A new rule will enforce maritime transport to use fuels with less sulphur oxides

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced a new regulation by which ships must use fuels containing less than 0.5% of sulphur oxides (SOx). At the moment it is at 3.5%. The rule, which will take effect in January 2020, finds itself within some actions that the IMO are developing to achieve the decarbonisation of the sector.

SOx have a detrimental impact on human health: they can produce respiratory problems and lung diseases. Moreover, SOx can cause acid rain and for that reason, limiting their emissions will improve air quality and protect the environment.

This new regulation implies a low sulfur surcharge in the shipping industry since December 1st 2019, while contributing to a sustainable development. This fluctuates according to the difference between the price of oil with high sulphur fuels (up until now), and the price of oil with low sulphur fuels.

Ships have contemplated three options in order to substitute traditional fuels and comply with the new regulation: “Fuel Oil” or fuel with less than 0.5% of sulphur oxides, fuel with a higher concentration of sulphur oxides, but mixed with gas scrubbers (exhaust gas cleaning system), and, not least, others types of fuel with little or no SOx, like LNG.