EGCSA: Delaying Global Sulfur Cap to 2025 Will Kill Innovation and Investments in Emission Reduction Technology

Thursday June 2, 2016

The Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) has warned that delaying the implementation of a 0.50 percent global sulfur cap for bunkers until 2025 will not only drive uncertainty, it will "kill" the development of emission reduction technology.

Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, more commonly known as scrubbers, will allow vessels fitted with the technology to continue to burn otherwise non-compliant HFO once the new cap comes into force.

That will be either from 2020, or pending the outcome of an International Maritime Organization (IMO) fuel availability study due later this year, pushed back to 2025.

"In 2016, we have a much clearer view of the 2020 economy than we do of the 2025 economy. To push back the global sulphur cap implementation date in order to reduce uncertainty in the marine industry would be a fallacy," said EGCSA director Don Gregory.

"A delayed global sulphur limit will not only continue to drive uncertainty, but it will kill today's innovation and investments in developing emission reduction technology, will hinder research into alternative fuels, and will result in higher costs."

Gregory also echoed concerns previously raised by a number of other industry voices, most recently at last month's International Transport Forum (ITF) Summit, that delaying the cap until 2025 might result in a "patchwork" of local regulations being put into effect - a scenario that the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) warned back in 2014 would result in "chaos."

Gregory says it would mean "a more costly and more difficult compliance scenario for ship owners."

EGCSA represents some 25 member companies involved with scrubber technology, and while sticking to the 2020 date for the cap would obviously be of commercial benefit to group, Gregory also stressed the "obvious damage to the environment and human health" that a delay would cause.

"Postponing the regulations will only prolong air quality problems. That is of no benefit to anyone and is frustrating for ship owners who currently do not know how to plan for the future," he added.

While confirmation of a 2020 date for the new global sulfur cap is expected to be a catalyst for scrubber uptake, to exactly what level that uptake will be remains uncertain.

That, in turn, is causing complications for refiners trying to determine what quantity of different types of fuel will be required by marine when the new rules come into force.