The International Maritime Organization has mandated bunker sulfur limits to drop to 0.5% sulfur on January 1, 2020, from 3.5% sulfur currently. Regardless of the compliance option shipowners choose, the global sulfur mandate will increase freight cost tremendously.
Noteworthy is a huge uptick in scrubber orders, the exhaust gas cleaning systems that will allow shipowners to continue using 3.5% sulfur bunkers, bringing emissions in line with the tough 0.5% sulfur limit.
Still, the shipping world will be anything but business as usual in preparation for January 2020 and beyond. Latest reports that the White House seeks to reduce the impact of an abrupt and steep bunker cost increase are prone to cause concern among owners of scrubberized tonnage.
Related story: IMO rejects 'experience building phase' for 2020 sulfur cap