From January 1, 2015 onwards, considerably stricter regulations regarding the sulphur content in ship exhaust gases will come into effect. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a special agency of the UN, has set up so-called “Emission Control Areas” (ECA) in the Baltic Sea as well as in the waters around Northern Europe, the USA and Canada. For ships travelling through these waters, the sulphur content of the fuel is limited down to 0.1% in future. Up until now, the heavy fuel oil used in the shipping business had a sulphur content of approx. 4.5%. The changeover to more environmentally-friendly fuels will involve additional costs of between 50 and 100% for the shipping companies.
Several shipping companies have already announced price increases, whereby only a few have actually stated concrete figures: For example, the Danish Maersk Line has announced a “Low Sulphur Surcharge” of up to150 US dollars (approx. 118 euros) per 40-foot container. The actual amount of the surcharge depends on how long a ship spends travelling in an ECA.