IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap

Since 1st January 2020 the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) have been enforcing a global cap on sulphur usage.


Currently ships run on fuel that contains sulphur. Using this fuel emits sulphur oxides into the air. Sulphur oxide can be harmful to humans and lead to other environmental and atmospheric problems, such as acid rain, which is why the IMO implemented this regulation.

These new changes are having a major impact on the shipping industry and mean that shipping lines must use marine fuels with a sulphur content of no more than 0.5% against the previous limit of 3.5% in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This regulation came into effect on 1st January 2020. The main ways that shipping lines have been reducing their sulphur content are by:

• Using new blends of fuels that meet the new sulphur requirements.

• Fitting vessels with engines that can use different types of fuels with low or zero sulphur like liquefied natural gas or biofuels.

• Installing vessels with an exhaust gas cleaning system, also known as a scrubber. These are designed to remove the sulphur oxides from the vessel’s engine and boiler exhaust gases. This allows the operators to continue using higher sulphur fuels.

These options all result in increased costs for the vessel operators. Heavy penalties are applicable if these regulations are not to be adhered to with no exceptions.

In order to try and mitigate increased costs for our customers, we will continue to look at all available options to ensure the most competitive services are utilised.

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Should you have any questions regarding this please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]