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November 2018
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Monday, 05 November 2018 15:00

Fitch: Tighter fuel rules could raise shippers' costs

Fitch: Tighter fuel rules could raise shippers' costs

More stringent fuel regulations regarding sulphur content could significantly increase global shipping companies' operating costs and capex needs, Fitch Ratings says. This may negatively affect their credit quality unless they manage to pass these costs to customers. Many shipping companies have started implementing fuel surcharges to recover costs associated with the new sulphur cap regulation, but their ability to sustain these will depend on market fundamentals, which remain challenging, Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to Fitch Ratings.

Competitive dynamics may change in the longer term with companies that are less financially able to absorb additional costs, especially given higher oil prices, withdrawing from the market. Reduced competitive pressures could then support a better supply-demand balance and allow the remaining shipping companies to raise freight rates in a bid to recoup some of the extra costs. The change in shipping fuel consumption could also affect refineries.

International Maritime Organization rules requiring ships to use fuel with sulphur content no higher than 0.5% (compared with 3.5% currently) come into effect on 1 January 2020. This means that shipping companies need to switch to higher-quality and more expensive marine fuel, use special equipment ("scrubbers") to reduce sulphur emissions or switch to alternative fuels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG). The new regulation will apply globally. Sulphur Emission Control Areas were established in a limited number of sea areas in 2005 and the sulphur content limit for fuel in those areas was tightened to 0.1% in 2015.

The global shipping industry fuel cost bill could increase by up to USD60 billion a year as a result of the new rules from 2020 for a total merchant fleet of 60,000 vessels, according to Wood Mackenzie. According to Maersk Line, its additional fuel costs would be over USD2 billion with a cost for the container shipping industry as a whole of up to USD15 billion, based on the difference in price of fuel with 3.5% and 0.5% sulphur content.

More details: https://www.fitchratings.com/site/pr/10050606

Person in charge of the newsline: Olga Nagiyeva 

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