As part of this year's London International Shipping Week, S&P Global Platts hosted a morning of presentations and a panel discussion. With the International Maritime Organization's 2020 sulfur cap continuing to dominate market attention, our Forum focused on its consequences for both the shipping sector and commodity markets.
Platts editors and analysts shared their views on how best to deal with the sulfur cap, how producers and refiners are preparing for the cap, and how best to defend your business against bunker price credit risk. The panel discussion considered the broader influence that the IMO's cap will have on world trade, with an interactive Q&A from attending delegates.
We also interviewed a handful of participating executives from some key bunkering and shipping companies: we wondered how the rapid market and regulatory changes will affect their businesses. There were contradictory views on fateful issues as well as some other observations:
- Yes, physical bunker suppliers are cutting out middlemen such as traders; no, middlemen are a vital cog in the supply equation and aren't going anywhere.
- Yes, some buyers are paying slowly; no, we've shed the bad apples and with them payment problems.
- Various types of shipping operators are still mulling different fueling solutions they will decide on a firm course soon enough.
- The tanker sector continues to suffer from overcapacity, but the new shale-driven petroleum export business out of the US Gulf is a game changer.
- Peering farther out there were known unknowns: what does a Europe moving forcefully beyond gasoline and into a post petroleum future mean for shipping and bunkering?