AUGUST 23, 2013 — Danish shipowner DFDS is to use scrubber technology to help it meet regulations that will put a 0.1 percent cap on the sulfur content of marine fuel from January 1, 2015 for ships operating in the Baltic, the North Sea and the English Channel.
Faced with a potentially huge increase in fuel costs, DFDS has decided to invest DKK 300 million ($53.6 million) in installing exhaust gas scrubbers in eight more of its ships in 2014.
DFDS has previously tested a prototype scrubber on a vessel over a period of several years and will this year complete the installment of the new sulfur removal system on three other ships. Thus 12 of its ships will comply with the new environmental regulation, a total investment of DKK 400 million ($71.5 million). The installation of scrubbers on another 10 DFDS ships that are compatible with scrubber systems is also being considered.
"Society and shipping companies like DFDS have a common interest in improving the environment, while simultaneously ensuring that sea transport does not become unnecessarily expensive, which could lead to an increase in shipments being transported on already congested roads," says DFDS CEO Niels Smedegaard. "Our common aim is to maintain routes and jobs in the transport network, which help connect the business community. However, sulfur regulations will make sea transport more expensive from 2015 onwards, and this will affect both the shipping companies and their customers.
"Not all shipping companies have the opportunity to make the major investment that a scrubber system requires. In addition, only about half of all ships are suitable for having scrubbers fitted. In reality, the much-discussed LNG (liquid natural gas) is only a solution for new ships."
Mr. Smedegaard wants to see transition rules, including possibly temporary extensions, for the many ships that are not suitable for scrubber installation, if shipping companies contribute to investments in solutions where possible.
"We have to work together in order to ensure the development of long-term solutions, including clear and appropriate rules for the use of scrubbers and rules that provide companies with a secure basis for deciding on investments," he says.