Join the IBIA 2020 Working Group to make sense of the upcoming 0.50% sulphur regulation

Join the IBIA 2020 Working Group to make sense of the upcoming 0.50% sulphur regulation

What do we know, and which unknowns do we have to prepare to deal with when facing the transition from a 3.50% to 0.50% global marine fuel sulphur limit? IBIA has been at the forefront of bringing these issues to the attention of the IMO, and in keeping the industry informed about how the IMO intends to support implementation of this monumental regulatory change. IBIA wants you, our members, to be actively engaged with this process to ensure we meet your needs.

There’s a lot of talk and predictions about how the various stakeholders will deal with the 2020 regulation. Many expect major challenges and difficulties, some are optimistic and even bullish, but the overwhelming feeling is that most stakeholders are sitting on the fence and adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach until they are forced to make a decision. Inevitably there is some confusion about various claims and a lot of questions.

How can we help?

IBIA has decided to set up a 2020 Working Group where we will pool resources to feed content into an online “IBIA 2020 Portal”. The aim is to answer pertinent questions to provide our members with relevant information and updates provided by the industry’s leading experts.

To provide some structure to this effort, we intend to divide the 2020 Working Group into several work streams to address various aspects. IBIA members and other stakeholders will be welcome to participate in one or more of these work streams in accordance with their areas of expertise. Each work stream will have a coordinator providing a focal point for discussion and review of material.

We propose the following work streams for the IBIA 2020 Working Group:

Supply & demand
This will look at market preparedness for providing low sulphur fuels, in terms of known refinery capacity/projects and supply infrastructure such as storage. Where may there be shortcomings? We also need to look at demand projections/expectations, including the extent to which shipowners will use MGO, VLSFO and HSFO with scrubbers, and where these products will be required. Supply & demand for LNG or other alternative fuels may be covered here or in a separate work stream on alternative fuels

Technology solutions
This will examine technology solutions such as exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS or scrubbers) and also fuel desulphurising technologies offered either for use on ships or at shoreside facilities prior to delivery. Areas to assess could include cost (capex & opex) and technical considerations such as installation, operation and system reliability.

Alternative fuels
This will look at the development of LNG, methanol, LPG and biofuels as alternatives to traditional oil-based bunker fuels. Areas to assess could include supply options coming on stream, demand (user readiness to adopt), cost and technical considerations.

Technical issues with low sulphur oil-based fuels
This will look at both the issues around supply and storage of fuels meeting the 0.50% sulphur limit as well as fuels meeting a 0.10% sulphur limit, and ship operational issues relating to the quality and compatibility of these fuels.  What are the technical implications for suppliers and operators and what are the best ways of dealing with them?

Regulatory framework & enforcement
This will provide an overview of the IMO regulatory framework and keep tabs on how it is developing as the IMO works on effective implementation, while at the same time IMO is updating guidelines for EGCS. IMO regulations are open to differing interpretations and enforcement actions, which makes the picture complex. This work stream will also look at enforcement issues, both in terms of existing and anticipated practices and problems. This work stream could also examine whether IBIA could make practical and fair proposals to the IMO on ways to support the implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit across the globe.


The above outline of work streams may change depending on feedback and participants, and the output will depend on input from participants as well as efforts by work stream coordinators to distil and organise information into a useful format.

One of the considerations IBIA will take into account is whether participants are happy to discuss issues openly in group e-mails and/or teleconferences or if they prefer to provide responses in confidence only to a designated coordinator.

To help get us started on this initiative, we ask that you get in touch with Unni Einemo on putting “2020 Working Group” in the subject field.


Unni Einemo speaking about the 2020 sulphur cap at a London forum earlier this year
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