Not only remains uncertainty around the regulatory implementation of the global sulphur cap but also concerns regarding the low sulphur fuel availability in 2020 as highlighted during the Greener Shipping Summit 2017 in Athens, Greece. Kostas Vlachos, COO of Spiros Latsis-backed Consolidated Marine Management said that the changeover cannot occur “overnight” without serious economic consequences. “All stakeholders, regulators, refineries, owners, associations, makers and states, have to play a very important and critical role for the effective, efficient and soft implementation.”
The surest way to minimise exposure to potential dangers is dealing with a strong counterparty. Despite recent underlining of the importance of seeking out and working alongside strong partners in the bunker sector, the risk management advice pertains across the wider industry.
Recent events have shown that ship owners and suppliers still need bunker traders. As in any commercial transaction, there are key criteria to be considered when selecting a trader counterparty. There are hundreds of traders in the global bunker market but few will meet the risk management criteria to be considered a strong counterparty.
In the opinion of trading house Gunvor a wide price gap between high sulphur and low sulphur bunker fuel will result from the new regulations for sulphur in 2020. As Torbjorn Tornqvist, oil trader’s CEO, mentioned recently that ship owners would naturally tend to opt for distillate fuel with a consequent fall in aggregate demand for high sulphur fuel oil in 2020.
A sense of anxiety is gripping the shipping industry as it looks toward the imposition of more stringent sulfur restrictions on marine fuel on January 1, 2020. But why?
Many shipowners have yet to make up their minds on what fuel to use: will they pay more for diesel fuel? Burn hi-sulfur fuel and invest in expensive scrubbers? How about LNG? Ultimately it will be a mix of approaches, but with most players likely to choose diesel in the short run. As a result, many foresee a spike in diesel prices as the IMO’s 2020 deadline nears.
On October 27 the International Maritime Organization announced a sharply lower sulfur cap on shipping fuel globally from 2020. But what are the implications for shipping lines, refineries and crude producers? Ned Molloy, managing editor for European fuel oil, reports.