Bunker surcharge aims to recover some of $2bn in extra expenses involved in complying with new IMO rules.
Containership giant Maersk Line will seek to recover the costs of low-sulphur fuel compliance from its customers. The Danish company said a new bunker adjustment surcharge factor (BAF) is being adopted ahead of new IMO rules coming into force in 2020.
"We fully support the new rules. They will be a significant benefit to the environment and to human health,” said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer of parent AP Moller-Maersk. “The 2020 sulphur cap is a game changer for the shipping industry. Maersk preparations to comply are well underway and so are our customers’ efforts to plan ahead."
“The new BAF is a simple, fair and predictable mechanism that ensures clarity for our customers in planning their supply chains for this significant shift.”
The BAF will be charged separately from the freight rate and will be applied from 1 January next year. The company said industry estimates show more than 90% of the global vessel fleet will be relying on compliant fuels post-2020.
Maersk Line will be no different, despite last week announcing that a limited number of its ships will be fitted with scrubbers. The cost difference between the old and new fuels could be up to $15bn for the boxship sector.
$2bn to recoup
Maersk Line expects its own extra fuel costs could exceed $2bn.
The BAF replaces the liner operator’s current standard bunker adjustment factor (SBF) surcharge. It consists of two key elements: the fuel price calculated as the average bunker price in key refuelling ports around the world; and a trade factor that reflects the average fuel consumption on a given trade lane as a result of variables like transit time, fuel efficiency and trade imbalances between head haul and backhaul legs. It said combining the two gives customers "full predictability" of their costs both before and after 2020.
Maersk Line gave some examples of the new charge. For instance, if bunker prices are $400 per ton from northern Europe to Asia, the BAF will be $280 per feu, but this rises to $490 per feu at a price of $700 per ton - and $1,050 per feu from the east coast of South America to Europe at the higher price.