vessel operating costs rose for the second year in a row following two years of
marked declines, but cost inflation is set to accelerate on higher insurance
premiums, shipping consultancy Drewry said.
ship operating costs accelerated moderately in 2018 as the uncertain recovery
in freight markets across most cargo sectors gained momentum.
daily operating cost across the 46 different ship types and sizes covered in
the report rose 1.1% in 2018, succeeding the previous year’s rise of 0.7%,
according to Drewry. This followed a period in which opex spending
contracted over two consecutive years by almost 9% in 2015-16.
years witnessed sharp reductions in opex as the depressed state of shipping
markets forced operators to slash costs as a means for survival. But as freight
markets started to recover in 2017 so the pressure to reduce expenditure
“This trend continued into 2018, with a modest acceleration in cost
Dixon, Drewry’s director of research products, said.
assessments include vessels in the container, chemical, dry bulk, oil tanker,
LNG, LPG, general cargo, roro and reefer sectors, as well as the recently
introduced car carriers segment. 2018 represented the first time in seven years
that all vessel sectors recorded rising average operating costs, Drewry said.
continued overcapacity in certain sectors and an uncertain trade outlook “will
still make market conditions challenging for most shipowners over the coming
years,” therefore, Drewry expects the pressure on costs to continue.
“Financial losses can only be sustained for so long and given higher
claims in related sectors as well as the withdrawal of some insurance providers
from the maritime space, it is clear that a market correction is underway which
will lead to higher premiums, particularly over the near-term,” concluded Dixon.
more benign outlook for the remaining cost heads, overall vessel operating
costs are expected to rise below the level of general price inflation over the
next few years and so represent cost stagnation in real terms.