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COPENHAGEN: Maersk Line says it will cost an extra US$200 million a year to switch to low-sulphur bunker fuel as a result of new international regulations.

To offset the additional cost, the carrier will introduce a surcharge on January 01, 2015 in so-called Emission Control Areas (ECA) in North Europe (Including the Baltic Sea, North Sea and English Channel) and North America (200 nautical miles from American and Canadian shorelines).

ECA The levy will be trade-specific and apply equally to headhaul/backhaul and dry/reefer cargo. Surcharges will range from US$30 per FFE to US$160 depending on the specific trade route. The company will apply a further US$100 charge per FFE to cargo originating in the Baltic region – Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Maersk says applying a separate surcharge provides better transparency to customers than if it had integrated it into an existing bunker surcharge. The new cost will be reviewed ever quarter and adjusted based on the price of low-sulphur fuel.

As a result of the switch, sulphur emissions (SOx) will be reduced by 90 percent in the ECA areas says the carrier. A similar agreement for Pacific trades is also being developed. Declaring full support for the switch to low-sulphur fuel as long as the regulation is strictly enforced to provide a "level playing field" for all ship operators, Maersk notes SOx emissions are toxic and can cause respiratory problems as well as acid rain.

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