Total vessel operating costs in the shipping industry are expected to rise by 2.7% in 2018 and by 3.1% in 2019, according to a a survey by Moore Stephens.
Namely, drydocking is the cost category likely to increase most significantly in both 2018 and 2019, by 2.1% and 2.3% respectively, while expenditure on repairs and maintenance is to rise by 2.0% in 2018 and by 2.3% in 2019.
The survey also revealed that the outlay on crew wages is expected to increase by 1.3% in 2018 and by 1.9% in 2019, with other crew costs thought likely to go up by 1.5% in 2018 and by 1.8% in 2019.
Moore Stephens said that the predicted overall cost increases were once again highest in the offshore sector, where they averaged 4.1% and 4.2% respectively for 2018 and 2019. By way of contrast, predicted cost increases in the bulk carrier sector were 1.8% and 2.6% for the corresponding years. Operating costs for tankers, meanwhile, are expected to rise by 2.4% in 2018, and by 2.9% the following year, while the corresponding figures for container ships are 4.2% and 3.8%.
Overall, the cost of new regulation was identified as the most influential factor likely to affect operating costs over the next 12 months, at 23%, up from equal third place at 15% last year. 18% of respondents identified finance costs in second place, down from 20% and first place last year. Competition ranked in third place at 15% as it had last year. Meanwhile crew supply fell to 12% compared to 19% and second place in last year’s survey.
On a more general level, respondents voiced concerns about environmental issues, trade wars, the cost of securing finance, and the global economic recession, all of which were perceived to have the potential to result in increased operating costs.
“One year ago, expectations of operating cost increases in 2018 averaged 2.4%, so the increase now in that expectation to 2.7% must be regarded as sobering – if not unexpected –news,” Richard Greiner, Partner, Shipping and Transport, said.
The latest predicted increases, whilst a cause for concern, “should not unduly surprise or concern shipping, an industry which has seen – and in many cases endured – much larger increases during the past decade,” Greiner added.