Nations must enforce IMO 2020 sulphur regulations


The World Shipping Council (WSC), BIMCO, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and the International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA) calls on International Maritime Organization (IMO) member states to fully implement the new global marine fuel sulphur cap mandated through the IMO.  As of January 1, 2020, the maximum sulphur content of fuel consumed at sea will be limited to 0.50%, unless an exhaust gas cleaning system is used.

The new rules, including the January 1, 2020, implementation date, have been known for a long time, and the industry has worked diligently to be ready to comply.  However, the cost of compliance is high, so it is critical that the rule is consistently applied and enforced.  There must be a level playing field if this important regulation is going to work.

“Recent reports suggesting that some nations might not fully implement the new rules are disturbing.  Lack of full implementation would risk undermining improvements to public health and the environment,” said John Butler, President & CEO of the World Shipping Council.

“The rules and implementation date for the new sulphur limits are clear and must be enforced.  We urge any country considering deviation to abandon those ideas and put plans in place to fulfill their enforcement responsibilities as of January 1, 2020, and we encourage the IMO to remind member states of their commitments,” Butler added.

Angus Frew, Secretary-General and CEO of BIMCO, observed that “The primary reason to move to low sulphur fuel is to improve air quality.  For nations not to implement this regulation is to continue to put at risk the health of their coastal populations.”

Brian Salerno, Senior Vice-President for Environmental Policy at CLIA, noted that “The cruise industry is prepared for the 2020 global sulphur limit through a diverse approach using low-sulphur fuels, alternative technologies such as exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) and new ships propelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel.  Consistent application of the requirements globally remains critical, as adopted by the IMO.”

IPTA Chairman, Manish Jain, commented “IPTA members are supportive of the IMO as the sole agency with the mandate to regulate global shipping.  1 January 2020 will herald a major change for ship operations and IPTA members have been working hard to prepare for it.  It is important that IMO member states play their part in ensuring consistent implementation of the global sulphur cap that they developed and adopted.”

Butler concluded: “There is a lot at stake for the IMO community here.  This regulation affects vessel operations 24/7/365 everywhere on the planet, and it will be expensive.  This will be an important test case for IMO member states to demonstrate that they will exercise the political will to implement and enforce the fuel sulphur limits they have adopted.”

The World Shipping Council is an association of liner shipping companies with offices in Brussels, Singapore and Washington, D.C.  Its members transport over 90 percent of containerized international trade and a high percentage of transoceanic vehicle carrier traffic.  BIMCO is the world’s largest international shipping association, with around 1,900 members in more than 120 countries. BIMCO’s global membership includes shipowners, operators, managers, brokers, agents and P&I clubs.   Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice for the global cruise community. CLIA supports policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment for more than 28 million passengers who cruise annually.  The International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA) represents the interests of the specialized chemical tanker sector.


Mr. John Butler
PH:  +1 202 589-0106

Mr. Rasmus Nord Jørgensen
PH: +45 44366836

Mr. Donnie Brown
PH: +1 202 759-6760

Ms. Janet Strode
PH: +44 (0)1305 251114


Rasmus Nord Jorgensen
in Copenhagen, DK


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