French president lends support for mandatory slow steaming
FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has called for mandatory slow steaming and, last week, one of his ministers urged the European Union to tax marine fuel oil in a push to reduce shipping's carbon footprint
FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has called for mandatory slow steaming and, last week, one of his ministers urged the European Union to tax marine fuel oil in a push to reduce shipping's carbon footprint.
However, new research from Alphaliner claims some containerships could soon increase their travelling speeds as operators seek marginal gains on vessel speeds through fuel pricing plays, reported New York's FreightWaves.
The container shipping consultant believes the fitting of scrubbers on containerships to lower sulphur emissions and avoid using the low sulphur fuel that becomes mandatory when the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduces its rule capping sulphur content at 0.5 per cent from January 1 could encourage some ocean liners to offer faster services.
'Carriers that deploy scrubber-fitted ships could take advantage of cheaper bunker prices in 2020 and speed up services,' Alphaliner said in its latest report.
The price of the heavy fuel oil currently in wide use in shipping is expected to be heavily discounted from the end of this year because ships that are not fitted with scrubbers - the vast majority - have to switch to the more expensive very-low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) that complies with IMO 2020 regulations.
With heavy fuel oil currently available in forward markets at prices of less than US$300 per tonne - $200 per tonne lower than current prices for VLSFO - Alphaliner believes container lines with scrubber-fitted vessels could take advantage of the bunker price differential.
The number of containerships fitted with scrubbers reached 142 units with a total capacity of 1.14 million TEU on October 15.
'By January 2020, the headcount of scrubber-fitted containerships is expected to reach more than 260 vessels for a total capacity of over 2.30 million TEU,' said the analyst. 'This number represents some 10 per cent of the global containership fleet in capacity terms and it will continue to rise in 2020.'
Alphaliner expects overall capacity of the 'scrubber-fitted world fleet' to stand at five million TEU by the end of 2020, creating more opportunities for container shipping lines to speed up services, assuming that bunker price differentials still offer an advantage to those with scrubber-fitted fleets.