The systematic global tightening of environmental regulations regarding harmful emissions into atmosphere and sea has substantially affected the maritime transport of the Russian Federation by changing the structure of fuel consumption. The MARPOL 73/78 Annex VI that came into effect on January 1, 2015 defines the limit of sulfur content in bunker fuel at the level of 0.1%. Restrictions are active in sulfur emission control areas (SOx Emission Control Areas, SECA), located in the North Sea and Baltics which are important elements of the Russian transport system.
To comply with the new standards, the shipowners are facing a difficult choice: to switch to a more expensive and clean fuel, to install gas absorbers, or to bet on LNG as the main type of fuel in future. Any of these options requires capital expenditure.
It must be admitted that the existing problems in the industry are not limited to the changes in market situation and new environmental regulations. Though the cargo turnover is growing in general, the volumes of bunkering in Russia are significantly falling as the fuel prices are becoming leveled in the local and foreign ports. The implication is that bunkering totals are lower for the transit vessels now. Despite the complexity of the situation in the industry, the experts and analysts still have hopes for changes, and the future of the Russian bunkering market depends on several potential growth points such as arrival of LNG in the market and steady growth of turnover in Russian ports.
Who will eventually cover the higher costs of transportation? Who should monitor compliance with respect to new environmental requirements? Will competitiveness of maritime transport avoiding SECA areas become lower compared to road/rail? What are the prospects for LNG bunkering in the Russian Federation? These are the key issues of the forthcoming Conference, held with participation of shipping, bunkering, transport, stevedoring, engineering, insurance companies, international traders, representatives of sea port administrations and government bodies. We are looking forward to seeing you!
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