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Ship owners and managers expect to face higher vessel operating costs over the next two years than they did in 2011, with lube and crew costs posting the biggest increases, according to a new survey by a shipping consultant.

Respondents predominantly based in Europe and Asia who answered the poll by Moore Stephens said they anticipate their operating expenditures to go up 3 percent in both 2012 and 2013 compared with 20122.

The costs of lubricants are expected to increase most significantly—by 2.9 percent and 2.8 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Crew wages, meanwhile, are seen to rise by 2.3 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013, with other crew costs thought likely to increase 2.1 percent for both years under review.

“Ship operating costs increased by an average of 2.1% across all the main ship types in 2011, and it is unsurprising that our latest survey anticipates that costs will rise by a greater margin in both 2012 and 2013,” said Moore Stephens shipping partner Richard Greiner.

Expenditures on spares are expected to escalate by 2.2 percent in each of the two years covered, on stores by 2.1 percent in both 2012 and 2013, and on repairs and maintenance by 2.1 percent and 2.2 percent in the same years.

The increase in protection and indemnity (P&I) costs for 2012 and 2013 is estimated to be 2.1 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, while for hull and machinery insurance the respective figures are 1.9 percent and 2 percent.

Dry-docking costs over the same period are expected to rise by 1.9 percent and 2 percent. As was the case in the 2011 survey, management fees were deemed likely to produce the lowest level of increase in both 2012 and 2013, at 1.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Several respondents expressed concern about overtonnaging as well as the difficulty of obtaining finance, declining freight rates, and the cost of increasingly stringent regulatory compliance. “Legislation coming into force, including that affecting labour conditions and the environment,” said one of the polled, “will have a major impact on operating costs for older tonnage.”

Respondents also identified three factors that were most likely to influence the level of vessel operating costs over the next 12 months: finance costs (27 percent of respondents), crew supply (20 percent), and competition (18 percent).

Demand trends, labor costs, competition, and raw materials costs were other significant influencing factors which featured in the responses to the survey.


Photo: gvgoebel

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