Esben Poulsson warns IMO of the ‘unholy mess’ the sulphur cap could bring

Esben Poulsson has been reelected chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) for another two-year term. Poulsson used his reelection to once again warn the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that “chaos and confusion” is on the cards imminently unless a number of issues are quickly resolved pertaining to the January 1, 2020 global sulphur cap on shipping.

Poulsson warned that unless a number of serious issues are satisfactorily addressed by governments within the next few months, “the smooth flow of maritime trade could be dangerously impeded”.

“It is still far from certain that sufficient quantities of compliant fuels will be available in every port worldwide by 1 January 2020,” Poulsson continued, adding: “And in the absence of global standards for many of the new blended fuels that oil refiners have promised, there are some potentially serious safety issues due to the use of incompatible bunkers.”

Poulsson said that shipowners still have no idea what types of fuel will be available or at what price, specification or in what quantity.

“Unless everyone gets to grips with this quickly we could be faced with an unholy mess with ships and cargo being stuck in port,” he warned.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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