IMO 2020: the latest developments and effects for maritime industry

New legislation on low sulphur fuels has officially entered into force

With 1 January 2020, the new regulation on the maximum limit of sulphur used in marine fuels is effective and introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) with the aim of reducing emissions from merchant ships engaged on international routes. The new regulation lowers the sulphur limit to 0.5%, compared to the previous ceiling of 3.5%. The objective of the IMO measure is to reduce sulphur oxide gas emissions in order to protect public health and the environment by reducing air pollution. For the future, IMO has estimated a reduction in sulphur emissions from ships of 77% with a saving of 8.5 million tonnes of SOx per year.

The vessel operators have faced major investments and implemented several solutions in order to comply with the legislation introduced. The main options include the installation of scrubbers, a technology that removes pollutants from ships' exhaust gases, the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and low sulphur fuel (VLSF) or Marine Gas Oil (MGO) ships that meet the new standards. Each country is responsible for enforcing the new regulations and setting penalties for non-compliance.

"The entry into force of the maximum sulphur limit worldwide represents an important step for our sector," says Silvano Cavallotto - COO of Ventana Serra. "Respect for the ecosystem and environmental protection are important guidelines in the continuation of our corporate mission. This is an important new development for us and for all our customers from which we expect environmental but also operational effects in terms of tariff adjustments and beyond."

Therefore, the maritime transport sector is facing an uncertain future. It is expected that the IMO 2020 Regulation will have a significant effect on global oil prices which will add to the normal volatility of already existing global prices.

Ventana Serra, as a freight forwarder, will continue to offer the best service at competitive prices, with maximum transparency and in line with the evolution of the sector. Our experts will continue to update the information we have and take action to continue to better support our clients' business.