Effects of the 2020 IMO sulfur capIn January 2020, a new limit on the sulfur content in fuel oil was introduced by the IMO. The goal of the cap was to reduce the concentration of sulfur in the air, thus reducing air pollution and preventing harm to marine ecosystems as well as protecting human health. Ship operators were forced to switch to VLSFO to comply with the new regulation, leading to a higher demand for VLSFO which in turn caused the price of VLSFO to increase to 649 U.S. dollars per metric ton in January 2020.
Shortly afterward, the world was hit with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With production facilities shutting down worldwide, maritime transport considerably slowed, driving the price of VLSFO to a historic minimum of 251 U.S. dollars per metric ton in April 2020.