Box shipping could suffer (file image/pixabay)
The International Maritime Organisation's rule change on the sulfur content of bunker fuel could add $50 billion to shipping's fuel bill and may cause bankruptcies among some ship operators.
The view was expressed to the Financial Times by Junichiro Ikeda, who, as president and chief executive of Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines, heads one of the world's biggest box ship operators.
"We're all going to go bust," Ikeda was quoted as saying summing up his assessment of the impact of the fuel emission cap if the industry is unable to pass on the cost.
Ikeda also weighed in on President Donald Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs and trade dispute with China, expressing his concern about a "tit-for-tat" escalation that brings "a possibility that cargo volume is going to shrink dramatically".
From the start of 2020, all ships must use bunker fuel capped at 0.5% sulfur or have emissions abatement equipment installed on their ships. The move is expected to increase the cost of ship's fuel considerably.