Crown Oil based in the UK. Image Credit: Crown Oil
While stakeholders with interests across the entire bunker supply chain have already gone to great lengths to contemplate the implications of the upcoming IMO2020 sulfur cap, UK-based supplier Crown Oil has highlighted some of the less discussed challenges associated with the new rules.
"The main challenge from the new regulations is that fuel suppliers, fuel distributors and fuel buyers alike, do not know how much bunker fuel is required and therefore how much to produce, which creates a mismatch between supply and demand," says Matt Greensmith, Managing Director, Crown Oil.
As has been been previously discussed in these pages, the most obvious problem this presents to suppliers and distributors is knowing how much of which products will be needed at which times during the transitional period.
Matt Greensmith, Managing Director, Crown Oil
Suppliers should also be sure they can support the logistics of swapping high sulphur fuel with low sulphur fuel
"They also need to be sure they can meet demands on time through a reliable distribution network and a large enough fleet to meet these demands," he says.
"Suppliers should also be sure they can support the logistics of swapping high sulphur fuel with low sulphur fuel - as the older fuel will need to be disposed of correctly. This is something that Crown Oil has years of experience with through our environmental impact service, Crown Oil Environmental."
Fuel buyers switching to the new fuels, meanwhile, will need to consider new fuel testing requirements.
"An extra consideration for shipowners changing fuel is to look at fuel testing if they are unsure that their fuel meets the new regulations. If not, they will need to ensure that their supplier can uplift their old fuel, clean their fuel tank and replace it with ULSFO," says Greensmith.
"To this end, Crown Oil and our environmental services brand, Crown Oil Environmental, are perfectly poised to assist with these services."
The new 0.50% sulfur cap comes into force from January 1, 2020.