• 2020 January 23 10:25

    IBIA: IMO 2020 preparations pay off

    IBIA says it met with several large globally operating shipping and bunkering companies during a visit to Copenhagen in mid-January, who were all reporting a surprisingly smooth transition to the 0.50% sulphur limit for marine fuels which came into force on 1 January, 2020. They had another element in common: they all started their planning and preparations to be “IMO 2020 ready” at least two years ago and have been pro-active in securing their sources to be able to offer and buy compliant fuels. One of the owners we spoke to had installed scrubbers on a portion of its fleet, for others this was not the right option due to the nature and operational pattern of their fleet.

    In general, the ship owners and operators as well as bunker providers IBIA met in Copenhagen had not experienced major issues with the availability of compliant fuel, although shortages have been evident in some regions. They did note that the year started off with a sharp rise in premiums for very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) compared to high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO). The price of VLSFO has increased to be on a par with and even above marine gas oil (MGO) in key ports like Singapore during January, but such market distortions are expected to be short-lived. This price volatility and high prices can be painful, but it has also been to the benefit for some who secured supply contracts during 2019 when prices were not expected to be that high. On the negative side, one bunker buyer told IBIA he had observed an increase in short-deliveries, typically 4-6 tonnes, in the past few weeks in several major bunkering areas across the world.

    Regarding quality, IBIA was happy to hear that the companies we spoke with have not had the operational nightmare that have been predicted due to fuels with serious stability issues or due to mixing incompatible fuels onboard the ship. VLSFO testing off-spec for sediment, an indicator of poor fuel stability, has been reported in some ports during December and January, but the Denmark-based owners and operators IBIA met had either not lifted them, or had only limited exposure to such off-spec fuels. In fact, one of them suggested the number of VLSFOs deliveries testing off-spec for quality has so far been lower compared to the HSFO the company used to buy, and that VLSFO had better quality overall.

    One company described how they had avoided problems due to a very diligent purchasing strategy, obtaining as much information about fuels in advance as possible, including pre-testing. They have observed large differences in the quality of VLSFOs, depending on the nature of the blends. For example, they had seen a split between VLSFOs with regards to cat fines, with either very or high very low levels. Energy content in VLSFOs, meanwhile, is typically better than in HSFO but also variable depending chiefly on the fuel’s density. The relationship between density and viscosity, meanwhile, can be an indicator of the fuel’s ignition and combustion properties.

    One concern that kept cropping up in our conversations with both buyers and suppliers during our visit to Copenhagen, however, was how to deal with sulphur test results marginally above the 0.50% limit. The problem lies in the difference between commercial contract interpretation around test precision principles and the MARPOL Annex VI sulphur verification procedures approved by the IMO for authorities to use when obtaining samples from ships to check for compliance. IBIA has issued advise to its members on the subject. 

    One reason for fuel as supplied to be slightly above the 0.50% sulphur limit could be that shore storage tanks or bunker barges have not been adequately cleaned when the usage has been switched from HSFO to VLSFO. Likewise, if an authority takes an in-use sample from a ship and it is found to be above the limit (note: up to 0.53% is acceptable for in-use samples), this could be due to inadequate cleaning of HSFO residues from the ship’s fuel tanks. Sulphur limit exceedances caused by inadequate tank cleaning should disappear over time as tanks previously used for HSFO are eventually thoroughly flushed through.

    IBIA would like to remind the supply side that in order to be 95% certain that they will never exceed the sulphur limit, they need to use the limit -0.59R as the blend target. This principle is part of IBIA’s best practice guidance for bunker suppliers, as well as subsequent best practice guidance issued by the IMO.




