Archived Webinar

Climate policy-making in shipping: How to estimate maritime transport costs to enable better informed impact assessments?

Maritime transport costs vary widely. Often, small island developing States (SIDS), landlocked developing countries (LLDC) and least developed countries (LDC) spend much more than the average country on international transport and insurance costs for trade in goods.

Yet, existing public data on transport costs still have significant room for improvement. Such data is very crucial for impact assessments of public policies affecting transport and trade. A good example for instant applicability of this data is the current climate policy-making process in the shipping sector. Here, the International Maritime Organization has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. In the related policy-making process, maritime transport costs on the country and commodity level are required to assess the potential impacts of different climate policies on States.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank have therefore begun developing a global transport costs database for international trade with a special focus on trade serviced by maritime transport. Kindly supported by University Maritime Advisory Services, the database is to feature a new dataset that is both global and granular in nature. This database is intended to help overcome the existing paucity of maritime transport costs data. It will initially populate a limited sample of countries and commodities, before expanding its coverage to all countries and all commodities.

The webinar will discuss the following questions:

  • Why does it need a global transport costs database for international trade with a special focus on maritime transport?
  • How can maritime transport costs be estimated on a country-pair, commodity and mode of transport level?
  • What methodological challenges still need to be overcome?


In this webinar, experts from UNCTAD and the World Bank will explain their methodological approaches to estimating maritime transport costs, i.e. to ship one specific commodity from a particular country to another country. By sharing insights into a pilot version of the database covering a very small sample set of countries and commodities, they will also allow webinar participants to familiarize themselves with this upcoming data resource and to provide feedback enhancing the research process.

About the Presenters

Dominik Englert

Dominik has turned his passion for fighting climate change into his profession. In his efforts to decarbonize the global economy, he works as an economist in the World Bank’s Climate Change Group in Washington, D.C. As a co-lead of the World Bank’s activities in decarbonizing maritime transport, he mainly focuses on reducing emissions in the shipping sector. Furthermore, he works on developing carbon pricing policies in Côte d’Ivoire and on mainstreaming climate considerations in the World Bank’s project portfolio in East Asia and the Pacific. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Dominik met the challenges of climate change as a senior advisor for First Climate, a private consultancy based in Zurich. He oversaw the carbon compliance management for large industrials, advised public institutions on climate policy and traded CO2 allowances in the EU and Swiss emissions trading systems. Dominik holds three master’s degrees in Finance & Strategy (Sciences Po), International Affairs & Governance (University of St. Gallen) and International Management (Community of European Management Schools).

Jan Hoffmann

Dr. Jan Hoffmann joined UNCTAD in 2003 and is currently Chief of the organization’s Trade Logistics Branch, responsible for research and technical assistance programmes in international transport and trade facilitation. Jan is co-author and coordinator of the “Review of Maritime Transport”, initiated the UNCTAD “Maritime Country Profiles”, and created the annual “Liner Shipping Connectivity Index”. Previously, he spent six years with the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago de Chile, and two years with the IMO in London and Santiago. Prior to this, he held part time positions as assistant professor, import-export agent, consultant, and seafarer on an Antigua and Barbuda flagged tweendecker. Jan has studied in Germany, UK and Spain, and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Hamburg. He is member of the boards of various journals and associations and past president of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME).

Onno Hoffmeister

Onno Hoffmeister is Chief of the Statistics Production Unit at UNCTAD. He graduated with a Master of Economics at the Free University of Berlin and holds a PhD from the European University Viadrina (Frankfurt/Odra). He worked as researcher at the German Institute of Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and as assistant professor at the University of Hamburg where he got a first small taste of the maritime world. He participated in EU Twinning Projects in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Jordan as consultant in charge of the German Ministry of Economics and Finance. From 2008 to 2010, he was Statistical Officer at Eurostat, where he was involved among other tasks in the regular compilation of the European Sector Accounts (a sectoral breakdown of the national accounts), the preparation of the Monitoring Report of the European Sustainable Development Strategy, and the development of formal guidelines for the assessment of reporting of error in sample surveys. From 2010 to 2015, he was Statistician at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), where he took part in the compilation of the FAO Food Balance Sheets and the datasets on agricultural production and international trade in agriculture for FAOStat. He joined UNCTAD In October 2015. Onno Hoffmeister published articles in the Review of Income and Wealth and (as co-author) in the International Migration Review and the Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance. He is member of the German Economic Association (Verein für Socialpolitik) and acted as reviewer for Regional Studies, the Review of Income and Wealth and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). He enjoys skiing, strumming some chords on the guitar, playing chess and playing with data.

Nour Barnat

Nour Barnat currently serves as Statistician, chief of method unit at UNCTAD carrying out statistical, methodological and analytical work related to international trade, development, maritime transport and SDGs indicators. Her work focuses on projects to advance the measurement of international trade in services mainly for West African countries and world international merchandise trade, as well as development of composite indexes related to inclusive growth. Before coming to UNCTAD, she worked as university teacher of econometrics, statistics, micro and macro economics and as a consultant it International Labour Organization. She is performing research on social statistics such as informal employment in African countries and world population and inequalities. She believes that life expectancy should increase for one simple reason, to get more time to read all books written all over the world, and that data should be open and access free which allows to change the quality of the data itself. Her dream is to be a film maker including documentary films. ‘Data sings for climate, shipping and Peace’ coming soon!

Wendela Schim van der Loeff

Wendela Schim van der Loeff is a PhD student at the UCL Energy Institute looking into the potential disproportionate negative impacts a global carbon policy within the maritime transport sector might have on States. To highlight those trade routes which are most vulnerable within the maritime transport network, her research differentiates between trade routes and commodities. One particular focus has been on estimating maritime transport cost by using geospatial and temporal shipping data from the sector’s Automatic Identification System (AIS), while in parallel matching commodity-specific trade activity with AIS shipping activity.

Questions Submitted


- Jun 5, 2021


- Jan 15, 2021

Mohammad Nadir

- Jun 6, 2020


- May 31, 2020


- May 21, 2020

Md. Babar

- Apr 18, 2020

Md. Babar

- Apr 18, 2020

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Apr 7, 2020
Climate policy-making in shipping

Md. Babar

- Apr 18, 2020

Mohammad Nadir

- Apr 4, 2020
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