Key points in the process include a move towards cleaner fuels with less polluting emissions and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions through lower or even zero carbon fuels. This however raises the question of how the industry gets to the former objective while also having the latter one in mind as the ultimate goal.
Fresh from seeing the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reach agreement on cutting carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared with 2008 levels, Poulsson noted that the much touted use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) does have its limitations. “LNG is for sure an interim solution and a good one but I don’t think it’s a very long term solution,” he suggested.
While LNG does not emit sulphur dioxide when it is combusted and as such has been seen as a cleaner burning fuel which is a good solution to the upcoming sulphur emissions cap in 2020, it does however still create carbon dioxide in the combustion process.
On suggestions about the lack of availability of low sulphur fuel Poulsson said: “Everything that I hear from oil companies in Singapore, which is one the world’s top refining centres, and elsewhere, is that they will have it available when the time comes.”
He noted that while the companies are remaining relatively vague about their plans, there is a confidence that they will deliver when necessary. “It’s hard to pin them down but you get the very strong impression that they know what’s happening and come the time they will have it available,” Poulsson said.
Meanwhile reiterating the ICS’ stand on market-based mechanisms Poulsson said: “We are very much against market-based measures but we accept it may well not go off the agenda and in the end if it is implemented then the bunker levy scheme could be the only way that will work.”
He highlighted the fact however that implementation will be tough where the “devil will be in the details”. For example, he asked: “How do you administer this, and the funds really do go to the purpose we would want it, for research and so on?”