IMO 2020 fuel surcharges push container rates higher

This is a crucial time for container lines. Their future financial health relies upon whether or not they can pass along new fuel costs to cargo shippers.

Only three weeks remain until the IMO 2020 regulation takes effect. On Jan. 1, all vessels without exhaust-gas scrubbers will have to switch from cheaper 3.5% sulfur fuel to more expensive 0.1-0.5% sulfur fuel.

In the case of larger container ships doing long-haul routes, that transition has almost certainly already occurred (to prevent a ship from still carrying 3.5% sulfur fuel in mid-voyage on the deadline day).

Container lines implemented their IMO 2020 surcharges on…

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