from Marc Sima, President and co-founder of Germany’s FUELSAVE

The fuel surcharges some container shipping companies are intending to pass on to customers as they look to meet the 2020 sulphur cap could be reduced for the mutual benefit of shipowners and operators, as well as their customers, given the technologies available for reducing fuel consumption, says Marc Sima, President and co-founder of Germany’s FUELSAVE.

Earlier this month, Maersk said the installation of technologies aimed at reducing shipborne emissions is likely to increase the cost of shipping a single twenty-foot container to $160, while MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company announced it will introduce a Global Fuel Surcharge.

“As more shipping companies go down the scrubber route we are seeing manufacturers raise their prices – in some cases charging more than US$3 million for the scrubber alone. This is putting pressure on shipowners to pass on these costs to shippers, which is unnecessary when our solution can provide any scrubber installation with a good return.”

Sima, however, says there is potential for these fuel surcharges to be reduced. “With a 10% reduction in fuel consumption, ship operators could reduce fuel surcharges and maintain or even increase profitability, leveraging the potential of sustainable efficiency enhancement solutions that are beneficial to both shipowner and shipper.”

He added: “It has been reported that 2020 compliance could cost the container shipping sector in excess of $15billion, but these costs can be slashed by optimising fuel consumption.”

Sima cites the fuel savings a heavy lift ship achieved using FUELSAVE’s FS MARINE+ system. The installation reduced fuel consumption by 25% equating to net savings of 16% and a significant reduction in CO2 and NOx emissions and particulate matter (PM).

Even when cleaner fuels become more prominent and the use of scrubbers are no longer required, Sima says energy saving technologies will continue to create substantial fuel and efficiency gains for the shipowner, delivering real OPEX savings to increase profitability.

He furthered: “Shipowners that take the low sulphur fuel option can especially benefit, since these fuels are even more costly and will continue to rise, which reduces further the amortization period, and which provides an even better return on the investment (ROI) for efficiency enhancement technologies. The more expensive fuels become the greater the fuel saving, and consequently greater reductions in OPEX.

“Shipping companies should look at all the options available for meeting the 2020 sulphur cap. There are solutions available that not only ensure compliance but can optimise operational expenditure allowing operators to remain competitive and profitable without the need to rollover all the additional costs to the end-customers. Any sustainable technology must have a direct economic and ecological benefit for operators, their customers, and the environment.

“Of course, any fuel savings have to be balanced by the amortization period, which should be well within any warranty periods. For FS MARINE+ a typical payback is within three years. We also offer a cast-iron guarantee that the system will have paid for itself within the default five-year warranty period,” said Sima.

Use of the FUELSAVE technology also prolongs the lube oil replacement intervals, engine maintenance and related service costs, resulting in further OPEX savings for shipowners.

Earlier this month, FUELSAVE introduced a containerised version of its FS MARINE+ technology, designed to provide ship operators with a cost-effective, plug-in and-play version of its engine combustion optimisation and emissions reduction system, which reduces ship preparation costs to a minimum and enables re-use of the system from one ship to another.