Without reliable data, no external cost calculation

05 February 2016

PLATINA 2 reviewed the quality of datasets used to calculate emissions and external costs for inland waterway transport at EU level. The analysis looked at what data are needed and what data are available. This allowed the researchers to identify the knowledge gaps regarding the external costs of emissions to air. Based on these conclusions, recommendations were made on how to close the main data gaps.

Methodologies for data collection for external cost calculation were not compared. The focus of the study was on the quality of the data used. Lack of reliability and uncertainties have been found in the logistics parameters, energy consumption, emission parameters, monetisation and aggregation.

The study’s findings were validated with the inland shipping sector and with National Statistics Offices. Based on these exchanges, a paper was elaborated for the CESNI (European Committee for drawing up Standards in Inland Navigation) to explore how consumption and emission data could be added for a variety of engines.


  • As current data are not reliable, there is no basis to start discussions about internalising external costs. Data quality needs to be improved first before aggregated external costs of different transport modes can be compared.
  • As the legal framework regarding data collection on EU level cannot be changed on short term, we need to focus on voluntary actions by Eurostat, European Commission, national and regional authorities to close data gaps.
  • The EU PROMINENT project is building on the findings of the study and is currently measuring real world fuel consumption and emissions.

Summary of the external costs study

Without reliable data, no external cost calculation