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Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery

Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery

Survey: Shipping industry divided on top 2020 SOx solutions

Fri 10 Nov 2017 by Jamey Bergman

Survey: Shipping industry divided on top 2020 SOx solutions

A new survey shows shipping industry players are divided and still considering several options for bringing emissions into compliance with IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap restrictions. 

Shipping strategy consulting firm The Strategy Works developed the survey through 45 in-depth telephone interviews with senior technical managers, OEMs, marine lubricant suppliers and scrubber manufacturers.

Ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO) was the compliance option of choice, overall, favoured by 81% of senior technical managers from shipping companies and nearly 60% of lubricant makers and OEMs.

Scrubber technologies were the favourite choice of lubricant companies and OEMs at 67% approval compared to just 41% approval by shipping company employees. 

The next nearest competitor, distillate fuels, received a thumbs-up from more than half of shipping company employees, and 42% of lubricant companies and OEMs.

LNG came in third among shipping manufacturers; hybrid fuels, dual-fuel options and biofuels all received approval ratings of less than a third.

The telephone surveys revealed further insights into the way the various shipping industry sectors were approaching the upcoming SOx deadline.

Fuel oil availability and price were the top concern among representatives of shipping companies. Clipper Group head of technical operations Morten Hvass said “Going for the options of ULSFO and/or distillate fuel is a question of price and availability in a few years’ time. Nobody can predict the price difference between the distillate fuel and ULSFO.”

For some manufacturers, including Chevron Marine Lubricants marketing manager Ian Thurloway, previous compliance mandates in ECA and SECA areas has helped their businesses to prepare for 2020.

“We’ve been and continue to be proactive on developing our products and solutions to meet the demands of today’s marine industry, including ECA zones and have a range of lubricants to cover virtually all marine fuel options. We have vessels that run on a single cylinder lubricant and those that run with multiple products in separate tanks – to facilitate transiting ECA areas.”

Implementation timeframe was not an overwhelming concern among the vast majority of those surveyed.

74% of the sample felt the timeframe for implementation was fair and few were surprised by the three-year lead-in period.

“We were expecting it. In Denmark, we have a shipowners association that voted for 2020 instead of 2025” said Ultraship chief technical officer Kaj Pilemand.

Exxon Mobil Marine marketing manager Iain White agreed, saying “The legislation was written as if it would be implemented in 2020, unless there was deemed to be a reason why it couldn’t be. So, no surprise at all to us.”


Data for this article was prepared by Michael Herson of London-based The Strategy Works – a strategy consultancy specialising in original B2B insight on a global basis within the shipping industry and other sectors.

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