Scrubber retrofits for box ships are smart investments: Alphaliner

10th September 2019

TAKING into account the widening price gap between high and low sulphur content marine fuels, analysts at Alphaliner reckon exhaust gas cleaning systems, or scrubbers, are proving to be the winning choice given that the price difference between the two fuels surged to US$200 per tonne in August.

Shipowners have been equipping their vessels with scrubbers in order to meet the International Maritime Organization's new rule that caps the permissible level of sulphur in fuel oils at 0.5 per cent, starting from next January.

"Current price spreads, if they can be sustained, vindicate some owners' decisions to install scrubbers on their vessels and thus allow ships fitted with such exhaust cleaning systems to continue using cheaper HFO (heavy fuel oil) after January 2020," Alphaliner stated in its latest weekly report.

According to Alphaliner data, 57 containerships have already been retrofitted with scrubbers and a further 38 units are currently undergoing retrofitting at shipyards. In addition, 44 box ship new-buildings have been delivered with scrubbers already fitted, reported Singapore's Splash 247.

Alphaliner estimates that 400,000 TEU of shipboard capacity is currently immobilised at repair yards for scrubber retrofitting, fuelling a hot charter market for larger container vessels.