Sulphur 2020:  all you need to know
Sustainability & Safety

Sulphur 2020: all you need to know

On 1 January 2020, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will implement the new fuel sulphur regulation. Sulphur 2020 is arguably the most impactful environmental regulation to date in ocean transportation and has far-reaching technical, commercial and operational consequences. It’s widely acknowledged that the regulations have significant consequences for both ship owners and their customers.

What exactly does the new sulphur regulation entail?

In 2020 a new regulation for a 0.50% global sulphur cap for marine fuels will be in force. Under the new global cap, all ships will have to use fuel on board with a sulphur content of no more than 0.50% against the current limit of 3.50% in an effort to reduce the amount of sulphur oxide. The interpretation of “fuel oil used on board” includes fuel used in main and auxiliary engines and boilers. The Emission Control Areas (ECAs) will remain at the 2015 standard of 0.10% content.

“We will replace 70.000 mts HFO 3.5% by VLSFO 0.5% next year due this regulation”

Availability of the VLSFO

Majority of shipowners will use VLSFO to meet the IMO regulation as from 1st January 2020. In almost all ports, where currently HFO is supplied, the VLSFO 0.5% will be available. Suppliers are getting now ready to have the product in stock.

Change-over to VLSFO

As from 1st November Wagenborg started to order VLSFO 0.5% in order to prepare our vessels to changeover from HFO 3.5% to the new compliant fuel.


“We will replace 70.000 mts HFO 3.5% by VLSFO 0.5% next year due this regulation”

Pricing of the VLSFO

Bunker prices remain volatile due to various factors. The recent attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure caused oil price spikes, but it didn’t take very long for prices to fall back again substantially. Worries about economic growth seem to have taken over from geopolitical scares again. In the bunker market we see price differences between the products as suppliers are getting ready for the 2020 regulation. Especially pricing and availability of HFO/VLSFO is changing day-by-day.

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