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6 ways for shippers to reduce bunker costs, says CEO BunkerEX

This is an appropriate moment to talk about reducing bunker costs. In fact, at any moment reduction of cost is welcome to the trade since it enhances the profit margin. What is business if it is not profit and what is a better business if it does not attract better profit? 

Emission regulations being round the corner, the shipping industry cannot afford to put on the back burner the efforts towards compliance. Fuel accounts for the major cost of the voyage and any innovative initiative that promises lesser fuel consumption will prove certainly an inviting option, if not a veritable temptation. 

Ishaan Hemnani BunkerEx Co-Founder and CEO comes out with some suggestions to reduce bunker costs and the industry perhaps will listen. 


Slow Steaming

This is an obvious one. Drag on a ship reduces “quadratically” with the speed, which is a fancy way of saying that going at twice the speed uses four times as much fuel due to the increased drag. Slow steaming is typically done at 18 knots – anything less is considered ‘super slow steaming’. Dropping speeds on a cargo ship from 27 to 18 knots can reduce fuel consumption by 59 percent. Bottom line: if you can afford the extra time, it’s worth slowing down.


Use an Intermediary

This might seem less obvious. Why use an intermediary when you can do it yourself? The value of using a buying service such as BunkerEx or a broker is that they can get you a bigger discount than the cost of their fee. A good channel will have strong relationships with suppliers and valuable information at hand to advise their clients on when to buy, who to buy from and who to avoid. Studies show that using a intermediary reduces the risk of a claim, so in the long run they can reduce your bunker costs significantly. With our online platform, there are no fees for buyers and supplier fees are fixed and transparent, creating a strong incentive to obtain the lowest price. 

Account for the “Extras”

Barge fees, calling costs, port charges and extra fees can significantly increase the “per metric ton” price quoted. It’s important to bunker in the most efficient location, taking into account all extra charges and measuring this against the cost of deviating to the anchorage or another port. Using the latest port mapping technology and calling cost APIs, our system can quickly compare and determine the cheapest bunker port once all extra charges are taken into account. 

Increase Supply Chain Transparency

Many bunker purchases contain middlemen between the vessel and physical supplier. Every extra person in the chain will take a fee. To reduce your costs, it’s important to understand who these middlemen are and what value they bring to the delivery. Ensure all participants are adding value along the chain, and that you’re not indirectly losing on extra fees and commissions. 

Using a fully transparent platform like BunkerEx allows you to control who you are buying from, with no risk of paying higher fees than needed. This ultimately results in greater savings for the owner or charterer. 

Cover More Suppliers in the Market

Relying on bunker experts (i.e. brokers, traders or in-house buyers) is recommended, but it’s important they have covered enough of the market to create a more competitive enquiry. A lot of brokers will continue to reuse the same suppliers again and again. Although this might be comfortable for them, complacency often results in higher prices. 

With BunkeEx, we tell you who all the reputable suppliers are, and let you decide how many you want to cover. This ensures increased competitiveness for your bunker stem and almost always results in cost savings. 

Reduce the Risk of Claims

Every supplier you deal with should have a solid track record. It’s important to constantly monitor all supplier’s trading activity, their claim ratios and if they have had any recent issues or key personnel changes. 

BunkerEx vets and tracks all of our suppliers and traders 24/7 to reduce the risk of a claim and ensure smooth operations. Bunker systems with a clean and well-run process for choosing suppliers will always be less likely to cause a delivery dispute and hence create savings over time.


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