„We are not afraid,” concluded Cpt. Wolfram Guntermann from leading container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd on the panel about the looming Sulphur cap “IMO 2020” for the shipping industry. With less than a month to go before the shipping industry is cutting sulphur content in its fuel by the factor of seven from 3,5% to less than 0,5%, HSBA’s Maritime Business School had invited leading industry representatives to discuss the outlook, preparations and potential challenges.
Guntermann, Director Environmental Management at Hapag-Lloyd, who accompanied the project from the Regulatory Affairs point of view at the EC ESSF and IMO MEPC and Shipping Organisations, was not alone in his confidence. He referred to extensive technical and commercial preparations that had started more than a year ago. Such preparations were echoed on the regulatory side from Jörg Kaufmann, who will oversee controls through the German Maritime Administration: “The previous switch from Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to cleaner options in the European space has provided us with ample experience.”
Sonja van Wijk, Senior Client Advisor at insurance provider MS Amlin Marine from Rotterdam threw in some cautious notes: “We have seen some first casualties before IMO 2020 is even in place”, she described instances of malfunctions of scrubbers on board ships. These installations clean exhaust gas before it leaves the funnel. “The next weeks will be a technical challenge and will test the balance of relationships and responsibilities”, she added. As a leading global P&I and specialty insurer, MS Amlin Marine dedicates much effort to inform its clients about impacts, risks, latest updates and provides recommendations for compliance.
Dr. Katarina Solf, environmental and maritime specialist from law firm Clyde & Co in Hamburg underlined that BIMCO had provided the industry with relevant standard clauses. She explained: “we expect claims to arise from engines which cannot manage the new fuels, claims against bunker suppliers for harming substances in the fuel and rather complex issues between owners and charterers.”
While Michel Ardohain, who is in charge for the dossier at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), referred to almost a decade of preparatory time for the changeover, he also seemed realistic. It is a global change and oil majors have to provide compatible fuels in thousands of ports. Ardohain was confident that though this change cannot happen in one day, the switch can happen smoothly for those companies that have used their time wisely.
The panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Dr. Max Johns, Academic Head MSc Business Development at HSBA, and Falco Bielefeld, Underwriter P&I / Charterer’s liability at MS Amlin Marine Germany.
We would like to thank all speakers and panellists for their valuable contribution and especially MS Amlin Marine, Clyde & Co. Hamburg and Shipping Professional Network Hamburg e.V. for their support!