If you have not started planning the process of switching your ships from running on high sulphur fuel (HFO) to compliant low sulphur fuel oil (LFSO) for IMO 2020 you need to do it today, was the message at a Wilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM) breakfast seminar in Singapore on Thursday.

The first trade executed on the new Singapore FOB Marine Fuel 0.5% (Platts) futures contract was brokered on the basis of $200 spread with high sulphur fuel (HFO) for December 2019.

The expanded Panama Canal saw container trade switching from the US West Coast calls, with landbridge connections inland, to calls on the East Coast, however, higher fuel costs associated with the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap could drive up to 1.2m teu of trade back to West Coast ports.

The scale of the challenge facing ship operators as they prepare bunker tanks for new low-sulphur fuels ahead of the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap may have been underestimated, according to some marine fuel experts.

The enforcement of the IMO’s 2020 low sulphur regulations will have a “crucial bearing” on the success of the maritime transport industry according to MOL chief Junichiro Ikeda.

Feeder vessel owner MPC Container Ships has lined up a major potential scrubber orders for the majority of its fleet.

Torm has joined Frontline in investing in a scrubber manufacturer with the Danish shipowner forming a joint venture with ME Production and Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI).

Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) president, Theodore Veniamis has attacked the "intense negativism" towards ocean-going shipping by some sectors, which he also says display a "hypocritical" stance on the issue of environmental protection regarding shipping.

Japanese shipowner K Line is set to use a variety of methods including low sulphur fuel and scrubbers to comply with the IMO's 0.5% global sulphur cap in 2020.

The number of ships fitting scrubbers to meet the requirements of the 2020 sulphur cap continues to grow rapidly, but it is not an option available or suitable to all.

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