German container shipping
company Hapag-Lloyd revealed in its half-year results that it is preparing two
pilot projects as a way of getting ready for the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap; the company is testing exhaust gas cleaning
technology (scrubbers) on two large containerships and exploring the benefits
of LNG as fuel.
As the two projects are
still under development, Hapag-Lloyd added that it will not invest heavily in
new ship systems until 2019.
Among the most popular
options for becoming compliant with the new environmental regulations on the
table are scrubbers, LNG as marine fuel, and low sulphur fuel, which will be
much more expensive than heavy fuel oil once the regulation comes into force.
The company said earlier that the majority of liner companies will have
to pick low sulphur fuels as a way of conforming to the 2020 sulphur cap.
This is in part due to
the restricted supply of scrubbers and shipbuilders’ capacity to install them.
What is more, many liner companies were hesitant to invest in the technology as
it is likely that new regulations would come into force banning discharge of
washwater from open-loop scrubbers in certain areas, making the issue even more
complicated for shipowners.
On the other hand, LNG retrofits
have been the preferred option for newbuilds, but the technology is still in
its infancy when it comes to application to large containerships. In addition,
LNG retrofits require considerable investments, even if there are no space
constraints on board the vessel.
Hence, owners need to
tread their own path to compliance and find the best solutions that fit their
fleets. Nevertheless, one thing is clear; there will be no delays when it comes
to the compliance deadline.
Due to rising bunker
costs and slower than expected recovery of freight rates, Hapag-Lloyd booked a
net loss of EUR 100.9 million (USD 115.6 million) for the first half of the