Government suggests IMO review on low-sulphur fuel should be in 2015


Government today issued a story on the availability of low sulphur fuel, in which Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond suggested that the IMO's planned review should start at the earliest realistic date consistent with adequate information being practically available, which the UK considers to be January 2015.

David Balston, Director of Safety and Environment at the UK Chamber of Shipping made the following comment:

“The UK Chamber welcomes the proposal to bring forward the start date of the IMO’s fuel availability study.

“The sooner it can start the sooner the shipping and refining industries will have the certainty required to plan investment for the future.

“Given the time required for refiners to build new plant to meet the expected demand then ideally the study should have started already, but 2015 is preferable to 2017.

“The UK Chamber is greatly concerned about the impact for shipping operating in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs), for which targets to reduce sulphur are set for 2015.

“We fully support the move to reduce sulphur emissions from ships. But the speed at which shipping operators would be required to meet reduction targets, at huge cost, without sufficient technology in place to support the changes, along with the failure to date for these targets to take account of the overall need to reduce carbon emissions has been causing ship operators great concern for some time.

“Latest research shows that attempts to reach the 2015 target could cause adverse environmental effects with a modal shift from sea to road, result in a loss of 2,000 maritime services jobs and place many more industrial jobs under threat.”

You can read more about the report we commissioned from AMEC on the impact of European sulphur targets earlier this year on our website.


For further information please contact Gemma Wilkie, PR Manager at the UK Chamber of Shipping on 020 7417 2834 or

Notes to Editors

  • The UK Chamber of Shipping is the trade association for the UK shipping industry, working to promote and protect the interests of its members both nationally and internationally. With around 140 members from across the maritime sector, the UK Chamber represents over 925 ships of about 30 million gross tons and is recognised as the voice of the UK shipping industry.
  • UK shipping has a turnover of over £11bn. With indirect effects, UK shipping’s contribution to UK GDP is £13bn.
  • The UK Chamber is the home of the Merchant Navy Training Board - the shipping industry’s central body for promoting and developing seafarer education, training and skills, and provides MNTB administration and staffing arrangements.
  • The UK Chamber is a member of Maritime UK, which brings together the major associations representing the UK’s the shipping, ports and maritime business services sectors.
  • The UK Chamber is a lead partner in Sea Vision, the nationwide campaign working to raise awareness of the sea and the maritime sector, particularly amongst young people aged between 13 and 22 years old.