Cleaner but costlier shipping fuel rule may raise prices

New international rules requiring ships to burn cleaner, but more expensive fuel could raise consumer prices, affecting everything from the cost of filling pickup trucks to the price of an airline ticket.

The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency that oversees international shipping, will impose the new pollution rules later this year, forcing most of the shipping industry to shift from a cheap, dirty fuel with high sulfur content to low-sulfur marine fuels made with diesel. That move, The Houston Chronicle reports, is projected to raise the fuel costs of the shipping industry, which moves about 90% of the world’s cargo, by about $60 billion.

Shippers appear likely to pass along those higher costs to their customers, which in turn could push at least some of those costs by raising the prices of a wide variety of consumer goods.

Shipping company Maersk, which controls about a fifth of the world’s container shipping market, says the rules will increase its fuel bill by $2 billion. In response, the company is planning to add a fuel surcharge starting this month to recoup those costs. Read the full story.

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