Full steam ahead

The rising cost of shipping fuel is causing more and more shipowners and commodity merchants to consider risk management strategies, and some sophisticated marine fuel trades are taking place as a result, writes Barry Parker

The price of marine - or bunker - fuel comprises up to 60% of a shipping company's overheads, and is the most volatile component within its balance sheet. Some 150 million tonnes (MT) of bunker fuel (the name of which harks back to the coal bunkers on early steamers) are consumed globally each year, according to World Fuel Services, a leading supplier and broker. With each fuel price spike, interest has grown in managing the fuel price risk and the use of derivatives is increasing. The bunker

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