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Tuesday, April 9, 2019 

Höegh Autoliners is standing firm on its decision not to implement scrubbers but comply with the IMO 2020 regulations by using very low sulphur fuel oil or low sulphur MGO.

CEO Ivar Myklebust said: ”There are many reasons to why we have decided against scrubbers. First of all, the reasoning behind the IMO 2020 regulation is to reduce emissions from the global trading fleet. I am not so sure scrubbers will support that mission".

However, scrubber systems wash residuals into the sea. “Surely, scrubbers will reduce emissions to air, but it appears as it will just move the emissions to the sea instead.”

He continued: “Implementing a scrubber can actually end up increasing the Co2 footprint of a vessel. The scrubber adds weight to the vessel and requires tens of thousands of tons of water to wash through the systems each day. This requires energy and energy comes from burning more fuel, in this case High Sulphur Fuel.”

Another reason for deciding against scrubbers is that ports have already started to ban open loop scrubbers.

“If this is a trend it is impossible to say, but it looks like more ports will follow”, Myklebust said. “Considering that each of Höegh Autoliners’ vessels spend 60-70 days in ports annually, often in areas where scrubbers are banned, it makes little sense for us to invest in scrubbers.“

He also refers to the design of the ships. “Structurally, Pure Car and Truck Carriers are also not ideal for scrubbers. 14 decks high, it is challenging to put in a scrubber that should go from the engine room up through the whole vessel to the chimney.”

Fuel availability is a concern, however. “I want to hear from the refineries how they will secure us with sufficient supply of a product that is legal, namely the very low sulphur fuel oil and low sulphur MGO,” added Myklebust.

Transporting cargo by sea will be more expensive from 1 January 2020. Those that invest in scrubbers will need their investments to be paid off and for others, fuel will be considerably more expensive.

“With shipping rates already down at unsustainable levels in the ro-ro industry, this is not a cost that can be carried by the shipping lines.” said Myklebust. “In our industry, the standard is to share the risk and return of bunker price shifts with the customers, through a Bunker Adjustment Factor in the contracts. Focus is now on assuring that all our contracts reflect the new standard bunker point, as we approach end of 2019.”

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