Shipping companies will choose marine gas oil
A recent North European conducted survey of some of the biggest shipping companies in Europe shows that they will choose the low-sulfur marine gas oil when the new emission regulations comes into force next year.
Some of Europe's large shipping owners without doubts will choose to use the more expensive, low-sulfur marine gas oil once the environmental regulations aimed at reducing the sulfur content in ship fuel comes into effect on January 1st 2015 in the European SECA zone. The alternatives to switching to marine gas oil with a lower sulfur content include continuing to use the traditional high sulfur fuel and cleaning it with scrubber (exhaust cleaning system), or switching to natural gas (LNG).
While a big number of shipping companies have announced intentions of switching to natural gas on the long term (there is no doubt: it will come), the survey shows that a majority of the carriers choose marine gas oil as the immediate solution, although it costs much more than fuel with the current sulfur content.
But there are, as usual, exceptions: Shipping and logistics company DFDS - whose entire current business area is located within the SECA zone – decided to go to make a significant investment in scrubbers. A total of 12 of the carrier's ships will have scrubbers installed by the end of 2014, and even more of the company's ships will have similar equipment installed in 2015. On the other hand, Finnlines has announced that the company is waiting to see how things develop, intending to use whatever fuel is available. In a letter to the shipping company's collaborators and customers, from November 8th 2013, Finnlines' new CEO Emanuele Grimaldi points out that the best solution in terms of the 2015 fuel regulations remains an open question. "Our strategy - for the time being – is to study, test and wait. As technology advances, it will become easier to judge which solutions are the most adequate to our ships and services. We could even opt for changing nothing, as there are already contacts with various fuel producers for purchasing 0.1 percent sulfur products at competitive prices," said Emanuele Grimaldi.
And among feeder operators - who typically charter their tonnage - marine gas oil or other new low-sulfur fuel types seem to be the only realistic solution - at least on the short term - according to the survey. Very few feeder owners are said to plan scrubber installations, just as switching to natural gas as fuel for feeder ships looks like an unrealistic scenario in the industry.
Image: PPM News Service Archive