From the adoption of stricter regulations to advancements in technology, the maritime industry has seen a lot of new developments in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unforeseen challenges that threatened to slow down the usual pace of the industry. With the market recovering and the world slowly getting back on its feet, here are some things that shipowners can expect in 2020:
The scenario in the shipping industry is changing day-by-day, constantly ushering in new trends for shipping operators and freight carriers. The maritime sector has seen plenty of changes every year, with upgradation in technology as well as changes in compliance laws. In 2020, due to the fear of the coronavirus pandemic, there are there are still many hurdles to overcome that could adversely affect their contributions. That being said, we can expect to see a lot of other developments in the coming months. This blog features some of the significant, highlighting aspects that will mark the year 2020 as a game-changer for the maritime industry.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has taken a drastic step to limit the sulphur content in exhaust gases from marine vessels to 0.5% globally and 0.1% in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs), forcing ship owners to implement necessary changes in vessels. Options range from fitting exhaust gas scrubbers to modifying the engine systems to run on low sulphur fuel oil. This transition has had a massive impact on the shipping industry but was seen as a much-needed step in the right direction to reduce the harmful effects of exhaust gases and its impact on marine and human life. With the oil prices recovering, many large fleet owners are already planning ahead and moving to install ship sulphur scrubbers for their vessels. Approximately 30 % of VLCCs and Capesize vessels are currently fitted with scrubbers and is estimated to rise an additional 5 % by the end of 2020; for post-Panamax vessels it is estimated to rise from the current 40 % to 50 % by the year-end.
Some shipowners are also expected to transition towards LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) Fuel for new builds. It will not only help them to adhere to international compliance laws but will also make their operations efficient and viable on a larger scale. Analysts previously concluded that the economics of retrofitting a ship to run off LNG were prohibitive. But engineers have been giving increasing attention to the LNG-fueling option in the shipping space. Trial retrofitting projects are now being undertaken and further projects are being considered. However, substantially higher investments required, and subsequently lengthy payback periods could dissuade many shipowners from considering this option.
Since the implementation of IMO 2020, there is a lot of buzz about which scrubber system is best in terms of both cost and compliance. There is a misconception that open-loop scrubber systems are dealing with air pollution but creating water pollution by dumping wastewater into the sea. The IMO has set out guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) that includes washwater discharge and monitoring criteria to safeguard against possible environmental damage. This guideline prohibits vessels from discharging harmful components into the seawater by setting strict limits for a set of measured parameters. In an open-loop system, Sulphur Oxides (SOx) scrubbed out of the exhaust gas form sulphates which dissolve in the washwater. Closed-loop scrubbers are useful in areas where natural seawater alkalinity is low and is fully compliant in all areas especially when vessels are operating in zero discharge areas as it does not need to discharge washwater back into the sea.
It has already been more than a month since countries have restored their logistics and shipping operations but the year 2020 is expected to see slow growth due to regulatory challenges. Shipowners may face obstacles and loss of revenue due to the unforeseen international circumstances faced by most businesses in different economies worldwide. Companies are facing pressure to re-evaluate their supply chains so they can mitigate against disruption, optimise their decision-making, improve cost efficiencies and gain better visibility of their products. The logistics industry must digitise at pace if it is to effectively cater to the demands of the post-COVID trade economy. 
2019 has seen enormous developments in terms of technology in the maritime industry, but 2020 is expected to fasten the adoption of these new and innovative trends to benefit shipowners. From smart freight corridors to intelligent port management systems, the time taken for logistics and decision making can be cut down and made efficient due to the technical support and enablement of technology-assisted systems. There are also quite a few developments related to autonomous ships which can operate without manual intervention. The concept of artificial intelligence systems has been making huge advancements and could potentially revolutionize the shipping industry.
The international sphere has brought new diversifications in the maritime industry and empowering logistics and ship owners through a lot of developmental scenarios during recent times. The regulations like IMO 2020 have been a significant change in the industry but have brought about aspects for ensuring a clean environment for one and all. Even with the low bunker fuel price spread between high and very-low sulphur fuels in the current market, it is safe to say that the investments in scrubbers are economically sound.
Kamelia Cleantech offers bespoke intelligent scrubber systems that are the most compact, lightweight, customisable and cost-effective available in the market. If you would like more information about our exhaust gas scrubber and Marine AI technology or would like to request a quotation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org