As the company notes, after the implementation of the 2020 sulphur cap, companies that have opted scrubbers have a relatively smooth transition. On the other hand, the higher costs of very low sulphur fuel oils (VLSFOs), as well as concerns related to unexpected black carbon emission issue make matters more difficult for compliant fuels.

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Commenting on the emerging situation, Foreship EGCS Project Lead Olli Somerkallio, said that IMO 2020 has 'caught many off guard, with some in the market quickly shifting from contemplating whether a switch to scrubbers was advantageous to considering how soon they can practically do so.' This is enhanced by uncertainty regarding low-sulphur fuel oil, which makes owners reconsider whether they made the right choice on scrubbers.

Currently, latest figures from consultancy CRU, show that 3,756 vessels have scrubbers either installed or on order. By the end of 2020, up to 15% of ocean-going freight capacity will be using scrubbers, with the number now expected to grow to 20% by 2025.

Foreship also added that, in the run up to the 1 January deadline, equipment suppliers managed to reduce installation times, with several Ro-Ro freight vessel, tanker and bulker projects involving scrubbers installed as pre-outfitted modules to minimize works onboard.