models on ship operations, and that dredging, and maintenance of navigational aids are related to models on ports. A summary of the most important emissions to air from fairway activities are presented in the Table below. The results for Sweden are summarised both as a total including all activities in the inventory, and with pilotage and ice breaking subtracted. The latter values are intended for further use in LCA models on ports.

The results show that the main contributing activity to energy use and CO2 emissions from a national perspective is dredging. For a single port, other activities may have greater influence. In the case study of Gothenburg, pilots contributed the most to CO2 emission. However, the impacts from infrastructure activities in the fairway channel are minor in relation to the impacts from a transport chain as a whole.

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