Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Specialist Heavy Lift and Project Shipping Line Speaks Up on Sulphur

Emission Control Areas Environmentally Welcome - But at a Cost
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – WORLDWIDE – Rickmers-Linie, whose near hundred strong managed fleet specialises in heavy lift, break bulk and project cargoes, has spoken out in favour of the introduction of stricter sulphur regulations but expects that they will inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of marine fuels and is planning to pass on the extra costs. The new regulations come into effect on 1 January 2015 in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in the US and Canada as well as the North Sea, English Channel and the Baltic Sea.

The maximum content of sulphur allowed in marine fuels used in the ECAs will be 0.1%, compared to 1% today. Outside the ECAs, sulphur content in marine fuels will need to be reduced from the current 3.5% to 0.5% by the year 2020. As the result of a review by the IMO in 2018, this deadline might however still be postponed to 2025. Ulrich Ulrichs, Chief Executive Officer of Rickmers-Linie, comments:

“Rickmers-Linie fully supports the introduction of the new regulations. Using these fuels during navigation in the ECAs, the content of sulphur and hazardous sulphur dioxides in the exhausts of our vessels will be reduced considerably. While shipping is already the most environmentally friendly mode of transport, the new regulations help to further reduce the impact on the environment and our health. But low sulphur fuels are more expensive and growing demand is widely expected to further increase the costs of these fuels.

“The new regulations will inevitably mean an increase in bunker costs. So we are in the process of implementing a Low Sulphur Fuel Surcharge for quotations valid for shipments arriving to or departing from an ECA on or after 1 January 2015.”

Mr Ulrichs stresses that the effectiveness of the new regulations is tied to powerful enforcement to ensure an industry level playing field and to prevent a weakening of the positive effect on the environment, a view held widely across the maritime community, the new regulations will require strict monitoring with severe penalties for transgressors. We have seen in the past that many smaller shipping outfits will cut corners to the detriment of the environment if not policed effectively.