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Bunker price was the death of slow steaming in 2015

The extremely low bunker price has meant the end for slow steaming. The dry bulk carrier Ultrabulk has increased speeds by 10-15 percent in 2015 in line with other industry players. According to Maersk Line, the savings options in slow steaming have been exhausted.

Photo: Ultrabulk

Although the bunker price plummeted to a level between USD 120 and 150 per ton over the course of 2015, and reduced the shipping industry's biggest single expense significantly, the historically low price has seemingly also meant the death of slow steaming. At least in the bunker industry which is currently in the midst of the worst crisis ever, with a dry bulk index that just last week set four new record lows ending at 429 on Friday.

The battle on the market, which by most is referred to as an elimination race, has apparently caused the carriers to utilize every option in order to distance themselves from the competition and get their hands on some of the cargo that is actually still out there. According to the CEO of Ultrabulk, Per Lange, this has had consequences including that the average speed in the dry bulk industry increased by no less than 1.5 knots on average in 2015.

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