Höegh Autoliners CEO: Scrubbers Just Move Emissions to the Sea

Hoegh AutolinersIllustration, Image Courtesy: Flickr-Ed Dunens under CC BY 2.0 license

Norwegian car carrier Höegh Autoliners said it stands firm on its decision not to implement scrubbers in order to comply with the IMO 2020 regulations.

The company informed it would instead use very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) or low sulphur marine gas oil (LSMGO).

“We have ordered zero scrubbers and will order no more,” said Ivar Myklebust, CEO of Höegh Autoliners.

He explained that there are many reasons as to why the company has decided against scrubbers, listing an increase of fuel usage and open-loop scrubber bans in port areas as some of these.

Namely, Myklebust noted that, although this equipment would surely cut emissions to air, “it appears as it will just move the emissions to the sea instead.”

The CEO argued that scrubber use could actually increase the carbon footprint of a vessel, as it adds weight and requires tens of thousands of tons of water to wash through the systems each day. This requires energy which would come from burning more fuel.

“Another reason for deciding against scrubbers is that ports have already started to ban open loop scrubbers,” Myklebust added.

“Shanghai wider port area and Singapore are two ports that have implemented the ban and it is quite likely that Sulfur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) will follow. The Port of Fujairah is furthermore forbidding the discharge of wastewater with sulphur.”

“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,” Myklebust said.

Furthermore, the company’s pure car and truck carriers are not ideal for scrubbers, according to the CEO. He informed that placing a scrubber from the engine room up through the whole vessel to the chimney was challenging.

Myklebust outlined that transporting cargo by sea would be more expensive from January 1, 2020, regardless of the approach taken. Those that invest in scrubbers would need their investments to be paid off and for those using VLSFO or LSMGO the fuel will be considerably more expensive.

With shipping rates already down at unsustainable levels in the RoRo industry, this is not a cost that can be carried by the shipping lines,” the Höegh Autoliners’ head added.

“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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