A Smooth Transition to IMO 2020?– Analysis from Seatrade Maritime News

Transitioning to 2020Transitioning to IMO 2020 has not been completely smooth, “but the widescale dislocation of the shipping markets has  fortunately not materialized, however, there has certainly been an impact in the industry, and some of the possible problems could take a while to materialize,” states Marcus Hand in his Seatrade Maritime News analysis of the event we’ve all been bracing for.

Some highlights below. Click here for the full article. 

‘At times in the year running up to the start of the IMO 2020 global 0.5% sulphur cap on marine fuel it felt like a constant refrain of “the sky is falling, the sky is falling’ from the shipping industry.”


“Owners with scrubbers cleaning up: The multi-million dollar question for owners opting to install exhaust gas cleaning systems, or scrubbers, was would the fuel price spread justify the investment with a short pay back period. As of 10 January the answer is a resounding “yes” with the soaring VLSFO price noted in the previous paragraphs and the HFO price actually falling resulting a spread in the $300 pmt plus range currently”.

He warns, however, that scrubber owners face some challenges of their own. “For those who joined the rush to install exhaust gas cleaning systems in the 12 – 18 months it’s turned out the process is more complicated than anticipated with widespread delays at yards taking ships out of service for significantly longer than expected with installations reported to take 45 – 60 days, rather than the advertised 30-day range, equating to longer periods of lost earnings. And whether owners will experience operational and corrosion issues will take a longer time to become clear.”

Regarding fuel unavailability:  “However, by and large it would seem compliant fuels are available. One of those who had flagged such concerns over the last year – International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) chairman Esben Poulsson – told CNBC on 1 January, ‘Availability was for a long time a concern, but from everything we are hearing availability is there.'”

On fuel contamination and incompatibility: “Just 10 days into IMO 2020 is probably too early for evidence of widescale problems, if there are any, to have emerged. For example the fuel contamination that started in the Gulf of Mexico in 2018 took several weeks to emerge as a pattern of issues flagged up by fuel testers and months for the problem to spread globally.”

Full article here.