Addressing Low Sulphur Bunker Fuel 2020

Kuala Lumpur 
20 August 2019


The International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) regulation to reduce sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships first came into force in 2005 under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI – progressive reductions have been effective since then. Sulphur limits in fuel oil used by ships operating outside designated emission control areas (SECA) will be further reduced to 0.5% m/m effective 1st January 2020, in effort to promote health and environmental benefits for populations living in port and coastal areas.

In view of the impending enforcement, the conference aimed to raise awareness and facilitate compliance and implementation of the requirements. The discussions addressed impacts of the global sulphur cap, and issues related to fuel oil availability, handling of new fuels, sampling and verification procedures, compliance challenges, mitigation of safety aspects as well as enforcement.

The conference was hosted by Port Klang Authority (PKA) and coordinated by the Centre for Coastal and Marine Environment (CMER) of MIMA to help the industry make informed decisions ahead of 2020 – providing the opportunity for participants to exchange views on challenges and preparations for the IMO requirements. The conference was supported by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) Malaysia and co-sponsored by Northport and Westports Malaysia.

YB Loke Siew Fook, Minister of Transport Malaysia, officiated the forum. He was accompanied by YBhg. Datuk Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman, Secretary-General, MoT, and Yang Berhormat Ean Yong Hian Wah, Chairman of PKA.

YB Loke delivering his keynote speech.

In his keynote address, YB Loke said that intensive work is in progress involving relevant stakeholders on several fronts, including the identification of issues related to bunker supply and demand, licensing of service providers, integrity aspects including quality and quantity of fuel, competency of personnel in the bunkering industry, and construction and operational standards of bunker vessels. He also said that equal emphasis will be given to formulating government policies that will spur and stimulate the industry given the huge economic spin-offs that can be derived from the bunkering industry. He stated that all feedback and outcome of consultations with stakeholders will be referred to the government for approval, to embark on improvement and changes that will launch the bunkering industry towards greater excellence and complement the role of ports to better serve the shipping industry.

Yang Berhormat Ean Yong Hian Wah in his welcoming speech emphasised the need for port authorities to satisfy economic demands and industrial activities in line with sustainable developments, compliance with rules and regulations, and risk reduction. He assured that Malaysian ports aimed to promote safety, health, and environmental agendas in its day-to-day operations. At the same time, a better working environment is being established that will benefit both port workers and their customers. YB Ean elaborated that ports aspired to have more interactions and to educate surrounding communities regarding port operations and environmental programmes through the implementation of sustainable practices. He stressed the need for Malaysian ports to provide recent and reliable information regarding its sustainable development in order to enhance international competitiveness and fulfil national obligations to the IMO requirements for safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

YB Ean delivering his welcoming speech.

Some 280 participants attended the conference. Featured speakers were policymakers and representatives from the industry and the bunkering sector, as well as port and shipping experts both local and international.

Conference participants listening to the speakers.

Major highlights included updates from the recent IMO’s Marine Environment Committee (MEPC) meetings and requirements, as well as Challenges and opportunities from the IMO 2020 global sulphur cap and the way forward for Malaysia.

The conference consisted of three main sessions. In the first session, the overall theme was set with speakers from national and regional platforms including the Malaysian Marine Department, INTERTANKO, Maritime Port Authority (MPA) Singapore, representatives from related agencies, as well as a video presentation from the IMO.

Speakers from Session One.

Session Two focused on stakeholders’ perspectives, which included presentations from industry players, encompassing both national and regional overviews on the subject area.

Speakers from Session Two.

The last session was a panel discussion addressing the way forward for Malaysia on low sulphur bunker fuel 2020 requirements.

Panellists from Session Three.

The organisers will be publishing an outcome report to share further details of the discussions for adoption, in preparation for the upcoming IMO requirements for low sulphur bunker fuel 2020.

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