Carnival's annual bunker consumption could reach 3.5 million tonnes by 2016

World's largest cruise company plans to increase its fleet capacity by almost 10 percent by 2016.

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Updated on 07 Nov 2014 16:28 GMT

Carnival Corporation & plc - the world's largest cruise company - has confirmed that it plans to increase fleet capacity by nearly 10 percent between 2014 and 2016, fuelled largely by the addition of four new ships across four brands in less than 18 months.

The increase in the size of Carnival's existing fleet looks set to also lead to a corresponding rise in the company's annual bunker fuel consumption.

Currently, Carnival consumes approximately 800,000 tonnes of bunker fuel per quarter. The company's last forecast for 2014 was 3.2 million tonnes - down from its June guidance of 3,210,000 tonnes and its March prediction of 3,230,000 tonnes.

If a 10 percent increase in fleet capacity leads to a 10 percent jump in fuel consumption, this would take Carnival's annual bunker buying volumes to over 3.5 million tonnes.

This week, Carnival Corporation is christening two new ships in the span of three days as its Princess and Costa brands host official naming ceremonies for Regal Princess and Costa Diadema - the latest new vessels to join the company's fleet of more than 100 ships across nine cruise brands.

Additionally, in 2015, the company's P&O Cruises UK and AIDA brands are to each debut a new ship, giving Carnival a total of four new ship additions by October of next year.

All told, the company has refreshed its global fleet with more than 30 new ship additions since 2007, including Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, with another seven ships scheduled to be delivered between 2015 and early 2017.

Carnival Corporation's four new fleet additions in 18 months are part of the company's plan to introduce nine new ships across seven of its brands between 2014 and 2017. AIDA, Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Seabourn are all expected to debut new state-of-the-art cruise ships between now and the early part of 2017.

In 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines is scheduled to debut Carnival Vista, a 133,500-tonne vessel that is expected to be the largest ever in its fleet - with the ship being unveiled in a sneak preview in New York in 2015. Holland America Line is to launch its newest ship, the 99,500-tonne ms Koningsdam, a new Pinnacle Class ship. Also in 2016, AIDA plans to introduce a new sister ship to the 2015 AIDAprima with capacity for 3,250 passengers, while Seabourn is to unveil its newest luxury ship, expected to be the biggest ever built by the brand.

Looking forward to 2017, Princess Cruises is working with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a 143,000-tonne vessel featuring the design elements introduced by the brand's two newest ships, and sisters, the Royal Princess and Regal Princess.

Whilst Carnival's fleet expansion programme continues, the company's Fleet Fuel Conservation Program combines energy-saving programs onboard current ships with new energy-efficient ship designs to reduce energy consumption and boost fuel efficiency.

The cruise operator predicts that by the end of 2014 it will have saved more than one billion gallons of fuel and reduced fleet carbon emissions by 12 billion kilograms over a seven-year period. By the end of 2014, Carnival's Fleet Fuel Conservation Program is expected to have improved the fleet’s overall fuel efficiency by 24 percent compared to 2007, while saving approximately $2.5 billion in fuel costs, the company's single biggest expense.

Intiatives of the Fleet Fuel Conservation Program include:

- Propulsion: Improving how the ship moves through the water by optimizing ship speeds and cruise distances to design more fuel-efficient itineraries, significantly reducing energy and fuel consumption.

- Hull coatings: Using new hull coatings and cleaning technologies to minimize the growth of marine organisms that create drag on the hull, which reduces the amount of fuel needed to move the ship through water.

- Air conditioning: Installing new, energy-efficient A/C systems to help reduce the energy used to cool the ships, which is the second largest consumer of onboard energy after propulsion.

- Lighting: Replacing traditional lighting with more efficient LED bulbs is an ongoing opportunity to save energy, as the company continues the process of replacing four million lights across the fleet.

- Water production: While producing 73 percent of water used onboard its ships, Carnival is reducing the rate of onboard water usage and finding more efficient ways to produce water, including better use of engine heat to convert sea water to fresh water and installation of reverse osmosis systems.

- Education & Training: Increasing onboard energy use awareness among officers, crew and guests.

- Other initiatives: The company is pursuing additional energy-saving ideas for engine room cooling equipment, audio and entertainment systems, galley/cooking appliances and laundry services, and expanding the 20 percent of ships equipped for “cold ironing” as more ports offer the ability to connect to shore electrical power. Carnival also continues to develop its ability to use alternative fuels.