Work to 2020 sulphur deadline, ICS urges

The shipping and bunker refining industries should not rely on a postponement to the IMO’s global 0.5% cap on sulphur in fuel, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has said.

Dependent on the results of a fuel availability study to be completed in 2018, IMO could push back implementation of the cap from 2020 to 2025. But ICS said its members will work with bunker refiners to ensure adequate supply of compliant fuel by the earliest introduction date.

Masamichi Morooka, chairman, ICS said: “While postponement of the sulphur global cap until 2025 is still a possibility, the shipping and oil refining industries should not assume that this will happen simply because they are unprepared.

“ICS has concluded that the global cap is very likely to be implemented in 2020, almost regardless of the effect that any lack of availability of compliant fuel may have on the cost of moving world trade by sea.”

However ICS said that if IMO’s study identifies supply problems only by the end of 2018, it will be too late for governments to take action. The body noted that IMO had declined to bring forward the study despite ICS requests.
ICS anticipates that the cap will increase the cost of marine fuel to the global shipping industry by up to US$50 billion.

Meanwhile ICS expressed “deep concern” at the European Union’s decision to adopt the Regulation on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of ship emissions, in advance of IMO finalising negotiations on a global system for collecting CO2 emissions data.

Morooka added: “There is a real danger the EU initiative will be seen as an attempt to present [non-EU states involved in the IMO negotiations] with a fait accompli which includes controversial elements, such as the publication of individual ship efficiency data.”

ICS said that EU member states will need to confirm how the new regulation can be made compatible with any agreed global application. The chamber expressed concerned that the EU’s motive may be to establish a “mandatory ship efficiency indexing system that will be used to penalise ships financially, in a manner that could lead to a serious market distortion throughout the global shipping industry”.

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