Liners get a preview of alternative fuel costs

Two German consultancies have collaborated to pen a detailed report on expected bunker costs for the largest boxships afloat, the 24,000 teu so called megamaxes. The study has since been analysed by liner experts at Alphaliner who warn of the significantly elevated fuel bills shipping will face once alternative forms of energy are adopted.

The joint study by OCEANS ONE and GMW Consultancy finds that bunker costs for alternative fuels will be significantly higher with biofuels, for instance, predicted to be at least a factor of 2.5, but most likely a factor of four times higher than in the past.

The technical and commercial comparison provides a clear insight into the impact of different fuel options on capex, open, slot costs and total costs of ownership for operating a megamax and key pricing considerations for the different fuels are neatly encapsulated in the chart below.

Investment costs will no longer be as important as the availability and prices of the appropriate fuel

“Considering that in the past bunker costs represented about one third of slot costs per loaded container, it is clear that in the future fuel costs will be a main driver for transporting containers around the world,” Alphaliner stated in its most recent weekly report, having studied the German report.

Alphaliner argued investment costs will no longer be as important as the availability and prices of the appropriate fuel.

“Vertical integration, cooperation and joint development projects for fuel supply will be solutions for a viable decarbonization strategy and will decide the future success of shipowners,” Alphaliner suggested.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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