Shipowners might have to look hard for a bargain in 2020 (file image/pixabay)
Shipowners could be faced with big hikes in the their fuel bills come 2020 by as much as twice what they are paying now, a maritime consultant has said.
Douglas Raitt, regional consultancy manager at class society Lloyds Register, said the rise would be prompted by the popularity of distillates as maritime and land demand will be competing for the same resource.
"We should not be under the mistaken belief that prices for low sulphur compliant fuel will just gradually increase," Raitt was quoted saying by maritime news provider Lloyd's List.
Rait, who was speaking at a maritime event in Singapore, continued: "We will see a dramatic shift in fuel cost come 2020. To consider a doubling in fuel cost is not an unrealistic assumption."
Rait had more downbeat points to make once the global 0.5% sulfur cap comes into force in January 2020.
There will be compliant low sulfur bunker fuel available but that may bring with it operational issues. And while 3.5% sulfur bunker fuel will be the cheaper option to those ships which have fitted scrubbers, availability could also be problematic as low demand may lead to thin stocks.