Lawyers from Reed Smith liken the raft of uncertainties facing shipowners and charterers in their charter contracts relating to compliance with the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap to that of the UK with Brexit.

The Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) is maintaining its opposition to scrubbers as way to comply with the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap despite significant investments in exhaust gas cleaning systems by some of its members.

Wilhelmsen Ship Service (WSS) has signed an agreement with Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science to supply a convenient handheld device that can test the sulphur content of fuels onboard.

Research firm Woodmac has forecast that just over 10% of marine fuel will be scrubbed in 2020 when the IMO 0.5% sulphur cap rule is enforced.

The debate currently raging over the use of open-loop scrubbers to meet the requirements of the IMO’s 2020 0.5% sulphur cap for marine fuel represents a massive own goal by the industry - from both a PR and global regulatory perspective.

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.

UK-based Cleanship Solutions announced that it has clinched a scrubber retrofit project for an unnamed vessel operator for over 30 containerships with capacity ranging from 7,500 teu to 15,000 teu.

Scorpio Bulkers, which along with sister company Scorpio Tankers, has taken a major bet on scrubbers to comply with the IMO’s 2020 low sulphur regulations is assuming a price spread of $250 per tonne between high and low sulphur fuel once the limit is in force.

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.

Page 1 of 3