Shipowners that opt for scrubber installations may face disappointing returns, judging from the price spread in current fuel derivative trading, according to some industry officials.

According to the IMO, vessels will need to switch from high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) to 0.5%-sulphur fuels from 2020 unless they have exhaust gas cleaning systems onboard.

With general industry expectation that HSFO would be sold at a discount of $250-$300 per tonne to compliant fuels in the initial periods post-2020, many shipowners were rushing to install scrubbers last year.