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New IMO rules alarm Asian palm oil exporters

London: January 1 saw the introduction of the Revised MARPOL Annex II (noxious liquid substances carried in bulk) regulations that impose stricter rules for bulk carriage of chemicals and vegetable oils. In particular, exporters are now required to use chemical tankers, which have double hulls, when transporting vegetable oils - previously categorized as unrestricted.

Although the regulations state that general dry cargo ships currently certified for bulk transportation of vegetable oils may to continue to service specific trades, some Asian exporters appear to be worried that the new regulation will curb exports of crude palm oil (CPO). According to local media, the Indonesian Department of Agriculture (IDA) plans to approach the IMO with a proposal to delay the implementation of the new rules for shipments to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka by least another year in order to allow time for fleets to be upgraded.  [03/01/07]

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