The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) fears ‘chaos and confusion’ unless the International Maritime Organization (IMO) resolves issues concerning the implementation of the 0.5 percent sulphur in marine fuel cap.
Such chaos, according to the ICS, would have serious consequences for the movement of the world’s energy, raw materials and manufactured products. The 0.5 percent sulphur cap is scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2020.
Speaking at the ICS annual general meeting in Hong Kong, ICS chairman Esben Poulsson said: “The shipping industry fully supports the IMO global sulphur cap and the positive environmental benefits it will bring, and is ready to accept the significant increase in fuel costs that will result.
“But unless a number of serious issues are satisfactorily addressed by governments within the next few months, the smooth flow of maritime trade could be dangerously impeded. It is still far from certain that sufficient quantities of compliant fuels will be available in every port worldwide by January 1, 2020. And in the absence of global standards for many of the new blended fuels that oil refiners have promised, there are some potentially serious safety issues due to the use of incompatible bunkers.”
Poulsson warned that the industry could be faced with “an unholy mess” with ships and cargoes being stuck in ports, unless there is clarity over what types of fuel will be available and at what price, specification and quantity.
The ICS has emphasised that governments will need to make significant progress on these issues at a critical IMO meeting in July about the impending global sulphur cap.