If the reports in one of the prestigious maritime journals is to be believed (and we do!) then we are starting to learn when and where the new IMO 2020 compliants fuels will be available and most importantly, where they will be bunkered. According to one magazine: “ExxonMobil announced its initial distribution plans for marine fuel that will meet the low-sulphur targets coming in less than two years. The oil major says it will have fuel that will meet the International Maritime Organisation’s 0.5% sulfur cap in ports in Northwest Europe, the Mediterranean and Singapore.”
This past week or so has been very busy for the IMO and its numerous committees and followers: only now has the realisation reached some in the shipping world that in order to actually ferry the fuels to ships fitted with scrubbers, then there needed to be a serious amendment to the regulations to ensure they were not breaking their own rules! Lots of head-scratching and shaking of heads in some circles but it does show how difficult the waters are in this battle to eradicate the pollution so often associated with the heavy fuel oil used in the shipping world.
The lack of clarity we complained about in a couple of our last postings concerned the locations that new fuels (whatever blends they may be) would be available from are not yet eradicated. For a global industry that virtually keeps the world’s economy moving and ticking, it is discouraging that it has taken so long to sort these two issues out. Maybe thanks to the ExxonMobil news we are now well on the way to have our fears allayed.