BIMCO reports that by the start of July, the share of the containership fleet with scrubbers installed exceeded that of the crude oil tanker fleet. At that time, the container shipping sector became the most scrubber-fitted amongst the main cargo carrying ship types.
BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst, Peter Sand, commented that
In order to cut the sulphur oxides emission, shipowners who can afford to buy a scrubber have done so to a substantial extent, with investments predominantly directed towards high consumption ship types.
The shipping industry is choosing scrubbers in order to comply with the 2020 sulphur cap regulation imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which came into force on January 1st, 2020.
Moreover, it is stated that for VLCCs and Capesize sectors, scrubber-fitted ships as a share of the fleet (measured in DWT), currently amount to 30%. By year-end, the share is likely to have grown to 35%. For Post-Panamax (15,000+ TEU) the share has already exceeded 40% and is likely to reach 50% by the end of 2020.
Adding ongoing and pending scrubber retrofits to those that will be on board newbuilds brings the total scrubber capacity count to 8m TEU for containerships (31.6%), 141m DWT for crude oil tankers (30.9%) and 226m DWT of dry bulker capacity (23.5%) once all is installed.
At any time since the start of 2019, yards have mostly been retrofitting dry bulkers and containerships, whereas crude oil tankers have seen the lion’s share of scrubber installations occur on board newbuildings.
Sand concluded that
The debate on scrubber economics is all but gone now, as 2020 is in full swing and focus has turned towards COVID-19, and how that impacts the business … Cost savings are essential to all, but despite a considerable share of the fleets now being scrubber-fitted, the largest part of the fleet continues to operate without.