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BunkerPlanner new feature includes TC rate and vessel speed for bunkering ports

13 May 2020

BunkerPlanner, a bunker procurement optimisation tool developed by Scandinavian maritime technology firm BunkerMetric on Tuesday (12 May) said it has rolled out new functionality to assist vessel operators to reduce costs under any market combination of time charter (TC) rate and bunker prices.

BunkerPlanner says it calculates attractive bunker port calls that can be induced on a voyage in relation to the costs of bunkers, port calls, barges, and deviations, while also taking into account a speed up of the vessel to meet a fixed ETA at next port call. 

The bunker price of any additional port call must justify any speed-up, considering the vessel’s bunker curve and extra distance to be sailed, it stated.

This makes good sense in most high TCE markets, where the expected TC rates exceed the extra bunker cost of speeding up. 

However, there is often an attractive tradeoff by adding a bunker port call and delaying scheduled ETAs while maintaining a fixed speed. 

With this approach a bunker buyer would attain a lower TC rate but would save handsomely on bunkers – a beneficial strategy in low TC environments, it explained. 

Consider an example: 

  • A capesize bulker sailing from Port Hedland, Australia to Qingdao, China and returning, at a sailing speed of 13 knots.
  • At TCEs below $10.000, the most attractive bunker port is Singapore. At very high TCEs, the optimal strategy is to avoid a bunker-only call and lift required bunkers in Qingdao during cargo operations. 
  • The total bunker costs change from $ ~460.000 at very low TCE rates to $476.000 at higher TCE rates. 
  • By identifying the correct strategy, an operator can potentially save more than $16.000, equivalent to over $200 TCE/day.

“Deciding on the cheapest port to bunker is a complicated calculation, which should not be reduced to choosing the lowest $/mt,” said Fernando Alvarez, Bunker Metric co-founder.

“Especially interwoven are the tradeoffs related to Time Charter Rate, Speed/Consumption, Deviations and Price, and are only possible to accurately overview with good system support. 

“With BunkerPlanner’s tool you can easily save hundreds of $ in TCE per day, especially in low TC markets.”

The company notes the bunker prices in the example were locked on the 8th of April 2020. 

It adds that in the current volatile bunker market this rapidly changes and early / mid May, South Korean ports would be preferable on this trade, depending on TC rate. 

Different loading ports in West Australia and discharge in North China, may also give markedly different final results. 

BunkerPlanner says its automated bunker planning tool is of great value in exploring such scenarios.

With this new functionality, which is already available to its customers, the program can even better assist vessel operators to attain significant bunker savings.

“By including TCE in BunkerPlanner’s calculations, advice can also be given bearing in mind the intricate interplay between the optimal speed for a specified voyage, the TC rate, bunker consumption, bunker costs, banal usage and ECA zones,” said Christian Plum, Bunker Metric co-founder.

“Considering all these factors together is powerful, and unique for a Maritime Digitisation tool.”

Related: Dataloy integrates with BunkerPlanner to optimise bunker procurement
Related: BunkerPlanner adds new IMO 2020 functionalities to assist users
Related: ‘BunkerPlanner’ is now available in Asia, says BunkerMetric Co-founder

Photo credit: BunkerPlanner
Published: 13 May, 2020

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