Ships, including ocean-going vessels, which operate in the areas near the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Sea, will be obliged to use fuel containing less than 0.5% sulphur from January 1, 2019, according to the Chinese Ministry of Transportation’s new regulations.
Due to the growing recognition of how shipping contributes to air pollution along the coast, China has released the new regulations designating these three areas as emission control areas (ECA).
Additionally, China said that eleven key ports will be allowed to impose requirements for fuel burned at berth as early as January 1, 2016, namely the ports of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhujiang, Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Suzhou, Nantong, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Tangshan and Huanghua.
None of these ports have yet announced the implementation of the requirements, but the Chinese Ministry of Transportation said that Shanghai may do so sometime in the first half of 2016.
China added that mandatory port requirements will go into force from January 1, 2017, for all ports in the designated areas, including the aforementioned ports.
At the end of 2019, the Chinese government will assess the situation and consider whether it is necessary to reduce the sulphur limit to 0.1%.
The decision is also expected to take into account the supply capabilities of the Chinese refinery industry and bunker providers.
Furthermore, it is expected that alternative abatement methods, such as exhaust gas cleaning systems and shore power, will be accepted as compliance methods.