As OPEC countries gather in Vienna to discuss possible but unlikely production cuts that would increase the price of crude oil, the shipping world is preparing for its own rounds of discussions with Posidonia next week coinciding this year with CIMAC 2016 in Helsinki with SMM in Hamburg just around the corner in September. Posidonia is less an exhibition and more a networking event held in the heart of the world’s largest controlled fleet so while there may be some new launches and developments in the world of shipping technology, it is the other two events that are key in this regard. CIMAC is also not usually linked with launches but it is a very technical event and the several hundred papers that will be presented will shed some light on what engine, turbocharger and related equipment makers consider feasible and practical developments over the next few years. With efficiency and emissions always high on the IMO’s agenda, aspirations often exceed abilities of engine makers and their products. We have seen from events in the automotive sector how unrealistic demands on controlling emissions have led some makers to cheat the testing process. Volkswagen and Mitsubishi are the first to have been found out but others are also likely to have been involved. In shipping both the leading engine makers have also been found to have fallen short of the highest standards expected. Yesterday, the PARIS MoU announced it would be holding a CIC on emissions in 2018. At this early stage it is difficult to know exactly what the target will be, SOx obviously and NOx likely for new vessels subject to Tier III but it is also possible that with the EU pushing verification, measuring and reporting of CO2 that will also be on the cards. SMM this year will be the biggest ever which is a little surprising given the fall in newbuilding orders but with the imminent coming into force of the IMO Ballast Convention there will be a possible final chance for the growing ranks of treatment system makers to put themselves in front of shipowners. A chance too for exhaust gas cleaning system makers to show off their wares before the possible 2020 introduction of the new lower global cap on sulphur. This year has not started well for shipping but the summer looks to be an interesting one for those interested in the technology.
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