Reducing Air Pollution caused by Ocean Vessels IMO 2020

Article by Rhenus Logistics Ltd.

From 1st January 2020 changes to the regulation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) come into effect. The new regulations will be introduced to reduce air pollution from ships.  Currently ships can use fuel with up to 3.5% sulphur content (outside Emission Control Areas) but the new global sulphur cap will be reduced to 0.5% by using low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO). This regulation has been developed and adopted by the International Maritime Organisation, which is a specialized agency under the United Nations (UN). It will reduce sulphur pollution from shipping by more than 80% therefore having a significant positive impact on the environment and human health. The cost of compliance with the new regulation will also be significant since the cost difference between LSFO and IFO 380 (actually most commonly used) is up to USD $250 per tonne resulting in an extra few billion dollars annually to carriers. It is expected that the volatility of fuel costs for shipping will increase as the regulation to use LSFO comes into effect.

Ships must be fitted with “scrubbers” or utilise low sulphur fuel.  There may be some short-term service disruptions as vessels are temporarily taken out of commission to install scrubbers.  It is assumed the Shipping Lines will pass on the costs of installing scrubbers and/or using LSFO

This is a positive step for the environment but with a potential added cost to us all in the supply chain.

If you have any questions regarding the above please contact Rhenus Dublin:

Richard Timmons, Operations Manager, Oceanfreight / phone +353 (0)1 829 8862 (direct)


Lynda Barry, Customer Services Manager / phone +353 (0)1 429 2363 (direct)