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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) expects that the new 0.50% global sulphur cap will mean a 77% drop in overall SOx emissions from ships and the big shipping associations are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the industry’s ability to cope with the regulations, according to a statement issued yesterday by BIMCO.

In a report summarising the outcome of a Chairpersons of the Round Table of international shipping associations (RT) meeting in Rome in February, BIMCO said: ‘Two months after the introduction of the sulphur cap for fuel used by ships, BIMCO, INTERCARGO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and INTERTANKO are all cautiously optimistic about the ability of shipowners to adapt to the new regulations.

‘While the industry has barely started its 2020 journey and still needs to build experience with the new fuels, the requirement for ships to use low sulphur fuel has been a change of a magnitude never before attempted on a global scale. Shipowners are playing their part, with the new rules causing genuine concerns over the ability for ships to find compatible fuels. Owners have been working tirelessly to ensure plans are in place to source Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) where needed and many ships have had to change bunkering ports.’

Dimitris Fafalios, Chairperson of INTERCARGO, commented: ‘We cannot forget that we are reliant on cooperation from across the entire supply chain. This includes fuel suppliers to standardise fuel blends, Flag States to report issues to the IMO as appropriate and for Coastal States to properly train their Port State Control (PSC) personnel.

‘Shipowners have been working tireless to comply with the challenging regulation, and we thank them for their commendable efforts. We believe this major change was both timely and needed, however, this does not mean it is without inherent risks. We are determined to address the environmental impacts of shipping so that we can continue to drive global trade sustainably.’

The BIMCO report added: ‘Another point made was that despite announcements regarding how few FONARs had been issued by Flag States, this did not represent a true measure of the lack of worldwide VLSFO availability since it did not reflect situations where owners had to wait or divert to find fuel. It also failed to reflect the extreme efforts shipowners were making to plan and find compliant fuels at their intended trading ports.’

The four shipping associations also re-affirmed their support for the proposed $5 billion research & development fund for zero-emission shipping that will be supported by a $2 levy on every tonne of ships’ fuel purchased.

Sadan Kaptanoglu, President & Chairperson of the Board of BIMCO commented: 'Industry-wide cooperation is absolutely essential if we are to meet the ambitious targets set by the IMO to halve CO2 emissions by 2050. We welcome the decision of our joint Membership to support our proposal to create a $5bn R&D fund for zero-emission shipping. We hope the IMO recognises the level of support for our proposal.'




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