Dry bulk: tiwo-tier market (file image/pixabay)
Lower fuel costs associated with dry bulk vessels fitted with scrubbers could affect the chartering market for such ships for some time, a shipping analyst has said.
According to London-based Martime Strategies International, bigger bulk carriers could cost thousands of dollars more on daily hire rates than a comparable ship without a scrubber leading to the emergence of a two-tier chartering market.
The analyst's view centres on the difference in price for the fuel the ships would use once the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) sulfur rule is in place.
As heavy fuel is going to be so much cheaper, a charterer can expect to pay more for the ship because his fuel bill will be so much lower.
"A charterer would pay a premium to charter a vessel fitted with a scrubber, theoretically up to a maximum of the expected fuel cost saving minus additional running costs," the analyst said.
"In practice, some discount will be applied due to operational risk associated with scrubbers.
"Commercially, there is an incentive for both sides (owner and charterer) to negotiate a cost-savings sharing agreement for a vessel fitted with a scrubber, based on the undoubted difference in expectations for fuel costs between the parties.
"For long-term charters, the charterer may even offer to pay for the installation of a scrubber on a vessel in order to take advantage of fuel cost savings.
"The strong cost savings potential of scrubbers will have a positive impact on values of vessels with scrubbers fitted as long as a T/C [timecharter] premium exists."
Atlhough the market is expected to even out over time, the analyst said that such a two-tier chartering market could last several years.