EU backs scrubber initiative

DFDS lines up state aid that will be applied toward the installation of exhaust scrubbers.

DFDS is moving forward with a campaign aimed at maintaining compliance with increasingly stringent emissions standards following a pledge of financial support from the European Union.

In a statement the Danish ro-ro operator said it will apply the DKK 47.2m ($8.6m) award towards the installation of scrubbers on five ships that work loops linking Belgium to the UK.

The Oslo-listed carrier pointed out that it has been testing a newly-developed scrubber on one of its freighters since 2009 and plans to equip 21 vessels with a similar system in the coming years, an initiative that could cost as much as DKK 750m in total.

“With a scrubber the ships will be able to meet the requirements in the new environmental legislation that comes into force on the Baltic, the North Sea and the English Channel on 1 January 2015,” it told investors Tuesday.

"The new environmental legislation is a challenge for the shipping companies who are working hard to avoid sea transport becoming so expensive that large proportions of freight traffic will move to the roads,” added CEO Niels Smedegaard.

DFDS described a scrubber as an installation that weighs approximately 70 tons and removes sulphur particles from exhaust that flows through a ship’s funnel system. While the cost can vary it claims the system averages DKK 40m per vessel.