Sulphur cap has resulted in a 77% drop in SOx emissions from ships: IMO

With 115 days to go until the most significant global environmental regulations to hit shipping since the global sulphur cap – often referred to as IMO 2020 – the industry’s governing body has shown the efficacy of its last big green ruling.

Timed to coincide with yesterday’s World Clean Air Day, the International Maritime Organization, the shipping body of the United Nations, tweeted that since the January 1 2020 start of the global sulphur cap, there has been an estimated 77% drop in sulphur oxide emissions from ships.

The run-up to the sulphur cap’s implementation was a period of intense debate about how effective it would be with the industry deeply divided over the issue of installing scrubbers onboard ships.

Reacting to the IMO’s tweet, Simon Bergulf, senior director of ESG, public and regulatory affairs at Danish shipping powerhouse A.P. Moller-Maersk, responded: “Just a useful reminder, not least to everyone that followed the debates during the last 6 months of 2019.”

Bergulf warned shipping participants will face the same “scaremongering” on upcoming greenhouse gas legislation.

“IMO2020 is a success and shows that major and global changes are possible,” Bergulf stated, a fillip for the IMO, which has watched on as regional regulators, most notably the European Union, have threatened to act more independently in recent years, taking away some of the UN body’s global rulemaking legitimacy.

Up next for shipping are the twin IMO regulations – the Energy Efficient Existing Ship (EEXI) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) – due to come into force on January 1 with the rules having some of the same confusing overtones to the great scrubber debates of 2019.

Attempting to provide readers with the real numbers behind what next year’s two green rules will mean for the overall global fleet and trading capacity, Splash Extra journalists spoke to many experts and analysts, combing through extensive data for a recent in-depth feature.

Upcoming environmental regulations which shipping faces were neatly charted (see below) in DNV’s latest Maritime to 2050 forecast report.

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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