Only 2% of global fleet to adopt scrubbers to meet sulphur cap requirements, UBS report reveals.

Switching to compliant fuel overwhelmingly outweighs installing scrubbers when it comes to meeting the IMO’s 2020 regulations, says a top investment bank.

A report by UBS found that only 2% of the global fleet would adopt scrubbers by 2020.

According to its survey of shipping executives, 68% of correspondents preferred adopting low-sulphur fuel to meet IMO’s cap on sulphur emissions, whereas only 21% chose installing scrubbers.

A 9% minority opted to replace outdated vessels with new ships, and an even lower 6% chose LNG fuel.

The survey also suggests only 64% of the world’s shipping fleet will meet ballast water and sulphur cap rules by 2020.

The key hindrances to full compliance are uncertainties in regulatory specifications and effective technologies, the report said.

The IMO regulation change caps sulphur emissions at 0.5% from 3.5% from January 2020, and directs a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025.

Installing scrubbers is not a straight solution for meeting the sulphur and CO2 cap, the report suggested.

Problems arise, as some measures that meet one requirement do not meet the other, the report said.

It gave the example of ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO) or low-sulphur marine gas oil (LSMGO) and scrubbers, which meets the sulphur cap rule but does not help lower CO2 emissions.

Adopting scrubbers can actually lead to higher CO2 emissions, the report said, and suggests adopting “ULSFO/LSMGO and scrubber may be a stop gap measure until a more dominant technology is available.”

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