Operational costs

Operational costs and savings
he main costs and savings of OPS are the following:

  • Savings auxiliary engine fuel
  • Savings maintenance costs
  • Costs electricity charges and taxes
  • Costs standing charges

Electricity charges and taxes
The average electricity costs reported in studies depend very much on annual consumption and maximum power requirements. Although several feasibility studies cite a figure of around € 0.05 per kWh exclusive of taxes, available data on industrial electricity prices indicate higher prices. Electricity prices are highly dependent on annual consumption. Electricity taxes vary substantially around the world. In Europe tax rates range from zero to € 0.03/kWh.

Standing charges
The standing charge is a fixed sum paid to the electricity supplier. It is a connection fee, the level of which depends on the maximum power consumption. An Amsterdam feasibility study reports costs of around € 300,000-400,000 for an OPS connection for cruise ships with 90 port calls a year.

“The Commission will address the issue of taxation, and the relevant standardization bodies are close to an agreed standard for the ship-to-shore connections”. Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (2004-2009).

Fuel cost benefit depends on legislation
By using shore-generated power instead of running auxiliary diesel engines, vessel operators enjoy a fuel cost benefit, the magnitude of which depends very much on the going fuel price. A switch to 0.1 % Sulfur fuel in the EU in 2010 and in California in 2012 significantly improves the cost effectiveness of OPS, since this implies the use of marine gasoil (MGO) that is around US $ 200 per tonne more expensive than heavy fuel oil (HFO).

Less maintenance of auxiliary engines
Ships need to retain their auxiliary engines for visiting ports without OPS and for use at sea, but the reduced use of the engines saves out on maintenance costs of, on average, € 1.6 per running hour per engine.

Factors influencing overall costs
All the available studies and experience indicate that using OPS will increase the overall costs of ships at berth. Although expenditure on power consumption can generally be offset with the benefits of saved fuel, especially for frequent-calling larger vessels, the shoreside investments will be difficult to recover, even in situations where these are modest. As with other targeted measures, though, these investments yield benefits, in the form of reduced emissions and improved working conditions. Quantitative conclusions depend very much on fuel and electricity prices, though. With rising fuel prices, OPS will become cheaper. For details, see the library (feasibity studies).

As electricity and fuel prices fluctuate and depend on consumption figures, these are not discussed in depth on this website.