In France, Germany, UK, Spain, Sweden and Finland shipping emissions in 2018 were larger than the emissions from all the passenger cars registered in 10 or more of the largest cities in each country, according to a report published by Brussels-based NGO Transport and Environment, said UK's The Guardian.
Shipping sector emitted 139 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018.
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) alone was responsible for 11 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, the report claims.
T&E shipping manager Faig Abbasov, who wrote the report, said: 'A company that consumers have never heard of has joined the top 10 polluters list in Europe. This industry doesn't pay a cent for its carbon emissions and the EU has so far done nothing to curb its damage. European trade doesn't have to be dirty just because EU leaders have neglected to clean up shipping.'
MSC reiterated that it 'operates a modern, green fleet and is investing heavily in low-carbon technologies and extensive new-build and retrofit programmes to boost performance and minimise our environmental impact.'
It added: 'MSC's fleet improvement programme has resulted in a 13 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions per transport work in 2015-18 and will help the container shipping industry make progress towards the United Nations International Maritime Organization's (IMO) 2030 CO2 targets.'
Shipping emissions have risen since 1990 by 26 million tonnes of CO2, or 19 per cent, the report said. And is provided with fossil fuel subsidies under EU law.
There are growing calls in the EU for the regulation of international shipping. The EU Commission's new president Ursula von der Leyen made extending the EU emissions trading scheme to maritime transport one of her top priorities.
Mr Abbasov added: 'To make shipping do its fair share, Europe must bring shipping into its carbon market and mandate CO2 standards for all ships calling at its ports.'
The report calls for the EU to impose a CO2 levy on EU shipping and or the establishment of a European maritime climate fund to help the sector reduce its carbon footprint. It also wants shipping emissions included in the EU's 2030 reduction objective, as well as the upcoming EU 2050 decarbonisation target.