For Maersk Line, Rotterdam is to become the European hub for low-sulphur bunker fuel. Maersk Oil Trading will be storing an annual 2.3 million tonnes of this cleaner fuel (sulphur level below 0.5 percent) at the Vopak-terminal in Europoort. This amounts to some 20 per cent of the total low-sulphur fuel requirements of the world’s largest container shipping line.
Stricter regulations imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will apply to shipping companies from 2020. From this point, fuel oil with a sulphur level higher than 0.5 per cent may only be used, in combination with so-called ‘scrubbers’; installations that filter sulphur oxides. There are concerns in the market as to whether sufficient low-sulphur fuel will be available from 2020, which is partly the reason for Maersk to sign a long-term contract with Vopak.
Vopak is also investing 40 million euro worldwide to make its terminals suitable for low-sulphur fuel. The Europoort terminal, with a total storage capacity of almost 4 million tonnes, will be ready for this type of fuel by the second half of next year.
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