Fitting a scrubber to a capesize has still been good business in 2020 despite the HSFO / VLSFO spread this year being just a fraction of what it was expected to be.
Writing in the latest "Shipping Number of the Week" report Thursday, Peter Sand, BIMCO's Chief Shipping Analyst, noted that "2020 year-to-date average spot market earnings for a scrubber-fitted capesize have exceeded that of a non-scrubber fitted capesize by USD 2,818 per day (+27%)."
Prior to the January 1, 2020 introduction of the 0.50% sulfur cap many had expected premiums for the low sulfur fuel to be some $200/mt more than HSFO.
2020 certainly started as expected; Ship & Bunker data shows the premium for VLSFO over HSFO in major ports was in excess of $300/mt.
However, sinking oil prices and an overall slowing of the global economy due to the COVID pandemic has seen that spread narrow at times to less than $50/mt, and put the year-to-date average spread at $93.65/mt. (All data taken from Ship & Bunker's Global 20 Ports index)
With some in the industry now wondering if those scrubber investments will even pay off, let alone realize those once-promised "super profits", Sand's note will presumably be welcome news for scrubber manufacturers and owners of scrubber-equipped tonnage alike.
Earlier this week, Songa Container was also positive on its scrubber-equipped tonnage, saying the tech had "improved vessel attractiveness and they enjoyed high utilisation rates."