Lack of transparency on fuel availability leads Stena Bulk to invest $55m in scrubbers

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In a press release, Stena Bulk has announced that the company concluded an investment by which 16 of its vessels (10 IMOIIMaxes, 5 Suezmaxes and one MR) will be equipped with scrubbers. The total investment, according to Stena Bulk, is worth 55 million USD, including the equipment, the installation works and the off-hire period.

The company says that it has taken this decision due to market uncertainty on the availability of bunker fuels post-IMO2020. “The fuel availability around the globe, has now become a concern to many” the Company states. So the vessels equipped with scrubbers, according to Stena, will have more available options, since they will be able to consume either 3.5% or 0.5% with the appropriate changeover procedures of course.

Erik Hanell, the President & CEO of the company mentioned:

“We evaluated the different options and came to the conclusion that for our business by installing scrubbers we will secure greater availability of fuel for our vessels and by so limit our exposure to not finding the right fuel around the world and by that stay flexible in our trading”

The announcement of Stena Bulk includes another interesting point though. The company says it has already locked its payback period between 1.50 years and 2.50 years by hedging the spread between the price of the HSFO and the VLSFO. It looks as if this way the company has tried to overcome another existing uncertainty which is related with the market prices of the new fuels.

In an effort to manage this complex bunkering environment, Stena is planning to utilise its Orbit Platform – an Artificial Intelligence platform designed by Stena to support its overall operations with the help of robotics, advanced algorithms and big data – in the bunkering operations as well, mainly in order to confirm global supply of bunker fuels and optimise the company’s bunkering planning and logistics.

The company believes that the new regulations will require changes and probably massive challenges in the planning logistically, Hanell added.

According to Stena, the installations on all 16 vessels will have been completed by the 1st January 2020 in order for the vessels to be ready prior the commencement of the new regulatory framework.

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