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IMO 2020 Fuels the Sustainable Transition of the Shipping Sector

IMO 2020

IMO 2020 Fuels the Sustainable Transition of the Shipping Sector

The deadline for the much-anticipated IMO 2020 regulation has arrived and with it comes a new set of challenges, potential solutions and newfound awareness of the impact this will have on all players within the shipping sector—from shippers to fuel suppliers. Reports of vessels found to be noncompliant have already shown up in news headlines while fuel alternatives, such as fuel blends, continue to present new degrees of barriers to overcome.

There’s no doubt that the end-goal for IMO 2020 is ultimately beneficial, but attaining its goal of reduced emissions globally will undoubtedly continue to present new varieties of disruptions that industry players and lawmakers around the world must strategically think through. David McCullough, a partner in the Energy & Infrastructure practice group at the New York office of Eversheds Sutherland, discussed with Global Trade the ways the industry is handling compliance so far.

“For shippers, it’s a contractual and compliance issue,” McCullough explains, “meaning reviewing their contractual agreements to charter the vessels to determine what liability is being shifted to them and their contracts to purchase bunker fuel, all while trying to find the appropriate balance of where liability should fall in the event of noncompliance.

“The second aspect is to review their compliance procedures, namely reviewing sampling and testing procedures recommended by the IMO and IMO 2020 itself,” McCullough continued. “It’s also a document retention aspect because under certain charter party agreements, they can be liable for noncompliance in the bunker delivery notes or for general noncompliance.”

McCullough noted that “For the first time ever, bunker fuel tanks are needing to be cleaned and that is largely on the owner and operator of the vessel. The individual shipper may need to coordinate with them to ensure that has happened. Being proactive can mean looking at their vessel owner’s implementation plan and ensuring these have been implemented without issue. The vast majority of companies will comply, but there’s likely a very discreet universe of companies out there that may not comply with the IMO 2020 requirements or have taken minimal steps at this point. Analysts often say these companies represent between 10-20 percent of voyages in the first year of IMO 2020.”

Beyond the issue of noncompliance remains unanswered questions to existing and potential disruptions with the regulation, from contracts and jurisdictions right down to fuel components and the controversial provisions found in the Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (FONAR). How these issues will be handled in unique and changing circumstances remains unknown and it’s uncertain how the answers will come about and what their impact will be on industry players.

“The FONAR legal standard states that the vessel needs to make best efforts to find compliant fuel but need not deviate from its voyage plan in doing so,” McCullough clarifies. “This is a real open question, specifically for port states, in how liberal they will be with these provisions. We don’t have a definition over this standard yet. Does not deviating from your voyage plan mean shippers don’t have to look for a different berth at the same terminal or a different dock or anchoring point? What about a different terminal within the same port? What about a different port that is nearby?

“Industry players also aren’t sure if they will need to look at the availability of compliant fuel oil or if there’s a need to look at the availability of distillate fuel because presumably, in many ports, there will be ultra-low-Sulphur distillate or low Sulphur distillate fuel available. There is the question if companies will have to be required to put No. 2 ULSD into the bunker fuel tank at an extreme premium or not. This is unlikely, but those questions and how individual countries implement those standards are real implementation questions. If they’re overly lenient in issuing FONARs, it could undercut the market for low-Sulphur fuel.”

McCullough goes on to explain additional associated risks can result in a noncompliant blend, vessel engine performance issues or the fuel and distillates separating, creating added issues in compliance. There’s also the concern of the distillate fuel cleaning the bunker fuel tanks and knocking loose the residue not previously able to be cleaned, according to the law partner.

“Compatibility of fuel blends could remain a challenge for some time—only time will tell if this is a real concern,” McCullough says. “The industry has a new product that is coming on the market meeting the IMO 2020 standard using blends of fuel oil and distillate of varying degrees. This results in different characteristics and components and it’s unknown how a blend created in one jurisdiction reacts with a blend from another. This is still an open question and something that is of significant concern.

“We might start seeing a rebalance in the marketplace as far as contractual provisions go as time goes by, with some counterparties requiring that the new fuels will be compatible with the fuel existing in the tank, or bunker fuel suppliers stating that their fuel is compatible with certain type of blends.” He adds it will be the marketplace that determines that issue.

These unresolved challenges and works in progress arrive as compliance efforts directly impact market investments, specifically in the United States and Singapore. Global companies and competitors that get away with noncompliance from a regulatory or a contractual standpoint ultimately undercut compliant company business models. Because these regions are heavily invested in regulations such as IMO 2020, there lies an expectation for enforcement. Whether these challenges are addressed now or later will be seen in the weeks to come as more shippers are faced with tough decisions if they want to continue operations.


David McCullough is a partner in the Energy & Infrastructure practice group at the New York office of Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP.

He adds to the above:  “Certain countries–such as the United States and Singapore—are well-positioned to comply with the standards in terms of availability of low-Sulphur fuel and active companies in those jurisdictions that have made significant investments in those jurisdictions have really wanted to see robust compliance and enforcement due to the local interests that have made such investments and their concern that noncompliance just undercuts their investments. There’s a number of companies with very significant financial incentives to ensure robust compliance with the standard and as a result, because you have two countries (U.S. and Singapore) with high interest and investment in seeing this law enforced, the industry will very quickly see the rates of compliance increase significantly.”

ETW Energietechnik

ETW Energietechnik Reports CHP Units with SCR catalysts Overall Efficiency 85 percent+

The Rems-Murr waste management company in Backnang-Neuschöntal in Baden-Württemberg has two new energy-efficient combined heat and power plants in which methane from biogas plants is co-incinerated. From 2023 onwards, they will emit five times less nitrogen oxide than today.

On 23 October 2019, two new combined heat and power (CHP) plants of the municipal waste management company Rems-Murr (AWRM) went into operation in Backnang-Neuschöntal. They were built by the company ETW Energietechnik GmbH from Moers in North Rhine-Westphalia. For the renewal, the two old gas engines of the waste management company were replaced after 65,000 operating hours and more than eight years of operation. This resulted in a leap in efficiency, which is essentially based on the installation of the larger, more powerful gas engines as well as the further developed gas engine technology. In addition, fuel savings are achieved by using the residual methane content in the fermentation residue exhaust air.

ETW Energietechnik took a step-by-step approach to this: First, the used CHP engines with 800 kilowatts (kW) each were dismantled. At the same place, the company installed two new larger gas engines with an electrical output of 1560 and 1200 kilowatts. These are each container CHP units, i.e. the power plants fit into a special container measuring 14 by 3.2 by 3 metres.

First, there is the container CHP “ETW 1560 BG” with a gas genset MWM TCG 2020 V16 (electrical output: 1560 kW, thermal output: 1528 kW, fuel input: 3683 kW). The second is the container CHP “ETW 1200 BG” with a gas aggregate MWM TCG 2020 V12 (electrical output: 1200 kW, thermal output: 1153 kW, fuel input: 2804 kW).

Compared with the old gensets, the changeover increases the electrical efficiency by almost 1.6 percentage points: Whereas the used CHP units had an electrical efficiency of 40.4 percent, this now amounts to 42 percent. The overall efficiency of the plant increases slightly to 85 percent.

The heat utilization concept contributes significantly to this high figure. The waste heat from the block-type thermal power stations is used to heat the fermenters and the operating building. The excess waste heat is then made available to the city of Backnang for drying sewage sludge.

A further leap in efficiency is achieved by a special feature of the plant: fermentation residue exhaust air is added to the combustion air of the gas engines. Although this exhaust air has too low a methane content (less than 1.75 percent) for it to be used directly in a gas engine, the plant is able to use it in a gas engine. However, by mixing it into the combustion air, the low methane content is made usable. This has a further advantage: This methane content in the combustion air does not have to be supplied via the biogas pipe and can, therefore, be saved on the biogas side.

“This was the first time that we have equipped an ETW plant in this way,” reports Alexander Szabo. The engineer is the responsible sales manager at ETW Energietechnik.

The municipal waste management company hopes that this exchange will enable it to make CHP operation more variable in the future due to the higher engine output while maintaining the same gas quantities during the day. In addition, the waste management company is expecting an increase in the amount of electricity fed into the public grid.

For the pilot project, the fermentation residue exhaust air extracted from the liquid fertilizer storage tanks and the sedimentation tank of the biogas plant is cleaned by a gas washer-dryer and then fed into the combustion air supply of the gas engines. To avoid an ignitable mixture in the combustion air, the fermentation residue exhaust air freed from hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is continuously monitored by means of gas analysis.

The system update is sustainable in that two expected changes in legislation in Germany are already being fulfilled:

-One is the use of residual methane in the fermentation residue exhaust air to prevent greenhouse gas from escaping. This system was designed by the planning company Ingenieurgruppe RUK GmbH from Stuttgart.

-It has already been decided that CHP plants from 2023 may not emit more than 100 milligrams of nitrogen oxides (NOx) per cubic meter. Currently, this upper limit is 500 mg/m³. These values apply in each case at a residual oxygen content of five percent. This is stated in the Ordinance on Medium-Sized Combustion, Gas Turbine, and Internal Combustion Engine Installations, the 44th Federal Immission Control Ordinance (44th BImSchV), which was updated in June 2019.

In order to avoid later, costly retrofitting of the exhaust system, both cogeneration plants have therefore already been equipped with modern nitrogen oxide catalytic converters. The catalytic elements are mounted on a ceramic carrier. This SCR technology – SCR stands for “Selected Catalytic Reduction” – is the only technology for reducing the amount of sick oxides (NOx) in the exhaust gas of the gas engine. The nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas are composed of nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

To reduce nitrogen oxides, Adblue must be injected into the exhaust system – this mixture has a urea content of 32.5 percent. The high exhaust gas temperature converts Adblue into ammonia. The ammonia reacts with the nitrogen oxides on the catalytic surface of the catalyst elements with the following reaction formula: 4NO + 4NH3 + O2 4N2 + 6H2O

ETW Energietechnik has already installed some of the SCR catalytic converter elements. These reduce – even without urea injection – formaldehyde in the exhaust gas. Formaldehyde (CH2O) is converted into water and CO2. The complete SCR catalytic converter system including urea injection will not go into operation until 2023. In order to comply with the stricter limits, only minor retrofitting is then required due to the modern exhaust gas cleaning system (see below).

Following the award of the contract for the new CHP plants, ETW Energietechnik GmbH was also awarded the contract for the extension of the waste fermentation plant. This includes the entire process, measurement, and control technology. The scope of supply also includes the gas wash drying plant for the fermentation residue exhaust air.

Retrofitting for NOx reduction
In 2022, ETW Energietechnik will retrofit the two combined heat and power plants so that they can comply with the limit value for nitrogen oxides of 100 mg/m³ from 2023 onwards:

A urea tank, the stainless steel piping between urea tank and injection, a suction line into the gas engine and a urea dosing device are still needed. This requires an air compressor, pressure and temperature sensors, nitrogen oxide and oxygen sensors upstream and downstream of the catalytic converter. For this purpose, the catalyst housing is completely equipped with catalyst elements.

A container CHP in side view with biological
The insulated SCR-catalytic converter
housing with demountable insulation elements to replace the catalytic converter


ETW Energietechnik GmbH has been developing and producing energy plants in Moers, Germany, since 1997. The company‘s core business comprises the construction and maintenance of combined heat and power (CHP) plants in the output range of 400 to 4,600 kWel. as well as highly efficient Biogas Upgrading plants that produce pure Biomethane out of raw Biogas using a high-end PSA technology.

The company is a one-stop provider: From the transfer of biogas to the feed- in of power into the grid and the provision of heat, ETW also takes care of the construction, commissioning, and maintenance of CHP and Biogas Upgrading plants.

The clientele of ETW Energietechnik GmbH includes large energy suppliers, agricultural plants, municipalities, and industrial businesses of various types and sizes, all of which attach importance to eco-friendly, economic energy generation.

One of the strategic highlights is the implementation of economic, sustainable plant concepts that are planned individually and adapted to the respective requirements. A qualified service team ensures operational reliability and maximum availability of the plants.

The medium-sized, family-owned enterprise employs a staff of nearly 100 and is managed by its founder Helmut Weiss and his two sons Marco and Carsten.

Coalition For Clean Air Recognizes TTSI for Sustainable Initiatives

The Coalition For Clean Air awarded what is known as the highest award focusing on air quality initiatives to Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI) during the 28th annual Clean Air Awards program. TTSI is a Southern California-based logistics leader specializing in distributing imports throughout North America. TTSI President Victor La Rosa was part of the recognition for spearheading efforts in creating a sustainable company culture and operations, specifically related diesel truck fleets.

“When we committed to the zero-emission transportation pathway, all the technology companies who are manufacturing in the alternative fuels sector sought us out, said Vic La Rosa. “At TTSI, we’ve all learned about alternative fuel technologies, sustainability, and why reducing emissions from diesel matters. We are committed to the environment. We have a Director of Compliance and Sustainability, which has been very fruitful for TTSI, as they’ve been able to focus on what new technologies are emerging that we should incorporate.”

The annual Coalition for Clean Air evaluates and identifies leaders promoting environmental awareness and sustainable initiatives throughout California. TTSI’s focus on clean technology in trucking and supply chain industries is attributed for this year’s recognition, adding to previous recognition from the EPA, the California Air Resources Board and many  Congressional members.

“This year’s California Air Quality Awards Honoree, Vic La Rosa, founded TTSI in 1986, to create a customer-focused business that makes a difference in the trucking industry. TTSI distinguished itself early on by its commitment to sustainable practices and by fostering a company-wide awareness of the urgency to reduce diesel emissions. Vic has tested and put in operation every single type of heavy-duty truck available and has set himself the ambitious goal of converting his entire fleet to zero or near-zero-emission vehicles by 2020,” said the Coalition for Clean Air.

“Vic La Rosa understands clearly that the market is dominated by outdated diesel vehicles and feels there is room for all available clean technologies like renewable natural gas, hydrogen, battery or fuel cell technology,” said Joe Lyou, President & CEO, Coalition for Clean Air and a board member at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “Like us, Vic hopes that the technology providers will come together to remove diesel trucks from California roads so that we can start making progress toward a clean air future! We’re going to clean up the trucks that use the ports, rail yards and warehouses and Vic is the guy who’s making that happen.”

Source: EIN News


Representatives from the Port of Los Angeles, three regional air pollution control districts, two National Marine Sanctuaries and a member of Congress and the California State Senate gathered in Wilmington, CA, on March 6 to recognize 12 shipping companies that participated in the 2018 Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program.

Those receiving awards for reducing speeds in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Santa Barbara Channel region were: Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Great American Lines (GALI), K Line, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Ro-Ro Division, Hyundai Glovis, COSCO, Evergreen, Hapag Lloyd, Maersk, CMA CGM, Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Yang Ming.

Leadership from participating and supporting agencies and organizations there to recognize the shipping companies included: Lisa Wunder, Marine Environmental manager at the Port of LA; Aeron Arlin Genet of the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District; Mike Villegas of the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District; and Michael Murphy of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Also, Chris Mobley of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary; Dan Howard, NOAA Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary; and representatives for U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach, CA) and State Senator Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach, CA).


Dachser Adds eActros to Test Operations

Dachser Intelligent Logistics announced it will begin test operations with the all-electric, 18-ton Mercedes-Benz eActros for its Emission-Free Delivery program concept in Stuttgart, Germany. Currently boasting a 4-5 metric ton payload, the eActros test operations will ultimately support Dachser’s current emissions-free delivery efforts with other electric vehicles in the Stuttgart region. In addition to the eActros capabilities, Dachser employs maneuverable, electrically assisted cargo bikes as well as an all-electric 7.5-ton FUSO eCanter truck.

Features of the eActros include 240 kWh lithium-ion batteries capable of charging within two hours, 18 pallet space capacity, and a range of 125 miles. The eActros prototype was projected to begin large-scale production in 2021 by Mercedes-Benz Trucks. 

“We’ll be using the eActros for transporting deliveries both directly to customers and to the microhub in the Heslach district of Stuttgart. And for the last mile, we’ll use pedelecs, electrically assisted cargo bikes that are also part of our emission-free vehicle portfolio,” Markus Maurer, General Manager of Dachser’s Kornwestheim branch.

Dachser continues to implement emissions-free options to determine the best options for sustainable transportation in delivering groupage shipments. In addition to the Stuttgart, Dachser confirmed test operations are underway in other regions including Berlin, Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Málaga, Mannheim, Paris, Tübingen, and Ulm.

“We’re not looking to take a one-size-fits-all approach; instead, we want to come up with a range of solutions, each of them focused on optimizing deliveries, routes, and times,” says Stefan Hohm, Corporate Director, Corporate Solutions, Research & Development at Dachser.

Source: Dachser

Report: Emissions Control Areas can Prevent Premature Deaths

Findings from an impact assessment from France show the potential for a decrease in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels up to 76% through the implementation of an Emissions Control Area in the Mediterranean region. Additional findings confirmed up to 6,000 lives can be saved every year from reducing air pollution from shippers in the Mediterranean through switching to better grade marine fuels and the ECA.

