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From 2020 onward, a lower global limit for the sulfur content of ship fuels will enter into force: instead of currently 3.5%, the maximum permitted will be 0.5%. Many shipping companies therefore need to equip their ships with exhaust gas purification systems (‘scrubbers’) in order to be able to continue to burn heavy fuel oil (HFO). It is also anticipated that the limit values will continue to fall in the future, since the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is aiming to halve CO2 emissions by 2050.

For the SMM Maritime Industry Report (MIR) , Hamburg trade fair SMM therefore asked more than 1,400 employees from the shipbuilding industry which fuel they would prefer in future. Around 45% of the shipping companies surveyed specified LNG (liquefied natural gas) , although very few ships currently have such a propulsion system. The pioneer is the cruise industry, where 26 ships with LNG propulsion are currently under construction or being planned. As alternatives, respondents predominately cited hybrid solutions that combine marine diesel with batteries or battery technology with LNG, for example. Around two thirds of shipping companies stated that they would have to convert their ships accordingly. 29% want to build new ships.