SOHAR Port and Freezone Executive Commercial Manager Edwin Lammers called on world leaders within the global shipping industry to join forces in their search for innovative testing methods, quality control, fuel efficiency, and risk management practices ahead of new International Maritime Organisation regulations requiring cargo ships to cut the level of sulphur oxide in fuel supplies to 0.1 percent by 1 January 2015.
While SOHAR currently falls outside of the Sulphur Emissions Control Areas in which the new low sulphur fuels will be required, its position at the crossroads between East and West and rapidly expanding business interests mean many of the ships that use its world-class bunkering facilities will be required to adhere to the new ruling.
Mr. Lammers said: “Reducing the sulphur content in shipping fuel has obvious benefits for the environment and will no doubt bring about a substantial reduction in the carbon footprint of the world’s cargo fleet. However, if refining processes are not fully prepared for the shift, reducing sulphur content has the potential to increase the cost of refining processes, affect cat fines that can lead to damaged engines, and in the worst case scenario, increase the risk of flashpoints in marine gasoil that could lead to onboard explosions.”
“As global leaders, we will need to work together to ensure the industry is prepared, and minimise the impact of these potential risks. At the same time, we will need to work hard to keep costs down – especially given the almost immediate demand for low sulphur MGO that will begin at the start of next year and the addition blending that will be required to reduce sulphur content during the refining process. At SOHAR we are fortunate to have an abundance of low-cost energy, but globally it is quite the opposite,” he said.
SOHAR has recently boosted its in port bunkering services with the addition of a 6,000mt IFO barge and 500cbm gasoil barge. Its facilities include Omanoil Matrix Marine Services LLC (MXO), an independent joint venture between Germany’s Matrix Marine Holding and Oman Oil and the company responsible for bringing the new barges to SOHAR; along with liquid bulk terminal operators, Oiltanking Odfjell.
With an existing tank capacity of 1,366,640cbm, Oiltanking Odfjell’s terminal combines multiple deep-water berths with a flexible system and high pump capacity, and the joint venture is set to manage ex-pipe fuel services provided through an exclusive 43,000cbm storage agreement with MXO.
Earlier, SOHAR CEO Andre Toet said that SOHAR was preparing an announcement of significance to the industry when a delegation from the Omani port attends an international conference in Singapore next month.
He also said that CSAV – the largest shipping company of its kind in Latin America – will start to make ship calls at SOHAR after the Chilean company reached a vessel sharing agreement to expand existing CMX services.
CMX is an express shipping service that runs between the Middle East and China. CSAV service is an expansion of existing CMX services already being run by the big lines, APL, OOCL, etc.