Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Int’l shipping ready for IMO 2020 but anticipates ‘teething problems’

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said the industry is prepared to comply with the UN International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) global sulfur cap (IMO 2020) even as it aired concerns over possible issues with compliant fuels and a level playing field.

On the eve of the implementation of IMO 2020, ICS secretary general Guy Platten has issued a message on the readiness of the industry and possible teething problems with implementation.

He noted that ICS is confident that shipowners worldwide “have done everything possible to prepare and ensure compliance” with the new IMO regime, whose implementation in January will be good for the environment and the health of coastal populations.

“The requirement from 1 January for most ships to use low sulphur fuel is a change of a magnitude never attempted before on a global basis and it’s possible there may be teething problems when IMO 2020 first comes into effect,” he said.

“Port State Control authorities will need to provide consistency and a common-sense approach to enforcement during the initial weeks of implementation, provided shipowners can demonstrate they have done everything in their power to comply.”

Platten also spoke about industry concerns over compliant fuels.

“The industry has been working hard to ensure that we are ready for 1st January, but we still have concerns over safety and the availability of compliant fuels in every port worldwide. This is a pressing issue.”

He said shipowners rely on many other stakeholders in the marine fuel supply chain, particularly bunker suppliers and oil refiners, to ensure all stakeholders are able to fully comply with the new regulations.

“We need the supply side to fully contribute to a smooth changeover so that we do not have any incidents due to incompatible fuels and we can ensure safe operations for our seafarers.”

On the readiness of the industry to comply with IMO 2020, Platten said: “I would like to think the vast majority of shipowner will fully comply, and the new regime will be strictly enforced by Port State Control authorities globally.

“What we want is to make sure it is a level playing field—any shipowner would want that—and there is a uniform approach to compliance around the world. If you have not got a level playing field and people are able to gain from the system, that’s not fair.”

Platten concluded: “IMO 2020 is an important moment for the global shipping industry. We believe this major change is both timely and needed, however, this does not mean it is without inherent risks. We are determined to address the environmental impacts of shipping so that we can continue to drive global trade sustainably.”

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

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