Even before the bunker regulatory turnaround earlier this year, long-haul and cabotage companies have begun to feel the burden on their costs of the new scenario, which made the bunker jump by 50%. in Brazil.
In October, when Petrobras officially began selling the 0.5% sulfur bunker, prices were close to $ 400 / t. Today, they already exceed US $ 650 / ton in Santos. Meanwhile, the world average price of the IFO 380 bunker (with 3.5% sulfur content) is around US $ 370 / tonne – the state-owned company no longer manufactures the version here.
Since January 1st, vessels have been required to use fuels with a sulfur content of a maximum of 0.5%, against the previous limit of 3.5%. Regulatory change, called IMO 2020, was defined in mid-2016 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). If vessels are equipped with scrubbers, they may continue to use old fuel. A detail of the rule is that vessels have until March 1 to burn the most polluting fuel left in the tanks.
The cabotage segment has seen its costs rise significantly because of rising prices. According to the executive director of the Brazilian Association of Cabotage Shipowners (ABAC), Luis Fernando Resano, about 50% of the sector costs come from fuel.
“Here in Brazil, no shipowner installed scrubbers, which are very expensive and they already knew that Petrobras would discontinue bunker production of 3.5%. We are even more dependent, ”he said. According to him, the high operating cost has been around 20% since October.
The industry says that Petrobras saw in the bunker price rise 0.5% an opportunity to increase its margins. As offshore oil is low in sulfur, switching to the new fuel is less expensive. Despite criticism of the ship, data from Ship & Bunker show that the 0.5% bunker is cheaper in Santos than on average at other ports in the world – $ 652 versus $ 684 / t respectively.
Resano says the impact on cabotage is different compared to long distances, mainly because of competition with road transport and the lack of alternatives to supply the vessel abroad. “In the long run, some companies are already passing along this price. In cabotage, we have difficulty, ”he said.
Source: Portos e Navios