As the dash for exhaust gas cleaning installations accelerates, German’s Hapag-Lloyd in the latest container line to order scrubbers for ten of its 13,000 TEU Hamburg-class of container vessels.
The first of the hybrid-ready retrofits will be undertaken in March 2019 when the Hamburg Express docks at the Chinese shipyard, Qingdao Beihai. The other installations are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
Until recently, the company had indicated that it intended to use compliant fuels as a means of meeting the IMO’s January 2020 sulphur cap but Anthony Firmin, the company’s chief operating officer explained the present rationale. “Using compliant low-sulphur fuels is the key solution for Hapag-Lloyd. However, we want to make sure we test and make use of all relevant solutions, which is why we decided to also retrofit our Hamburg-class vessels with exhaust gas cleaning systems.”
Container lines are adopting different strategies in preparation for the sulphur cap, which is expected to add many millions of dollars to their fuel bills. Maersk Line and Hapag-Lloyd, for example, are amongst those which hope to pass on the higher cost of fuel to shippers, arguing that cleaning exhaust gases after burning dirty residual fuel that is not fit-for-purpose makes no sense. Hapag-Lloyd also has 17 new vessels in its fleet which can be converted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG ) and will retrofit one 15,000 TEU vessel in 2019 on a trial basis.
Other carriers such as MSC and Evergreen are investing in scrubber technology across many of their container ships. France’s CMA CGM plans a diversified strategy of burning 0.5% sulphur fuel, installing some scrubbers and operating some of its vessels on LNG.