What is the impact of the Sulphur Regulation from 2020?

Since the new, stricter rules regarding the sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil came into force on 1 January 2020, sulphur oxide emissions from ships have fallen by 77 percent.


Towards New Year’s Eve 2020, shipping had a strong focus on the new and stricter sulphur rules that would enter into force at the turn of the year.

As of 1 January 2020, the global limit for sulphur content in ships’ fuel was reduced to 0.5 per cent unless the ship had installed a so-called scrubber which removes sulphur oxides from the exhaust gas.

Now, just 2.5 years after the new regulation came into force, a new report from IMO shows that the regulation has had an immense effect. The sulphur emissions from ships have dropped by as much as 77 per cent during the period.

“The sulphur regulation has been a huge success. Both health and the environment across the globe have benefitted from it. From the beginning, Danish Shipping has supported the introduction of the new sulphur regulation so it is very gratifying to see the fuel requirement has had such a big effect and we are full of hope that we can draw lessons from this when it comes to greenhouse gases,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn, director of Climate, Environment and Security at Danish Shipping.

Danish Shipping sees the introduction of the sulphur regulation as a textbook example of how global regulation of shipping can make a huge difference.

“Now that we have taken care of the sulphur oxide emissions, we must concentrate on reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases by phasing out fossil fuels. In that context, Denmark is working hard to ensure that IMO adopts a target of carbon neutrality in 2050 and at the same time introduces a mechanism that closes the price gap between fossil fuels and green fuels as well as a fossil fuel phase-out,” says Marie Skipper Schwenn.

Figures from IMO show that the regulation has led to a yearly drop in sulphur emissions of 8.5 million tonnes.

This article is shared by courtesy of Danish Shipping – – Danish Shipping is a trade and employer organisation. Half of the members of the organisation own ships registered in Denmark, the other half run their activities in Denmark under other flags of state.

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