• 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 October 21

09:43 Bunker prices rise in the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:24 Oil prices continue decreasing in response to US reserves growth
09:06 Baltic Dry Index as of October 20
09:05 CMA CGM announces PSS from North Europe to Asia
08:21 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Oct 21

2020 October 20

18:30 APM Terminals expands API offering and terminal coverage
18:17 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from West Med, Adriatic, Black Sea & East Med to the Indian Subcontinent
18:00 Okskaya Shipyard launches second multipurpose dry cargo carrier of Project RSD59 for Astrol
17:36 Equinor signs contract with Skanska for building site preparation and the construction of jetty facilities for the CO2 receiving terminal
17:03 Van Oord becomes the shareholder in Saare Wind Energy
16:38 Wan Hai Lines to launch China – India Service VI (CI6) Service
16:28 Tiksi port expansion is expected as new fields can be discovered in the region
16:03 Jotun offers Superyachts unique lifecycle support with launch of JotunCare
15:44 Rosmorport collects applications for debut bonds in amount of RUB 4 billion
15:30 DCSA publishes standard data definitions to enable just-in-time port calls
15:12 ESPO congratulates Port of Valencia for renewing PERS certification
14:23 Samsung Heavy Industries again chooses Wärtsilä cargo handling system design for new VLEC vessels
13:41 Modernization of port Tiksi to build up throughput to 300,000 tonnes
13:25 Port of Antwerp participates in developing and testing a private 5G network
13:20 Bunker prices are slightly up in the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
13:02 Port Houston container volumes up 1% to 251,524 TEUs in September 2020
12:33 RF Ministry of Economic Development to allocate RUB 2.8 billion for creation of port SEZ in Astrakhan Region
12:19 DNG Energy receives a licence for LNG bunkering in Coega
11:00 KSS Line signs with Hyundai Global Services for smart ship solution powered by Inmarsat and Intellian
10:58 ASW ship Vice-Admiral Kulakov and support vessels of RF Navy’s Northern Fleet enter Greece
10:37 Admiral Makarov frigate of RF Navy’s Black Sea Fleet passes Black Sea straits
10:12 LUKOIL and Rostec sign cooperation agreement
10:02 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Oct.20
09:49 Shipbuilding Corporation “Ak Bars” to tell about passenger ship Chaika at 4th “LNG Fleet, LNG Bunkering and Alternatives” conference
09:26 Oil prices decrease amid second COVID-19 wave concerns
09:14 Baltic Dry Index as of October 19

2020 October 19

18:11 CMA CGM to launch the East Med - Black Sea Express
18:01 Taganrog coastal station of NAVTEX service obtains certificate of conformity
17:48 BPA to host 5G workshop
17:27 FESCO to supply India's research stations in Antarctica for the third year in a row
17:06 Valenciaport registers the record with 477,194 containers handled in September 2020
16:46 4th “LNG Fleet, LNG Bunkering and Alternatives” conference to be held online on 28 October 2020
16:05 Milaha obtains “ISO 27001” certification for Information Security Management System
15:49 Rosmorport's sailing ship “Mir” to sail around the world in 2022-2023
15:12 Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives approval in principle for LNG fuel gas supply system from Bureau Veritas
15:04 A.P. Moller - Maersk integrates the European customs services specialist KGH Customs Services
14:35 Harvey Gulf orders Wärtsilä Energy Storage for another four LNG-powered Supply Vessels
14:30 Average spot market price for Russian M100 product rose to RUB 11,894 pmt
14:11 GTT announces the acquisition of Areva H2Gen
13:58 Project on construction of fish terminal “Udarnik” registered as second resident of Arctic Capital PDA
13:17 Ukraine's January-September 2020 coal imports down 15%
13:11 ZIM and Alibaba.com sign strategic cooperation agreement
12:52 Port of Riga sets itself new goal to become region's leader in grain handling
12:33 TransContainer increased container transportation volumes by 15.1% YoY
12:04 Port of Oakland names Acting Communications Director
11:47 Blagoverf shipyard lays down buoy tender of project 3052 for Rechvodput
11:06 EPS collaborates with GoodFuels for marine biofuel bunker trial
10:42 Ocean Yield ASA acquires two suezmax newbuildings with long-term charters
10:40 First sections for ice-resistant platform LSP “A” shipped to outfitting yard
09:58 North Carolina Ports awarded $16 million grant for infrastructure improvements
09:39 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, October 19
09:25 Week beginning is marked by oil prices decrease
09:12 Baltic Dry Index as of October 16

2020 October 18

16:05 Inmarsat and Cobham SATCOM enable Maldives fisheries sustainability with Fleet One
15:58 JAXPORT now offers expanded service to the West Coast of South America through ONE