IMO 2020 – Low Sulphur Surcharge (LSS)

IMO 2020 – Low Sulphur Surcharge (LSS)


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has passed new regulations that require all shipping lines to switch to cleaner fuel with a maximum Sulphur content of 0.5%.

Effective from January 1st, the new IMO 2020 Low Sulphur Regulation will come into force, requiring all sea-going vessels to comply.


In order to sufficiently comply with the regulation, sulphur in fuel oil must be reduced from 3.50% to the new target of 0.50% in addition to the 0.10% sulphur limit already enforced in Emission Control Areas (ECA).

The objective of this regulation is to reduce the amount of sulphur oxide emissions which is expected to deliver major health and environmental benefits, including improvement of air quality and reducing risks of acidification in the oceans.


The new IMO 2020 Low Sulphur Regulation will impact the shipping industry globally, with shipping costs set to increase worldwide, as the cost of the Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) is expected to be significantly higher than the present High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO).

The Lines intend to recover the cost of complying with the Regulation by way of a Low Sulphur Surcharge (LSS), or by an increase to current Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) Surcharges.

The implementation dates range from 1st December 2019 to 1st January 2020.


To keep this as simple as possible while remaining transparent, we intend to pass the Surcharges for the BAF and new LSS charges at cost at the amount that we are charged.

As these costs are floating monthly and applied at different rates by different Shipping Lines/Vessel Operators, dependent on routes & port parings, we will confirm the applicable costs at the time of quoting for both FCL & LCL, as the shipping lines publish during the implementation process.


Further information can be found on the IMO website in the following link –


Should you require any further information or details, please do not hesitate to e-mail or call us – e-mail: or TEL: 1300 814 743.

Got a freight problem you need help solving?

Get in touch with our efficient, expert and customer-service-focused team today and we’ll come back to you within one business day.