Sea Transport

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New Sea Transport Regulation:
«Low Sulphur»


Since January 1, 2020 a new «Low Sulphur» regulation from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requires all shipping companies to reduce their sulphur (SOx) emissions worldwide.

Whereas only the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea and North America were previously subject to restrictive SOx emission regulations, as of 01/01/2020, all sea areas worldwide will now be subject to the requirement not to exceed 0.5% sulphur in air (previously 3.5%). However, this level is still above the threshold allowed in SECA zones.

Companies must therefore adapt their means and marine fuels to comply with this regulation.


They will have three options to achieve this:

  • Use fuel with low sulphur content (e.g. marine diesel with a 0.1% sulphur content) which is more expensive than the current fuel and whose availability is not guaranteed everywhere;
  • Installing smoke reprocessing systems known as «scrubbers», which involve additional installation costs and maintenance arrangements for on-board personnel;
  • Use alternative energies such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) for their new ships.

TK’Blue takes these different possibilities into account in the definition of fleets that allow the societal costs and air pollutant emissions associated with maritime transport to be calculated, taking into account the methods put in place to comply with the new regulations.