The IMO’s 2020 regulation, which will come into force in less than 5 months, is going to bring the most considerable change in the shipping industry since the change from coal to oil fuel. Furthermore, it will definitely reshape the complex bunker fuel supply chain as new compliant fuel products will join the market.
The opinion expressed by Cassandra Higham, the Head of Marketing of the Global Marine and Energy division at Castrol Group, who believes that the industry needs to shed light upon the “known-unknowns”, including information around the fuel availability, fuel compatibility and enforcement of the new regulation in order to better manage the challenges which may arise in the short-term or long-term and which may have a negative impact on the vessel’s engines.
According to Cassandra Higham, as the 1st January approaches, the industry must quickly familiarise itself with the new status quo and pay higher attention into practices and details which were previously considered as routine operational tasks. Training and education can play a major role in order to gain a systemic understanding around the enforcement of the new regulation.
This is because in order for an engine to work well, a systemic approach is required and three main aspects should be met. Compliant and good quality fuel to be used, the engine to be well maintained and the lubricants used to be the appropriate for the fuel used and the engine maintenance which is followed. In case, for example, there is any form of compatibility between the lubricants and the fuel, it may result into engine damage and subsequent down time and cost of repairs.
As the industry changes, the fuel and lubricant suppliers also need to change, Higham says. Suppliers are vital in order to ensure that safety and efficiency is maintained and in this respect they have to find smarter ways to ensure that their products will reach the vessels wherever they are in the world and the supply chains will not get negatively affected.
Through cooperation with the other parties in the supply chain and proper planning, shipowners can avoid disruptions and better manage the negative consequences of the new regulation. As we are moving closer to 2020, “shipowners must enter this change with a fresh mindset and one that is deeply based on cooperation with peers to solve problems and find innovative ways to prepare for compliance,” Cassandra Higham concludes.