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.

London-based Greek shipowners have urged the IMO to bring together oil companies, marine equipment makers and classification societies to guarantee fuels created to comply with 2020 environmental rules do not damage engines and cause accidents.

The Port of Fujairah has become the latest major port to ban the use of open-loop scrubbers in its waters.

Bunker supplier Monjasa is bringing the Panama-flagged- 2010-built and 8,800 dwt tanker, Accra, to complement its Panama Canal bunker fleet.

Global fuel testing firm Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) has introduced a new service in light of last year’s increased fuel quality cases as the industry approaches the IMO 2020 global fuel sulphur regulation.

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