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Horizon wins waiver from low sulphur rule until 2017 to install scrubber

HORIZON Lines, once America's biggest shipping line, has announced it has received an exemption from the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA) fuel sulphur content rules now that its Alaska operations have been taken over by Honolulu-based Matson Line. 

Horizon wins waiver from low sulphur rule until 2017 to install scrubber
13 January 2015 - 20:23

Horizon wins waiver from low sulphur rule until 2017 to install scrubber

HORIZON Lines, once America's biggest shipping line, has announced it has received an exemption from the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA) fuel sulphur content rules now that its Alaska operations have been taken over by Honolulu-based Matson Line. 

The waiver from penalty is in force while Horizon installs an exhaust gas cleaning system, otr scrubber, on each of its three vessels which operate in the Alaska trade. 

The permit was issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), allowing these vessels to use heavier fuel oil in their main engines while operating between Washington state and Alaska.

Horizon has entered into an agreement with Alfa Laval Aalborg Nijmegen for design and procurement of the PureSox 2.0 exhaust scrubber for the ships in the Alaska trade. 

Horizon expects to spend US$18 million in compliance costs. Installation of the first system is planned to begin on the 1,712-TEU Horizon Kodiak in September 2015, and completion of the project is expected by January 1, 2017. 

"Horizon values the partnership with the EPA and the USCG in supporting the advancement of this exhaust gas cleaning systems project, and looks forward to sharing the knowledge and experience gained during the evolution of this project with the maritime industry," said the Horizon press release. 

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based Horizon owns a fleet of 13 fully Jones Act qualified vessels and operates five port terminals in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. 

Horizon faced near ruin in February 2011 when hit with a US Justice Department price-fixing fine of $45 million - later cut to $15 million - as well as class action awards to shippers of more than $13 million. Near bankrupt, it was de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange.

But with help, it remained the only domestic carrier with container liner services to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and could trace its roots to the famous Sea-Land Service, the world's first container service started by Malcom McLean. 

Honolulu-based Matson, which today has services to Hawaii, Guam and an eastbound service from China to the US, has now expanded into the Alaska market.

Horizon's Hawaii operation has been sold to Pasha Group, a privately-owned San Rafael, California company that several years ago started service using a roll-on, roll-off service between San Diego and Hawaii.

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