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From January 1 2015, ships trading in the ECAs (emission control areas) in north Europe and north America will be compelled to burn bunker fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.1%. – a considerable reduction to the current maximum of 1%.

Low-sulphur fuel oil is some $300 per tonne more expensive than the heavy fuel oil currently on offer at around $600 per tonne. The looming extra cost is prompting carriers to: 1) put shippers on notice of surcharges and 2) look at ways to mitigate the cost by changing rotations or even reducing calls within ECAs in favour of calls outside these areas.

Here, shipping consultants Drewry in its Weekly Container Insight looks at the options being considered.