Choosing a capable supplier is important in any major equipment investment. But the choice may be critical when it comes to ballast water treatment systems. Uncertainties in the marine industry – and the ballast water treatment market – put supplier stability and resources in focus
“For marine businesses, 2020 is proving to be a turbulent year,” says Head of Alfa Laval PureBallast Peter Sahlén. “Besides the expected issues in fuels and operations related to the global sulphur cap, there have been unexpected disruptions in yard capabilities and global supply chains. That makes life complicated for customers who are procuring and installing ballast water treatment systems.”
While no one is immune to such disturbances, Mr Sahlén points out the value in choosing an established marine supplier over one with less experience. “When difficulties arise,” he says, “a strong and experienced supplier may be better prepared to help customers overcome them.”
Staying power in a field of newer players
Many of today’s ballast water treatment suppliers are new to the marine industry, having entered it with a sole focus on the application. However, system sales have taken time to materialise, in part due to years of delay in implementing the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention. Though the market is gaining speed, suppliers may find their resources already stretched. This could explain why less than half have acquired IMO revised G8 type-approval – a prerequisite for installing systems after 28 October, but a process that requires costly additional testing.
For Alfa Laval, the situation is different. Not only have sales of Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 been consistently strong, the company has a broad marine portfolio and over 100 years of marine industry experience.
“Our work with ballast water treatment is part of a much larger commitment to marine customers,” says Mr Sahlén. “With our insights and resources as a global marine supplier, we were able to lead the way early on. Today we have years of real-world experience and well-functioning PureBallast 3 production, with a clear path to meeting an annual market demand of 3,000 units. Since we also have IMO-revised G8 type-approval in hand, our customers have every reason to look ahead with confidence.”
Type approvals demand lasting supply
In ballast water treatment, confidence in one’s supplier is a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. The US Coast Guard, for example, has made clear that a system’s type-approval certificate must be updated if the technology is purchased by another supplier. