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News: China Shipowners’ Association (CSOA) issue a draft proposal to Beijing requesting a temporary reprieve from IMO Rules

21 February 2020

As a result of the ongoing financial and logistical difficulties arising from coronavirus, Chinese shipping entities have raised concerns of their ability to comply with the more stringent IMO Sulphur Rules introduced in January 2020.

China Shipowners’ Association (CSOA), a group of more than 200 member companies, have issued a draft proposal to Beijing requesting a temporary reprieve from the IMO Rules, which require the use of fuels with a sulphur content of no more than 0.5%. Such submission is in anticipation of a potential shortage of low-sulphur fuel oil provisions in China, alongside ongoing financial concerns as coronavirus’ impact on the economy continues to deepen. Any suspension is likely to be part of a series of other measures, including tax cuts, which are being recommended by the Association to ease the financial pressure of coronavirus on the shipping industry.

Despite such application, there are concerns within the wider industry that any suspension of the sulphur cap could cause long term difficulties in respect of China’s reputation and status as a key country in the LSFO supply chain.

It is not clear whether the suspension, if granted, would apply to non-Chinese entities. As previously raised, members should continue to check with local agents and club correspondents for the latest information.