Installations of the exhaust cleaning systems will begin on three vessels in 2019 and the remaining three in 2020.
Pacific shipping company Matson Inc. announced Monday it has started the installation of scrubbers on six ships deployed in its Hawaii and China-Long Beach Express services to reduce its fleet emissions in line with the regulations established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that take effect Jan. 1.
The installation of the exhaust cleaning systems will cost an estimated $10 million per ship, a Matson spokesperson told American Shipper Thursday via email. The Maunawili and Manulani will receive scrubbers this year, while installation work on the Manukai will begin this year and finish in early 2020. The three additional ships — the R.J. Pfeiffer, Manoa and Maunalei — will receive scrubbers in 2020.
The IMO 2020 mandate requires ships to use fuel with a sulfur content of 0.5% or less, which is down from the fuel with a 3.5% sulfur content used today, unless they are equipped with scrubbers to remove sulfur from the engine exhaust. Matson said new low-sulfur fuels designed to meet the stricter emission standard have been in development for years, but there is still uncertainty about their costs and availability.
“Because of unpredictability in the way fuel markets may develop over the next few years, Matson’s IMO compliance strategy retains the flexibility to implement the most economical solutions as conditions evolve,” Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer John Lauer said in a statement.
Matson’s fleet renewal program is replacing four older ships with new vessels that are equipped with dual-fuel engines designed to run on new low-sulfur fuels or liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company said it invested more than $400 million in its 3,600-TEU Aloha Class containerships. The Kaimana Hila was christened in March and its sister ship, Daniel K. Inouye, went into service in November.
Two additional ConRo ships in the Kanaloa Class, which will be built on a 3,500-TEU vessel platform with enclosed garage space for up to 800 vehicles or breakbulk cargo, represent an investment of more than $500 million, the company said. The Lurline is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter and the Mastonia is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2020.
“The two ships will replace three diesel-powered vessels in active service, which will be moved to reserve status,” Matson’s website reads. “With delivery of the Kanaloa Class ships, along with its two new Aloha Class ships, Matson will have completed the renewal of its Hawaii fleet, allowing it to retire its seven older steamship vessels that will no longer comply with environmental regulations in 2020 without substantial modification.”
Matson, which reported a first-quarter net income of $12.5 million, also installed scrubbers on three vessels in its Alaska fleet in 2015 and 2016.