Future fuel bottleneck requires industry action


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15 Nov 2010

imo4.jpgThe shipping industry can meet the strict sulphur emission reductions the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has planned for 2015 and 2020, Lindegaard said in his keynote speech at the Singapore International

Bunkering Conference (SIBCON). But if the industry doesn’t immediately
begin researching the safest, most sensible ways to do that, he said,
it will be costly for everyone.

Short on time and alternatives

As the rules are now, if the shipping industry is to comply with the
2015 sulphur reductions required by IMO first in the English Channel,
Baltic and North Seas as well as a 200 Nautical Mile zone around the
USA and Canada, the only available fuel alternative to traditional
bunker fuel will be what’s called “marine gas oil.”

The effect on shipping companies from this could be severe. The current
annual global supply of marine gas oil is about 15 million tons. As a
result of the IMO rule, the demand will jump to 45 – 60 million tons in
2015, according to Lindegaard. As the largest fuel buyer in the world,
Maersk estimates this will increase its operational cast by $300
million a year.

Challenging tradition, eye on safety

One obvious alternative is to consider using “inland gas oil,” which is
more widely available than marine gas oil. However, under current IMO
regulations regarding fuel flashpoint, inland gas oil is not eligible
for use at sea.

“The IMO rules regarding flashpoint were created in 1974. The
technology and knowledge of safe fuel handling has come a long way
since that time,” says Lindegaard.

Indeed, there is some indication the limitation is being tested
already. “Increasingly we see marine fuel supplies with flashpoints
closer to the 60 degree marine limit, suggesting inland gas oil is
occasionally used already,” says Jørn Kahle, senior general manager of
Maersk Maritime Technology.

Since raising the issue at SIBCON, Lindegaard says oil major, Shell,
has expressed support for researching flashpoint limits and the
International Organisation for Standardization (ISO), the world’s
largest developer and publisher of international standards, has put
flashpoint on the discussion agenda for its marine fuel meeting later
this month.

Environmental impact too important

Environmental performance is a top priority for Maersk. Maersk Line’s
ambition is to drive down its own sulphur emissions and the industry’s
to zero, so the IMO rules are a welcome push.

“These regulations are important because they will help the industry
reduce its environmental impact. And we should assume they will take
effect,” says Lindegaard. “Now we just have to start discussing the
most sensible way to meet them.”

Source: A.P. Moller - Maersk Group

Sources:  www.Shipid.com

Maersk Line is one of the leading liner shipping companies in the world, serving customers all over the globe.

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