November 4 - According to a survey by Moore Stephens, vessel operating costs are expected to rise by more than 3 percent in 2013 and 2014.

The survey, which is based on responses from key players in the international shipping industry, revealed that vessel operating costs are expected to rise by 3 percent in 2013 and 3.2 percent in 2014, with crew wages and P&I insurance likely to increase most significantly.

A projected increase of 2.4 percent in 2013 and 2.5 percent in 2014 is expected in crew wages, with other crew costs estimated to rise by 2.1 and 2.2 percent respectively for the years under review.

The cost of P&I insurance is expected to escalate by 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent in 2013 and 2014, compared to the increases of 2 and 2.3 percent predicted in the cost of hull and machinery insurance.

Expenditure on spares is expected to increase by 2.1 and 2.3 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively, while a 2.2 percent increase is anticipated in the cost of lubricants in both years.

An estimated rise of 1.9 and 2 percent is forecast in the cost of stores in 2013 and 2014 respectively, with repairs and maintenance expenditure predicted to increase in those two years by 2.3 and 2.4 percent.

Drydocking costs are expected to rise by 2.1 and 2.4 percent respectively and, as was the case in the 2012 survey, management fees are deemed likely to produce the lowest level of increase in 2013 and 2014, at 1.4 and 1.7 percent respectively.

Asked to identify the three factors most likely to influence the level of vessel operating costs over the next 12 months, 21 percent found finance costs as the most significant factor, followed closely by crew supply, which was noted by 20 percent. Competition gained 18 percent, followed by demand trends with 16 percent, labour costs with 13 percent and the cost of raw materials with 10 percent.

"The projected increases in vessel operating costs for the next two years will be difficult for owners, operators and managers to absorb. The good news however, is that the global economic environment is showing signs of recovery," assures Moore Stephens shipping partner, Richard Greiner.