Trade conflicts, new fuel regulations, environmental and climate protection are among the top issues the shipping industry will face in 2020, claims Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen.
With International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s 2020 sulphur regulations now in effect, Hapag-Lloyd expects additional costs of around US$1bn per year as it makes the switch to low-sulphur fuel oil on a majority of its vessels.
The regulations, which came into effect at the start of January, meaning that shipping lines have only been allowed to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%.
Jansen said: “On the one hand, this marks a milestone for the entire industry on its path to becoming more eco-friendly. On the other hand, the new cap also presents a major challenge to container shipping companies.”
In addition to IMO 2020, environmental and climate protection are expected to play an important role for the industry in the year to come.
The European Commission is considering extending emissions trading to the shipping industry, meaning that shipping companies would have to pay for their CO2 emissions in the future.
Should this happen suitable, alternative fuels which can help to reduce CO2 emissions, meet regulatory requirements and cut costs will need to be made available to the industry, he added.
Another issue that Jansen believes will persist in 2020 are the ongoing trade war. He added: “We live in times that continue to be turbulent in political terms.
“Trade conflicts can have an impact on trade routes, and they can steer global economic growth in one direction, but also in the other. We will have to live with these possible fluctuations and manage them as best we can.”
Despite this, Hapag-Lloyd wants to continue to pursue its goal of becoming the number one for quality among carriers.
In the near future, the company has planned to publish a set of quality promises by which it will be measured going forward.
The shipping line has also planned to continue to invest heavily in digital products and services as well as continuing to concentrate on expanding its business in growth regions such as Africa, the Middle East and India.