BEMA is an independent trade organisation representing vendors, suppliers, and key partners in the ballast water management system (BWMS) industry. It has undertaken a survey of members assess the impact of the pandemic on the industry
BEMA provides manufacturers and industry stakeholders in the ballast water equipment market leadership and a unified voice at the International Maritime Organization, the United States Coast Guard, the US EPA and other regulatory bodies, as well as with the general public. In this position as the unified voice of the industry, BEMA decided to poll members about the effects Covid-19 was having on their business to provide accurate feedback to the numerous media and regulatory agency requests for data.
The qualitative poll showed that over 70% of survey respondents have suffered no, or minimal, disruption to current installation schedules that were in progress prior to the emergence of the pandemic, while over 80% of respondents have not had any cancellations to orders that were already in place.
However, 40% of respondents have reported difficulties being able to sell their products and meet with customers, or had a loss of pending orders due to the pandemic, citing ability to meet with clients as a chief concern due to the global nature of the industry and the unpredictable spread of the Covid-19 virus around the world.
“The results of the poll were not surprising, but instead confirmed our own experience,” said BEMA president Mark Riggio. “Manufacturers have been ready for this moment for years and are used to adversity. We all quickly adapted to the new safety requirements and were ready for business as usual in a very short time.”
To quantitatively assess Covid-19 impacts across the manufacturing industry, BEMA gathered data from both BEMA members and non-members. Data submitted by the survey respondents showed that 87% of systems were installed on time, and 12% reported that installations were delayed or cancelled by the vessel. Just 1% of the respondents indicated that systems were not delivered by the manufacturer.
The results of BEMA’s industry surveys show that, despite the unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 virus and the worldwide response to combat it, the disruption to BWMS production has been minimal and manufacturers have successfully managed and overcome the initial obstacles.
“The biggest problem our members have now is securing future orders to keep their manufacturing pipelines full,” said Mr Riggio. “A lot of shipowners will have yard periods in the second half of the year and many of them have yet to order [a BWMS].”
While the United States Coast Guard has announced it will grant an extension of a vessel’s compliance date for up to 12 months upon request, the International Maritime Organisation has not announced any similar extensions. In addition, since installation of a BWMS typically occurs in a drydock, extensions for only 12 months may prove to have a minimal impact on shipowners. Vessels taking advantage of this off drydock schedule extension may face additional costs or delays to take a vessel out of service for an installation or to have to pay for an expensive mid-period docking.
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