Please find all the stories from last week  concerning Sulphur 2020

News roundup – for week commencing 11 November 2019

Bunkerspot – (subscription)

Chinese energy giant Sinopec is reportedly planning to build a fleet of 100 barges over the next three years as part of its mission to become a major regional supplier of the IMO 2020-compliant very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).  (subscription)


The Portuguese refiner will begin domestic deliveries of its proprietary 0.50% sulphur fuel from 15 November.


The introduction of the 0.50% global sulphur cap will increase the need for additional IMO 2020-compliant fuel and blend component tank storage, says René Loozen, Consultancy Director at Insights Global.


The company has been supplying customers with VLSFO in Europe, the Americas and Asia since July and has also bolstered its tanker fleet and global storage capacity in preparation for the impending introduction of the 0.50% global sulphur cap.


Lloyd’s List (subscription)

Singapore boosts IMO 2020 bunker buffer

Singapore has VLSFO and marine gasoil amounting to more than a tenth of the port nation’s peak bunker sales volume stored in onshore tanks and VLCCs, according to a Wood Mackenzie estimate. Some of this volume, however, will be used to clean onshore storage tanks and fuel tanks on board ships About 40% of the inventory of very-low sulphur fuel oil and marine gasoil in and around Singapore is stored in very large crude carriers, one refinery analyst said.

Bunkerworld (free subscription)

Monitoring of IMO 2020 compliant fuels vital as blending quickens: LuminUltra “Less sulfur means more bugs,” Taylor said.


Splash 24/7
Sinopec is pushing ahead with plans to become a dominant supplier of very low sulphur fuel oil with Reuters reporting the Chinese energy giant is about to execute plans to order 50 bunker barges for delivery over the next three years as well as chartering in an additional 50 barges.

Belgian tanker giant Euronav has signed a service agreement making Malaysia’s Linggi Port its supply base providing low sulphur fuel and other services for ships heading through Asia.


Hong Kong Shipping Gazette two article in full below

Greek shipping minister raises concerns about meeting IMO 2020 sulphur rule

WITH the January implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s low sulphur mandate rapidly approaching, Greece’s Shipping Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis has voiced long-standing industry concerns regarding safety, fuel quality and compliance issues.

Speaking at the World Shipping Summit in Shanghai, Mr Plakiotakis called on assembled dignitaries to find practical solutions to compliance issues, with a view to “ensuring fair competition and a level playing field for global shipping”.

Speaking to London’s Lloyd’s List on the sidelines of the conference, Mr Plakiotakis admitted that his comments were a deliberate attempt to garner broader backing for a more pragmatic approach at the International Maritime Organization, where Greece has often been an isolated critic of the sulphur rules.

“I have expressed my worries directly to the IMO Secretary General,” he said. “The gas question, low sulphur availability – but I’ve had no real answers yet and there isn’t a plan B right now if something goes wrong.”

While the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) has been a vocal critic of the sulphur rules – and has received backing relating to several key issues from other industry bodies, including Intercargo – Mr Plakiotakis’ comments mark a significant escalation from the lobby realm to ministerial level.

“We need to ensure global availability of compliant fuels and resolve all issues related to compliance, quality and safety requirements to alleviate the concerns of the international maritime community,” Mr Plakiotakis told the Shanghai audience.

“From our side, we are moving towards ensuring – through legislation – the full compliance of the bunker industry to the new requirements,” he said.

Agreement with the Greek arguments is often privately expressed in the corridors of the IMO on Victoria Embankment in London and at forums elsewhere, but this has not always been reflected in the public position taken by officials from countries and organisations.

Speaking to Lloyd’s List in an interview published last month, UGS president Theodore Veniamis said: “Some countries need to raise their voices now, at the very next opportunity. We need to wake up some of our colleagues and some other states before it is too late. The way we are headed, they are going to make the biggest mistake of their lives.”

While Mr Plakiotakis’ address may win him some industry support, Greece realistically has few options left to influence any last-minute changes to the 2020 sulphur rules at the IMO. While rumours have circulated that Greece hasn’t entirely given up on a last-ditch “pragmatic” softening of the introduction of the sulphur cap, there is no forum left in the IMO calendar to address such issues before implementation of the rule on January 1.

Container freight rates rise in the run up to new IMO 2020 low sulphur fuel rule

CONTAINER spot freight rates on mainline Asia-Europe and trans-Pacific services surged by 12-30 per cent at the end of October after shipping lines introduced general rate increases (GRIs) on November 1.

Shippers should brace themselves for more hikes in the coming weeks, warned London-based maritime research consultancy Drewry.

The Freightos Baltic China/East Asia to North America west coast 40-foot container index was up 9.5 per cent week on week to reach US$1,529 per (FEU) on November 10, reported American Shipper.

And, while freight rates from China/East Asia to the North America east coast made only a marginal gain over the week, the Freightos Baltic China/East Asia to North Europe 40-foot container index rose by 4.71 per cent week on week to $1,467 per FEU on November 10.

Likewise, Drewry’s World Container Index – a composite of eight major east-west trades – has risen $210 in the last two weeks, helping carriers recoup losses endured over the previous two months.

Drewry predicts that freight rates will rise further, arguing that capacity reductions by carriers and higher bunker surcharges as IMO 2020 low sulphur fuels are phased in will continue to drive rate inflation on the key Asia-Europe and trans-Pacific trades.

“Volumes were moribund in the third quarter peak season and judging by the continued heavy use of void sailings by carriers, that situation hasn’t changed dramatically,” Drewry was cited as saying. “Instead, it is changes on the supply side that are driving the upward momentum.”

The idle global containership fleet swelled to one million TEU, equivalent to 4.5 per cent of the total cellular fleet, as of the first week of November.

“That represents an extra 400,000 TEU added to the inactive fleet in one month, which can be attributed to more ships being sent to dry-dock for exhaust scrubbers in readiness for the new IMO 2020 low sulphur fuel regulations,” said Drewry.

The maritime consultancy believes that demand is now strong enough to ensure that capacity cuts translate into “more positive utilisation and freight rates.”

Adding to the inflationary momentum is the fact that ocean liners are beginning to transition to higher new bunker surcharges related to IMO 2020.

“This process is expected to ramp up for December and should contribute to a strong end to the year for carriers,” noted Drewry.

“While carriers will welcome the upturn in prices, they will also be mindful that it is slightly illusionary as it required a substantial – and temporary – removal of tonnage and a costly new fuel regulation to achieve,” concluded Drewry.

“Freight rates will continue to rise on account of higher bunker surcharges, but for carriers the true measure of success will be whether or not they rise sufficiently to cover the additional costs.”