As we enter the new global sulphur cap regulation the industry braces itself for the challenges ahead. The limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas has been reduced to 0.5% from 3.5%. This new regulation is predicted to significantly reduce the sulphur oxides that emanates from ships.
With predictions that IMO 2020 will have teething issues Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), said in a message to the industry on the eve of the IMO 2020’s implementation.
“The industry has been working hard to ensure that we are ready for 1st January, but we still have concerns over safety and the availability of compliant fuels in every port worldwide. This is a pressing issue.
“Shipowners rely on many other stakeholders in the marine fuel supply chain, particularly bunker suppliers and oil refiners, to ensure we are all able to fully comply with the new regulations. We need the supply side to fully contribute to a smooth changeover so that we do not have any incidents due to incompatible fuels and we can ensure safe operations for our seafarers,” said Platten.
“I would like to think the vast majority of shipowner will fully comply, and the new regime will be strictly enforced by Port State Control authorities globally.
“What we want is to make sure it is a level playing field – any shipowner would want that – and there is a uniform approach to compliance around the world. If you have not got a level playing field and people are able to gain from the system, that’s not fair.”
“We believe this major change is both timely and needed, however, this does not mean it is without inherent risks,” he finished.
So far IMO has significantly added to the cost of moving freight and as it begins to fluctuate importers are worried about the impact this will have on the cost of their supply chain going forward.