A  groundbreaking platform developed by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in collaboration with UMAS delivers, for the first time, information on the cargo transported by individual vessels, the companies that own the cargo, and the transportation emissions associated to global maritime trade. Global Shipping Watch brings a new level of analytical depth, accountability and transparency to shipping and international supply chains.  The platform introduces a pilot version covering large trade countries such as USA and Brazil.

“The combination of detailed cargo data and vessel operations data brings a very powerful product, and shines a light on what has long been a blind spot. Companies, investors, governments and research organizations can now use the data to inform decisions and actions to improve maritime shipping logistics and decrease emissions, says Javier Godar, a senior researcher at SEI.

Global Shipping Watch combines the description and ownership of the cargo in each vessel, with the movements/operations of that vessel obtained from satellites and land stations.

“So far the need for tackling shipping emissions has been hampered by the absence of reliable data, baselines and emissions monitoring capabilities. One can hardly improve what is not adequately measured, monitored and benchmarked, ideally by independent third-parties” says Connor Galbraith, Principal Consultant at UMAS.

Global Shipping Watch (GSW), is an open access demonstrative platform led by SEI and partners UMAS and Simumatik, that addresses the information gaps and give access to key data, for example:

  • Contributes to corporate carbon reporting on scope 3 emissions, i.e. indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.
  • Helps consumers to understand the real carbon footprint of their choices.
  • Bench-marking the performance of accountable supply chain actors (carriers, vessels, export companies, and countries) by setting credible baselines.
  • Provides information for more efficient chartering operations, for modelling improved shipping operations and a more efficient global maritime architecture,
  • Enables better analysis of supply chain vulnerabilities, bottlenecks and commercial opportunities.

Global Shipping Watch currently includes all the maritime exports and imports of the USA (about one sixth of world trade in goods), as well as the exports of countries like Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ghana and Indonesia, in the year 2019. The ambition is to increase the geographical and temporal coverage of the platform, to include most of global maritime trade.


GSW links detailed cargo data and emissions per vessel, at scale. The underlying peer-reviewed methodology (Schim van der Loeff et al. 2018) consists of five steps. First, detailed cargo data per vessel is acquired and standardized. Then billions of data points from the Automatic Information System (AIS), – a global tracking system that uses transceiver devices installed on all vessels over 300 gross tonnage-, are matched to the cargo data by looking for common recorded departure port, date and destination of each and all vessels. Our algorithms segment the AIS signals into individual “journeys” that span each vessel trajectory from cargo loading to download. For each vessel journey GHG emissions are calculated using the methodology of the Fourth IMO Greenhouse Study, endorsed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The method combines AIS operational data (e.g. heading, speed, draft) and vessel technical specifications (e.g. deadweight, design speed, engine power and fuel consumption rate). Finally, emissions are allocated proportionally, per cargo weight and value, to the cargo types, cargo ownership, countries of export/import, companies operating the vessels, and countries of flag.

GSW is funded by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).

Learn about GSW through this short video, showcasing the exports of Tesla from the USA, and the associated shipping emissions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF03n1bbGDk

To access the platform visit https://globalshipping.watch/