Governance of Shipping Emission of SOx in China's Coastal Waters: The SECA Policy, Challenges, and Directions

Jihong Chen, Zheng Wan, Hu Zhang, Xiang Liu, Yuhua Zhu, Aibing Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Emission governance of air pollutants from ships is a common challenge for the world's shipping industry. Under the framework of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Europe, North America, and other developed regions and countries have established strict ship Emission Control Areas (ECAs). With some of the largest ports in the world, China suffers severe air pollution from ships, posing a threat to the air quality and public health of the coastal cities. To strengthen the control and supervision over air pollutants, such as ship-emitted sulfur oxides (SOx) in coastal areas, China issued a Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA) policy for ships in January 2016. However, the new SECA policy lags far behind IMO's existing ECA policies, and continues to face many challenges during implementation. This paper outlines the main framework of China's ship SECA policy, analyzes the legal governance basis, discusses major potential challenges for implementing the policy, and puts forward suggestions for future governance. This research aims to promote the effectiveness of China's sulfur emission-reducing SECA policy by putting forth novel ideas for policymakers and stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-209
Number of pages19
JournalCoastal Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


  • coastal waters
  • seca policy
  • shipping emission
  • sulfur oxides (SO)

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