Promise of Improved Economics Wins Over Another Scrubber Sceptic

Friday March 1, 2019

Pacific Basin is the latest scrubber sceptic to announce it is investing in the technology, with concern it could become uncompetitive emerging as the decisive factor in its deliberations.

"Some owners of larger vessels with higher fuel consumption, including some Supramaxes, are installing scrubbers to take advantage of expected lower cost of heavy fuel oil," CEO Mats Berglund said during yesterdays earnings presentation.

"As we cannot risk being competitively disadvantaged, we are well prepared and have arrangements in place with repair yards and scrubber makers to install scrubbers on our owned Supramax vessels. These arrangements include fitting and testing scrubbers on Supras to gain experience early and to evaluate the equipment both technically and operationally."

Berglund last year said he did not think scrubbers "are an effective solution technically or environmentally" for IMO2020, and Thursday said his firm still prefers low sulfur fuel and a complete ban on heavy fuel oil.

But the u-turn is one of a number being made in recent weeks, perhaps the most notable being news last week that even long-time sceptic Maersk has committed to spend $263 million on scrubbers.

Gibson predicted last October scrubber sceptics could come under pressure to buy into the technology or risk finding themselves at a severe disadvantage in the post-2020 market.