AbstractShipping is an important source of pollution affecting both atmospheric and aquatic environments. To allow for efficient mitigation of environmental degradation, it is essential to know the extent of the impacts of shipping in relation to other sources of pollution. Here, we give a perspective on a holistic approach to studies of the environmental impacts of operational shipping through presentation of an assessment framework developed and applied on a case of shipping in the Baltic Sea. Through transfer of knowledge and concepts, previously used in assessments of air pollution, now applied to assessments of marine pollution and underwater noise, the horizon of understanding of shipping-related impacts is significantly improved. It identifies the main areas of environmental degradation caused by shipping and potential improvements through legislation and technological development. However, as the vast majority of contaminants discharged into the sea are not routinely monitored and assessed, the links between pressure of contaminants from shipping and environmental state and impacts will not be caught in the current environmental regulatory frameworks.