More eye-scrubber installations for carriers as the price gap between fuels widens

DNV Credit

As the price differential between low sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) and heavy fuel oil (HFO) widens, nearly 30% of the global container ship fleet capacity is now equipped with technology. washer, according to an Alphaliner survey.

The consultant said the number of container ships fitted with scrubbers increased by 150 last year, to 850 vessels with a capacity of 7.52 million teu, with MSC continuing to lead the pack with almost half of its fleet of 640 men capable of refueling with the cheaper HFO.

By way of comparison, Maersk, now the first carrier on par with its partner 2M, has 35% of the capacity of its fleet of 736 vessels equipped with scrubbers.

Other proponents of scrubbers include Evergreen, with 69% of 204 vessels (1.48 mteu capacity) and HMM with 83% of a fleet of only 75 vessels (820,000 teu) equipped with a scrubber system. exhaust gases.

At the other end of the scale, Japanese carrier ONE has installed scrubbers on just 18% of its 210-vessel fleet, 1.54m teu, and longtime skeptic Hapag-Lloyd has 17% of its 252 ships, 1.75 m teu, fleet equipped with scrubbers.

According to Ships and bunkers The G20 index, which tracks the average price of bunkering at 20 major ports, the average price of LSFO jumped 46% last year, to $ 544 per tonne, and although HFO prices rose 53% , at $ 433 per tonne, the gap between the two fuels widened by 92% over the year.

“The good news for tonnage owners equipped with scrubbers is that the LSFO / HFO spread ended the year at a high of $ 153, having started the year at $ 79,” said Ship and hold.

A carrier source said The charging star recently that the only thing stopping his line from ordering more scrubber renovations on its fleet was the shipyard downtime.

“We can’t afford to have a single vessel out of service at the moment, but if things calm down a bit later in the year we will be the first in the queue because the potential cost savings are huge, ”he said.

“But we have several [vessel] upcoming prospecting which we can no longer postpone, so that we may be able to set up the facilities at the same time, when the vessel is in dry dock, and we are checking this at the moment with our own vessels as well as the tonnage charters ” , he added.

Although many ports around the world have banned the use of open-loop scrubbers that discharge washwater into the sea in their controlled areas, the savings of $ 150 per tonne on a vessel burning 75 tonnes per day at sea are substantial when multiplied on a line fleet.

Carriers are also encouraged by the apparent lack of appetite in IMO states to introduce more stringent regulations on the use of scrubbers.

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