THE costs associated with operating cargo ships over the next two years are anticipated to rise, albeit modest, after declining this year amid a weak commodities market, according to the Ship Operating Costs Annual Review and Forecast 2015/16 report produced by Drewry.

The new study from the global shipping consultancy predicts insurance, fuel, repair and maintenance costs will all increase in 2016 and 2017, reported American Shipper.

In 2015 ship-operating costs decreased by an average of one per cent, Drewry said, but those costs are expected to go up in the future "as the scope for further cost cutting is in most cases quite limited." The report noted "weak freight markets have forced ship owners to trim costs," but owners have "been able to take advantage of falling commodity prices and lower insurance costs."

Drewry managing director Nigel Gardiner was quoted as saying: "We anticipate only small rises in the cost of lube oils and other commodities; with a relatively weak global economy inflation is also expected to remain low."

Owners are expected to see modest increases in manning costs, while vessel insurance premiums are likely to rise if freight markets improve because they will push up hull values for modern vessels.

"Over the past few years of low economic growth, expenditure on repairs and maintenance has for many owners been cut back and when markets improve we expect some 'catching up' to take place," Mr Gardiner added.


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Ship operating costs are forecast by Drewry to rise in 2016 & 2017

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