IMO 2020: What it means and how it will affect your shipping prices

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – a UN agency responsible for marine safety – has passed the IMO 2020. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is IMO 2020?

IMO 2020 is a regulation to reduce the amount of sulfur oxide, a harmful pollutant, that ships are permitted to emit.

Starting January 1, 2020, ships must use low sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) or have scrubbers installed to remove sulfur from the ship’s exhaust.

How will IMO 2020 affect shipping costs?

Both LSFO and scrubber installation mean new expenses, so carriers are introducing surcharges to cover these costs.

How do these charges affect shippers? Here are a few things to note.

  • Adjustments to these new regulations could cause some price fluctuations in the coming months
  • So far, the actual amount of these charges has varied

How do new IMO 2020 charges affect booking on Freightos?

As shippers on the Freightos marketplace, as always, what you see is what you get. That means every quote in your search result will already include any fuel charge.

There are different ways the charge may appear:

  • Itemized
  • Not itemized, but noted
  • Not itemized and not noted – but still included!


Here is a sample Freightos quote with IMO 2020 charges itemized:


IMO itemized charge


Here is a sample Freightos quote with IMO 2020 charges not itemized but noted:


IMO surcharge included


Rest assured that even if your quote does not note the surcharge, the Freightos seller policy prohibits adding fuel surcharges after you book.


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