From a European, as well as from the perspective of port authorities, it is important that waterborne transport becomes sustainable. An important aspect of the choice of fuel is the current bunker strategies of the shipping companies. Read this article about the case of the port of Antwerp.
The case of the port of Antwerp: Introduction
From a European, as well as from the point of view of port authorities, it is important that waterborne transport becomes sustainable. Regulations reducing the sulfur emissions from shipping are also expected at a global level from 2020 onwards. If shipowners want to use LNG, then the ports must facilitate the LNG bunker infrastructure. This article develops a generic forecasting method at the port level. An important aspect of the choice for the use of LNG or low-sulfur fuel is the current day bunker strategies of the shipping companies. During this research, several interviews were done with stakeholders to get more insights into the potential usage of LNG as bunker fuel. It is very important to discern which the key decision criteria are for a shipping company. It is the aim of this research to determine which criteria are the most important in determining the bunker strategy.
The case of the port of Antwerp: Bunkering decisions in practice usually take by a department that deals with bunkering. Based on the interviews with the shipping companies, the logic of the bunkering choice is the following:
- Certain negotiation techniques are employed to get the best price in the chosen port.
- Bunkering can only be done at the ports of call.
- The bunkering is then done so that no extra time is wasted for it, so during the loading/unloading operations.
- The best price amongst the ports of call is looked for (price including fuel price + transport cost + taxes).
- Bunkering is only done with the companies that trust.
Discrete choice results
The case of the port of Antwerp: The model was run based on a data set of five respondents who had 12 different choice sets. The effect likelihood ratio tests show the importance of each attribute as measured by –log. The quality of fuel provision is the second most important element. Other attributes, like port congestion, and administrative attractiveness of the port do not seem to be important in the bunkering choice for the shipping companies.
The case of the port of Antwerp: Methodology
A two-stage methodology of both qualitative research through interviews and a discrete choice experiment was chosen. Both methods are targeting at the evaluation of the preferences of the shipping lines on the bunkering decisions. The discrete choice experiment is designed keeping in mind the potentially small number of respondents that were to be interviewed. The approach is flexible enough for the interviews to be conducted either in person.
The case of the port of Antwerp: A bunker fuel management strategy is studied for a single shipping liner service. A theoretical model is developed on which optimization of the three above-mentioned parameters is performed. The authors argue that typically, liner operators enter into a contract with fuel suppliers where the contract is specified by a fixed fuel price. A benchmarking framework was developed that evaluates bunkering ports’ performances in regular liner routes in order to choose optimal ones.