Global Sulphur Cap 2020 – Implications for shipping and how to comply by next year
The global 0.50% sulphur cap will enter into force in 2020. Finally, this date is no longer in the far-off future but in less than 365 days. What four options are available for ship owners?
The figures are impressive: According to the guidance paper Global Sulphur Cap 2020 published by DNV GL on the topic, more than 70,000 ships worldwide will be affected by this regulation. As a result, if they have not done so already, ship owners will need to weigh up their options in the very near future to ensure that their vessels will be in compliance on all the usual trade routes.
Just to recap, there are basically four possible options to meet the 2020 deadline:
- Switching from high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) to marine gas oil (MGO) or distillates
- Using very-low-sulphur fuel oil or compliant fuel blends (0.50% sulphur)
- Retrofitting vessels to use alternative fuels such as LNG or other sulphur-free fuels
- Installing exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers), which allow operation on regular HSFO
There is no single, dominant solution. All four options come with advantages, disadvantages and constraints. For example, LNG requires a sufficiently developed bunkering infrastructure along the intended trade routes. Scrubbers require significant space in already crowded engine rooms. MGO is roughly twice as expensive as HFO or LNG, leading to possibly prohibitively high operational expenses. And alternative low-sulphur fuels may be even harder to find, in sufficient quantities, than LNG on certain routes. The best choice will depend on many factors, not least the age of the ship. To complicate matters further, the factors themselves are not static; we know they will also change over time and we know they will also depend on the evolution in the rest of the market. Sometimes it seems rather like a game of chess, where if you are blindfolded and are not familiar with the rules of the game, you stand no chance of winning.
So, the solutions are not simple, but at least, we should try to understand the rules by which the game will be played and we can give you some pointers for the opening gambits. DNV GL has created many dedicated web pages, new reports and webinars to support you. In addition to the link included above, here are a few more:
- Alternative Fuels Insight
- Installation of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (SOx Scrubbers) Some Practical Recommendations
And if it is training you are looking for then Maritime Academy has also recently developed the following new courses providing you with more opportunities to get deeper into some of these subjects and make the right decisions in due time for your vessels:
- SOx Scrubber Retrofits (1 day)
- LNG as Ship Fuel (1 day)
- Low Sulphur Fuel – Compliance with 2020 Requirements (1 day)
Source: DNV GL