MEPC 70: IBIA Reiterates Need for Phased Implementation of 0.5% Global Sulfur Cap

Thursday October 27, 2016

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) today, alongside news that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the 70th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70) agreed to implement a 0.5 percent global sulfur cap on marine fuels in 2020, reiterated its belief that the new rule should be implemented using a phased approach.

"We believe it would be better to have a more phased introduction, allowing the market to adapt more gradually, thereby preventing a sudden severe strain on global product supply and prices, allowing a longer period for owners to install abatement technology rather than a last minute rush, and gaining experience with new low sulfur fuel formulations in a more controlled manner, without the entire global fleet becoming a test bed," IBIA's IMO Representative Unni Einemo said during apresentation of a paper on the matter to MEPC 70.

"Fixing the start date for a phased process, and defining a clear line of progress toward a complete transition to the global sulfur cap, could give industry the certainty it desires."

IBIA says the paper it presented provided various options to ease the global transition from the current 3.50 percent global sulfur limit to a 0.50 percent limit, which it notes represent "a completely unprecedented scale for the refinery industry."

But with the date now set for 2020, IBIA says it will "continue to support the IMO's work to raise awareness of the issues that may arise in connection with implementing the global cap and find ways to make the transition as smooth as possible."