EU rules limiting the amount of sulphur in shipping fuel come into force on Jan 1st, 2015. In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Sulphur Directive limits the maximum amount of sulphur in fuel to 0.1 per cent.
Shipping accounts for around 4 per cent of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, and without action these emissions are predicted to more than double by 2050. Ships are currently subject to a 3.5% global limit on the sulphur content of fuel and a 1.0% cap in ECAs, but the 2015 ECA limit will necessitate a switch to low sulphur fuel, SOx scrubber technology or the use of LNG as a fuel.
Shipping companies have warned the directive will push up costs by a third because low-sulphur fuel is more expensive. Firms have the options of switching fuels, changing to liquefied natural gas or installing “scrubbers” that remove sulphur from exhaust gases, all of which have cost implications. Some carriers have already announced changes in pricing due to the directive.
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