2020 February 19

18:37 Eni launches hull for Coral Sul FLNG in offshore Mozambique
18:06 Port of Rotterdam aims to become the most sustainable biorefinery in Europe
17:52 NOVATEK’s 2019 profit grew 5.3 times YoY to RUB 865.5 billion
17:31 Royal IHC launches TSHD GHASHA for National Marine Dredging Company
17:28 Wärtsilä and Carnival achieve real-time data exchange between ship and port
17:06 Jan De Nul finishes deepening works in the Port of Maputo
16:46 Port of Hamburg seaborne cargo throughput up 1.1 percent to 136.6 million tons in 2019
16:42 PM Yury Borisov backs RF Transport Ministry’s proposal to assign cargo to Russian-flagged and Russian-owned vessels
16:13 Boston Ship Repair gets Navy's $14.3M contract
15:37 Russia’s market demand for marine fuel to exceed 10 million tonnes in 2020 – PM Yury Borisov
15:10 Inmarsat launches connectivity services in Saudi Arabia across land, sea and air
14:51 FESCO launches new regular container train from Novosibirsk to Khabarovsk
13:48 Russia’s bunker market fell by over 6% YoY to 11 million tonnes in 2019
13:06 Rosneft’s hydrocarbon production in 2019 remained flat YoY at 5.79 mmboed
12:39 Rosneft reports 29-pct increase of its 2019 net income to RUB 708 bln
12:05 Philippine Ports Authority net income soars 31% in 2019
11:47 Konstantin Anisimov appointed as Deputy Head of Federal Marine and River Transport Agency
11:00 Position of the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) on the European Green Deal
10:52 Golar Power forms partnership with BR Distribuidora
10:41 IMO continues its work to counter maritime crime
10:21 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Feb 19
10:18 Finland accedes to Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety
09:54 Bunker prices go down at the port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia
09:32 Brent Crude futures price is up 1.07% to $58.37, Light Sweet Crude – up 1.05% to $52.84
09:19 Milaha takes part in the Qatar Maritime and Logistics Summit as its main sponsor
09:15 Baltic Dry Index is up to 450 points

2020 February 18

18:00 Petronas signs 12-year time charter party for two new build LNG vessels
17:36 MARAD announces more than $280 million in grants for US ports
17:27 Jotun Marine: Proactive measures needed to improve hull performance
17:06 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from the Mediterranean to USEC and USGULF
16:43 EIB supports refurbishment of Port of Ystad to accommodate climate-friendly vessels
16:21 Oboronlogistics designated as sole executor of works and services related to delivery of goods by sea to Kaliningrad Region
15:36 CMA CGM announces Emergency Space Surcharge for exports from Russia & Baltic
15:33 Stena Bulk and Admiral Makarov University agree to make company-branded class
15:04 Port of Singapore to give 50% port dues concession to passenger vessels
14:40 Borr Drilling enters into new financing arrangement for a newbuild jack-up drilling rig
14:07 Volga Shipping Company to convert three tankers into dry cargo carriers in 2020
13:24 DP World to delist from Nasdaq Dubai
12:48 Bunker prices go down at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
12:10 E.ON, Rotterdam Port Authority and DeltaPort Niederrheinhäfen agree to develop an infrastructure for freight and passenger ships
11:04 GTT receives two orders from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries
10:52 Average wholesale prices for М-100 HFO grew to RUB 10,253 in RF spot market
10:21 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Feb 18
10:19 Linkspan connection/disconnection service tariff changed at Ust-Luga ferry terminal
09:54 Divers of RF Navy's Black Sea Fleet started preparing for "Depth-2020" competition
09:33 Brent Crude futures price is down 1.13% to $57.02, Light Sweet Crude – down 0.76% to $51.92
09:15 Baltic Dry Index is up to 434 points

2020 February 17

18:37 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from Middle East Gulf & Pakistan to North Europe, the Mediterranean and Red Sea & Red Sea
18:06 European Shipping Week 2020 opens with the latest figures on European shipping
17:50 Gazprom Neft’s supplies of low-sulphur marine fuel to domestic market to exceed 1.5 million tonnes in 2020
17:36 SCHOTTEL secures contract to provide propulsion units for a newly built harbour tug
17:18 BlueWater Reporting issues ISC-North America trade report
17:05 Saga Subsea receives new contract
16:30 IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response meets this week
16:05 Reach Subsea awarded several contracts and call-offs under frame agreements for 2020 execution
15:54 Wärtsilä to supply customized Hybrid Scrubber solution to two Norwegian Cruise Line ships
15:06 Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg's allocations under its social programme totaled RUB 47 million in 2019
14:42 Container throughput of Hong Kong port (China) fell by 20.4% to 1.35 million TEUs in Jan’2020
14:17 Damen holds keel-laying ceremony for Nigerian Navy landing craft
13:38 WFW advices BPER BANCA on Marittima Emiliana financing