Hapag-Lloyd becomes latest line to have a change of heart on scrubbers

Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd has become the latest shipping company to have a rethink and hedge its bets when it comes to the global sulphur cap, which starts in just 404 days’ time.

Hapag-Lloyd had previously indicated it would take the low sulphur fuel option to comply with the IMO regulation but yesterday revealed it has contracted to get hybrid scrubbers installed on ten existing 13,000 teu ships at Qingdao Behai shipyard in China ahead of the cap’s introduction.

“Using compliant low sulphur fuels is the key solution for Hapag-Lloyd. However, we want to make sure we test and make use of all relevant solutions,” said Anthony Firmin, COO of Hapag-Lloyd.

In announcing its latest quarterly results this month fellow liner Maersk also revealed it had set aside $80m for scrubbers, a technology it had previously dismissed.

Hapag-Lloyd also has 17 new vessels in its fleet, which can be converted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company will retrofit one 15,000 teu vessel during 2019 – and will then test whether LNG is a suitable alternative to low sulphur fuel.

Last month the Hamburg-based carrier announced a sulphur cap surcharge, suggesting the regulation will cost it an extra $1bn in 2020.

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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