Russia Far Eat. File Image / Pixabay
Russian trading firm Imtrade says it has reduced the price of IMO2020 compliant VLSFO to help stimulate demand and motivate shipowners to start testing the new 0.50% sulfur products ahead of the January 1, 2020 start date of the new global sulfur rules.
Imtrade says its VLSFO in the Far East is now priced at $480/mt, a premium of just $100-120/mt over HSFO in ports such as Nakhodka, Vladivostok and Vostochnyi, according to Ship & Bunker data.
In contrast, the price of VLSFO in the Chinese market has increased to around $165/mt over HSFO.
the majority of chief engineers we talked to are not willing to try new products
"Time is running fast while the majority of chief engineers we talked to are not willing to try new products, they wish to work with HSFO and MGO until January 1 comes or until the owner give them strong order," a spokesperson for Imtrade told Ship & Bunker.
"In my personal opinion it can lead to vessel operation delays in future, when IMO2020 comes, because vessel staff can face difficulties handling with several grades on board and testing new products. Moreover, trying to do these things in a rush can cause additional problems."
Imtrade began sales of its VLSFO last month at a premium of around $150/mt over HSFO, with product typicals for the fuel oil blend that include a sulfur content of 0.485%, viscosity of 30-40 cSt, density of 0.9669 kg/L, and cat fines of less than 10
After initial feedback from customers, Imtrade says both compatibility and stability of the product has shown to be very good.
"The first delivered parcels stayed onboard over 2-3 weeks with no problems, showed good combustion, and good cold flow properties due to its pour point of minus 35C," they added.