Classification society Lloyd’s Register has developed an online application aimed at helping owners and operators to find a customised path to compliance with the impending IMO regulation limiting sulphur in fuel oil to 0.5% from 1 January 2020.
The group said it developed the tool to bring clarity to the costs and investment returns tied to different compliance options.
“The ‘options evaluator’ allows ship operators to compare different compliance strategies by reviewing emissions output and comparing the different capex and opex implications of each option,” a statement from Lloyd’s Register said.
While market uptake around compliance options remains uncertain, International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) chief executive Justin Murphy told Marine Propulsion that 99% of the shipping industry was expected to go the route of distillate blends.
“The three primary solutions (to compliance with the 2020 sulphur cap) are LNG as a marine fuel, the use of scrubbers or fuel and/or distillate blends,” he said.
“By January 2020 it appears likely that almost 99% of people will be switching to fuel and/or distillate blends.”
Mr Murphy’s words echoed those from ExxonMobil engineering manager Iain White, who told SulphurCap2020 conference in Amsterdam that distillate blends will win the post-2020 fuels war.
Mr Murphy cited the proximity of the sulphur cap implementation date as a limiting factor in the uptake of scrubbers and alternative fuels before 1 January 2020 and said IBIA did not take a position about which compliance option was best.
“We support any tool that renders assistance to the marine world in general and our members, in particular, and that increases the likelihood of legitimate compliance with the 2020 regulation,” he said.
Looking more broadly, there is evidence of a view coalescing within the industry that there is no one-size-fits-all route to sulphur cap compliance.
A message from scrubber manufacturer representative Don Gregory of EGCSA, that there are numerous factors to consider when investing in sulphur cap compliance measures, matches that expressed by Lloyd’s Register in relation to its compliance tool.
“There is no clear [single] strategy to compliance,” the group said.
“The benefit of each of the different compliance strategies will be unique to each shipowner, as the options are dependent on the ship type, as well as numerous other operational and economic variables.”
The number of compliance options available may play a role in anecdotal evidence on market direction that has shown owners expressing a wait and see attitude to settling on a compliance route, and the Lloyd's Register app is not the only source of help for owners struggling with a difficult decision, according to Mr Murphy.
"Whether you use a tool such as an app or use your own means of calculation with the ordinary suite of software that anyone would use to run economic models, the means and advice are available," he said.
"There is a whole range of people offering advice and consultancy services. [For example] every classification society will be."