In the nineteen-nineties Sulphur in diesel for cars steadily lowered and correspondingly, not surprisingly, Sulphur in residual fuels for ships increased by a few percent… A green hoax that had a social license by unawareness.
So welcome IMO 2020, enforcing a global Sulphur cap in all ship fuels. Long overdue and a necessary evil to the maritime industry. The creed: what does not kill you makes you stronger. Bite the bullet and emerge stronger and greener.
“As a tell-tale and guiding-light, the ozone layer seems to be recovering. Our change already led to improvements. So not all is lost! We can make a difference, and by making that difference we push innovation and progress forward. By not forcing change we will not better the world. By forcing change we will better the world.”
By 2020, less than a few thousand vessels (estimates 2000-4000 ships) will be installed with scrubbers. Open loop scrubbers that wash out Sulphur into the sea seem morally questionable. Closed loop scrubbers that store Sulphur on board seem operationally challenging, where do you store 100mt Sulphur residue? How do you land it ashore?
With the vast majority of vessels continuing without scrubbers the demand for low Sulphur fuel will be quite huge. Applying the laws of demand&supply, be assured that suppliers will create enough inflow of low Sulphur fuels.
Yes, price shifts will occur and the price delta between the fuel alternatives will be a new pricing factor in sea transport. An interesting change with shifts and new dynamisms, but ships will continue trading … as always, just with Sulphur finally and globally capped.