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IMO 2020

Höegh Autoliners will comply with the regulations & not use scrubbers


Höegh Autoliners stands firm on its decision not to implement scrubbers but comply with the IMO 2020 regulations by using Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil or Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil. In an official release, CEO, Mr Ivar Myklebust, gives more background to the decision.


"We have ordered zero scrubbers and will order no more," says Mr Myklebust. "There are many reasons to why we have decided against scrubbers."


Moving the problem from air to sea


"First of all, the reasoning behind the IMO 2020 regulation is to reduce emissions from the global trading fleet. I am not so sure scrubbers will support that mission," he says.


A scrubber works as a cleaning entity on board; it cleans the exhaust from particulates before the exhaust is emitted to the air. However, the residual does not go away, and the scrubber systems wash this in to the sea.


"Surely, scrubbers will reduce emissions to air, but it appears as it will just move the emissions to the sea instead," Mr Myklebust says.


Scrubbers increase the fuel usage


He continues: "Implementing a scrubber can actually end up increasing the Co2 footprint of a vessel. The scrubber adds weight to the vessel and requires tens of thousands of tons of water to wash through the systems each day. This requires energy and energy comes from burning more fuel, in this case High Sulphur Fuel."


Port areas are banning scrubbers


Another reason for deciding against scrubbers is that ports have already started to ban open loop scrubber. Shanghai wider port area and Singapore are two ports that have implemented the ban and it is quite likely that Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) will follow. The Port of Fujairah is furthermore forbidding the discharge of waste water with sulphur.


"If this is a trend, it is impossible to say, but it looks like more ports will follow," he says. "Considering that each of Höegh Autoliners’ vessels spend 60-70 days in ports annually, often in areas where scrubbers are banned, it makes little sense for us to invest in scrubbers."


Vessel design


"Structurally, Pure Car and Truck Carriers are also not ideal for scrubbers. Fourteen decks high, it is challenging to put in a scrubber that should go from the engine room up through the whole vessel to the chimney," he says.


Inefficient industry model


Then there is the point of doing what you do best. Refineries are set to refine oil at large scale and do it efficiently. All logic says that having 70,000 mini-refineries sailing around the globe is not the most efficient way of dealing with the new give.


"Why focus on using a product that will be banned?" he questions, aiming at the High Sulphur Fuel that the scrubber advocates will continue using. "I want to hear from the refineries how they will secure us with sufficient supply of a product that is legal, namely, the Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil and Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil."


Bunker Adjustment Factor


No matter how you do it, transporting cargo by sea will be more expensive from January 1, 2020. Those that invest in scrubbers will need their investments to be paid off and for those using Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil or Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil, the fuel will be considerably more expensive.


"With shipping rates already down at unsustainable levels in the RoRo industry, this is not a cost that can be carried by the shipping lines," according to Mr Myklebust. "In our industry, the standard is to share the risk and return of bunker price shifts with the customers, through a Bunker Adjustment Factor in the contracts. Focus is now on assuring that all our contracts reflect the new standard bunker point, as we approach end of 2019."


Source : Exim News Service - Oslo, April 14


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