IMO 0.5% Global Sulfur Cap on Marine Fuel to Take Effect in 2020


In a move that could help boost methanol’s uptake as a marine fuel, the International Maritime Organization this week rejected attempts to delay implementation of a 0.5% global sulfur cap on marine fuel to 2025, moving ahead with the introduction of the cap in 2020.

It is likely that the 2020 deadline will push prices of fuel oil up as refineries struggle to produce the required volumes of low-sulfur fuel oil.

As MI CEO Greg Dolan noted, “For shippers, the current narrative that their only options are to pay for more expensive low-sulfur Marine Gas Oil after 2020 or continue to use Heavy Fuel Oil but add expensive scrubbers to achieve “on-board” compliance offers a false dichotomy. ¬†There is a third option and this is to follow the examples of Stena Lines and Waterfront Shipping and use a dual-fuel approach with diesel and clean burning methanol fuel.”

The International Bunker Industry Assocation (IBIA) said that while the IMO reached the decision to implement the 2020 date by consensus, a significant number of countries did want to delay implementation to until 2025 over doubts about sufficient fuel oil availability by 2020.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO), welcomed the move, noting that by setting 2020 as the deadline for the global 0.5% sulphur cap, the IMO timing is being aligned with the EU’s timing as foreseen in the current EU Sulphur Directive. ¬†ESPO went on to note that European Ports are convinced of the environmental and public health benefits of the move.

Methanol, which contains no sulfur and has no carbon-to-carbon bonds that create soot, stands poised to increase its reach as an environmentally friendly alternative marine fuel. More information is available HERE.


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