Cruise activity and pollution: The case of Barcelona

Jordi Perdiguero, Alex Sanz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


One of the main causes of mortality worldwide is air pollution. To tackle this problem, local, regional and national governments have implemented policies to reduce emissions from industrial and on-road sources. However, when these policies are being designed, shipping emissions are often overlooked. There has been a drastic increase in the demand for cruises and its economic relevance is also growing in port-cities. Barcelona is Europe's leading cruise port, and it is located near the centre of the city. In this context, this paper analyses the impact of cruise ships in the air quality of the entire city of Barcelona using a dataset with information about pollutants and the number of cruises arriving to the port. We show that there is a direct impact between cruises staying at the port and city pollution. Additionally, the size and age of the cruise also affect air quality. The larger (or newer) the cruise is, the higher the emission generated. Moreover, our simulations show that the whole city is affected by these emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102181
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Air pollution
  • Cruise ships emissions
  • Pollutants
  • Port externalities
  • Port of Barcelona
  • Urban air quality


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