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Thursday, December 3, 2020 

Figures from shipowner organisation BIMCO confirm the organisation's belief that the bigger the bunker fuel consumption of the ship, the more likely it is that owners will choose an SOx scrubber as the tool to comply with the IMO 2020 sulphur cap.

While only three Handysize bulkers in total have been delivered from the newbuilding yards with a scrubber fitted in 2020, one in three Handymax bulkers were delivered with scrubbers installed.

Most scrubber-fitted bulkers were delivered in the Panamax sub-sector, that saw 81 units out of 150, equal to a share of 54%, confirming the clear-cut tendency among the newbuilt deliveries seen during the first 11 months of 2020.

When considering the share of scrubber-fitted ships within the large sub-sectors, comprising of capesize, Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOC) and Valemax, that share ranges between 85% and 100%. In just 13 cases out of the 96 ships that burn the most fuel, the shipowner opted for using Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO), instead of making the scrubber investment.

“Clearly, the marine bunker fuel price spread between low sulphur fuels and heavy sulphur fuels has been lower than initially expected. Currently at US$72/t in Singapore, the spread is a far cry from the pre-IMO 2020 average of US$185/t seen between 1 August and 31 December 2019,” said Peter Sand, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst. “It is still worthwhile to mention that 2020 year-to-date average spot market earnings for a scrubber-fitted capesize have exceeded that of a non-scrubber fitted capesize by US$2,818/day (+27%).”

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