Low-Sulfur Fuel Rule

Low-Sulfur Fuel Rule

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, all ships must burn fuel with a content of 0.5 percent sulfur to comply with an International Maritime Organization amendment to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) known as Regulation 14. 

As a result, a host of challenges face international container shipping by sea. These include concerns over higher costs, international compliance, and the availability of low-sulfur fuel at key international bunkering hubs such as Rotterdam and Singapore. 

Carriers have three paths to compliance, including the use of low-sulfur fuel, installing scrubbers and burning regular bunker fuel, or transitioning to liquefied natural gas to power vessels.

10 Sep 2019
Shippers on the Asia-Europe trades are starting to see how container shipping’s switch to low-sulfur fuel will impact their freight rates.
03 Sep 2019
Carriers are beginning to notify customers of low-sulfur fuel surcharges effective Oct. 1, but customers look at them only as preliminary estimates and expect adjustments this fall.
03 Sep 2019
Far more widespread demand for low-sulfur fuel will be required before prices stabilize enough for shippers to factor in the impact on Asia-Europe contracted rate levels.
02 Sep 2019
China’s largest carrier has expanded its Asia network with subsidiary OOCL to capture volume displaced by the US-China trade war.
16 Aug 2019
As tough as compliance with the IMO 2020 low-sulfur regulations will be, the switch to a cleaner fossil-based fuel will not be enough to achieve the IMO’s long-term zero-emissions target.
15 Aug 2019
Container carriers have already begun voluntarily reducing their carbon footprints, but shippers need to be prepared for the disruptive — and expensive — changes that must take place for the wider industry to reach IMO-mandated emissions reduction targets.
Green container shipping can make economic sense
05 Aug 2019
Pursuing green initiatives in the shipping industry doesn’t only help the environment; it can boost the bottom line, as well.
31 Jul 2019
It may not be a position appreciated by shippers, but DSV’s CEO says after years of low rates, the IMO 2020-driven fuel increases will generally be limited.
30 Jul 2019
Morten Moller Weisdal, a managing director at Mediterrean Shipping Co., said Tuesday the need to improve sustainability in container shipping is “the single-greatest challenge of our lifetime.” Shippers, he noted, “bear a huge responsibility.”
26 Jul 2019
As the IMO 2020 rule inches closer, analysts following energy markets are becoming alarmed at the possibility that the spread between low-sulfur and heavy fuel oils, which will guide the surcharges shippers pay, could be larger than shippers are anticipating.
Kuehne + Nagel: No December rush ahead of IMO 2020
23 Jul 2019
The world’s biggest ocean freight forwarder does not see why shippers would feel an urgent need to move cargo before the IMO 2020 low-sulfur fuel mandate kicks in on Jan. 1.
Operational gains path to early shipping decarbonization
19 Jul 2019
Although improvements in operational efficiencies alone will not meet IMO 2050 emissions targets, industry experts say they are the most feasible short-term measures to transition to a low-carbon shipping sector.
16 Jul 2019
While carriers are determined to pass low-sulfur fuel costs on to shippers, their customers are warning the additional charges better be in line with the market.
More R&D needed for low-carbon marine fuels
03 Jul 2019
Alternative low-carbon fuels are seen as an impactful short-term solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping sector, but questions remain regarding implementation, availability, and development.
Sailing toward zero-emission container shipping
03 Jul 2019
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced rules aimed at reducing harmful sulfur oxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships.
01 Jul 2019
Carriers, bunker suppliers, and refiners have had years to prepare for the IMO 2020 low-sulfur mandate, but as the six-month countdown begins, experts warn of a coming supply “scramble” and price uncertainty.
25 Jun 2019
The shipping sector is lacking investments in effective carbon reducing technologies, threatening to miss IMO 2050 targets for decarbonization, according to a recent report from CDP.
24 Jun 2019
Summary: Carriers need low-sulfur fuel to be available in key bunkering ports around the world, but supply uncertainty remains.
20 Jun 2019
Biofuel has been used in a second container shipping test, and the results have been positive for an industry facing an urgent need to decarbonize.
19 Jun 2019
Effectively addressing the low-sulfur surcharge that will be imposed by the IMO from Jan. 1, 2020 requires including shippers in an industry-wide partnership.
19 Jun 2019
Price continues to confound the container shipping industry as it prepares for the IMO’s 2020 low-sulfur mandate.
11 Jun 2019
The second half may be a tough one for carriers on the Asia-Europe trade as slowing economies and weakening demand coincide with higher operating costs.
10 Jun 2019
Worried about compatibility problems, some multipurpose and heavy-lift carriers will stick with marine gasoil despite a likely price bump in the wake of the IMO 2020 low-sulfur fuel regulations.
10 Jun 2019
Steady is progress being made toward improving the accuracy and verifiability of supply chain carbon footprint data.
05 Jun 2019
Shippers, ocean carriers, and freight forwarders say cargo owners are already rushing shipments to get ahead of potential tariffs on $300 billion of US imports from China.
14 May 2019
The European Commission’s competition regulator warned that shipper suggestions that carriers create a uniform bunker adjustment factor (BAF) surcharge would be viewed as a “hardcore violation” of antitrust rules.
13 May 2019
The conclusion of annual trans-Pacific service contracts this month showed that container lines for the most part got shippers to agree to reimburse them for expected higher fuel costs as of Jan. 1.
09 May 2019
While CMA CGM is the first carrier to implement the emergency bunker fuel surcharges this quarter, other carriers are likely to follow
07 May 2019
Container carriers will have to remove nearly every vessel from service for at least a week to transition to low-sulfur fuel as mandated by the IMO, but BCOs hope that carriers don't use this as a way to manipulate capacity during the peak season.
03 May 2019
Pressure is mounting on shipping lines to cut emissions via mandatory average speed limits on vessels, but data suggests carriers have been slow-steaming ships in the east-west trades for years.
01 May 2019
A rapidly approaching deadline for the implementation of early greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures has given way to the belief that only operational steps can do the trick with low- or zero-carbon propulsion methods still several years away.
01 May 2019
BCOs concerned about variations among carrier low-sulfur fuel surcharges may be able to shift volumes to exploit volatility in bunker pricing.
24 Apr 2019
Container carriers are caught in a classic “prisoner’s dilemma.” If they all install scrubbers, none of them reap the benefits of cheap, plentiful high-sulfur fuel that would come from widespread adoption of low-sulfur fuel.
21 Apr 2019
Container vessel on-time performance could degrade even further as carriers remove ships from service to install equipment that “scrubs” harmful sulfur particles from ship exhaust in lieu of burning low-sulfur fuel.
Mark Szakonyi, executive editor, JOC
04 Apr 2019
Mark Szakonyi, executive editor

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