“The study shows the need for a Mediterranean emission control area. The French environmental ministry must now take its role as a leader and search for support in as much Mediterranean countries as possible,” explained Charlotte Lepitre, health policy officer at FNE.

“We see that a combined sulphur and nitrogen emission control area will have the greatest effect for the people living in the coastal areas. If governments cooperate well such a regulation could come into effect as early as 2022,” said Beate Klünder, transport policy officer at NABU.

Additional findings from the report confirmed a 100 percent reduction in SO2 in port areas and a 76 percent decrease in NO2 for coastal areas and East of the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, the report outlined the efforts can prevent 6,000 premature deaths due to the reduction of the particle pollution. The ECA also has the potential to bring 8 to 14 billion Euro savings of health costs per year

“Now that there is clear evidence for significant socio-economic benefits there is no excuse to further postpone an implementation. Any delay let people suffer longer than necessary and that is not acceptable at all.”

For more information on the report and its findings, please visit:

EDF Climate Fellow to Join APL Logistics Team

APL Logistics announced the latest addition to the company will further support the company’s vision to grow sustainable solutions by creating a Scope Three Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corpsfellow, Sriram Rachamadugu, is the man behind Scope Three which will be available for customer use late 2019. This solution will model GHG Protocol greenhouse gas reduction scenarios aligned with the Global Logistics Emissions Council’s (GLEC) carbon accounting methodology.

“We are focused on innovative opportunities to serve our customers,” said William Villalon, President of APL Logistics. The ability to model value chain emissions is a critical first step to signal investors that we are considering the business risks of climate change. APL Logistics continues to prepare for shifts in public policy and consumer preference, as we make decisions that consider the needs of future generations.”

APL Logistics’ Visual Intelligence Team is the main source of data as the calculator gathers resources from EDF Supply Chain Solutions Center to create sustainable solutions.

“Organizations like the Climate Action 100, a cohort of 300+ institutional investors controlling $33+ trillion, believe disclosing the risks of climate change is their fiduciary responsibility,” added Jessica Balsam, Director of Sustainability for APL Logistics. “We are providing results aligned with the business goals of customers concerned with investor pressure and the proliferation of global greenhouse gas pricing schemes. Over time, APL Logistics is prepared to be an active voice in shaping these issues and identifying collaborative partnerships for systems-based solutions.”

“Sriram’s calculator will provide APL Logistics with the data needed to set specific and measurable climate goals, an important step in any organization’s sustainability journey, as well as establish the groundwork for which future sustainability projects can be carried out,” said Scott Wood, Director of EDF Climate Corps

Southern California Inherits First All-Electric Refuse Truck for Residential Collection

Build Your Dreams (BYD) makes its mark in Carson, California with the delivery of its 8R Class 8 Automated Side Loader (ASL) to Waste Management Resources, a subsidiary of Waste Resource Technologies, Inc. (“WRT”). The heavy duty truck represents the first electric refuse truck to operate in a residential region in Southern California. Its features include a BYD-built cab, chassis and propulsion system along with an Amrep built ASL body.

“Amrep has earned a reputation for its unsurpassed and personal service, listening to customers and standing by its products,” said Eric Mattson, Amrep vice president and general manager. “Partnering with BYD on this electric truck is further evidence of our being in tune with the market and giving customers what they want and need.”

Waste Resources has already placed an additional order for the 8R Class 8 ASL as well as two of BYD’s 6R Class 6 Electric Refuse Trucks. Beyond the zero-emission benefits provided by BYD’s electric trucks, they provide a cost-effective option as they operate with a lower amount of moving parts than found with carbon burning trucks, simplifying overall maintenance efforts.

“WRT is a forward-thinking company that is embracing zero-emission technology for the benefit of the communities it serves,” said John Gerra, BYD Director of Business Development, Electric Trucks. “And we’re very happy with the great work that Amrep does to help provide our customers with state-of-the-art zero-emission electric trucks.”

“Electric collection trucks are part of our strategy to use clean, green and sustainable technologies for waste collection, processing and conversion. We applaud the City of Carson, California for allowing us the opportunity to roll out these technologically-advanced collection vehicles,” said Tommy Gendal, COO of WRT and Waste Resources.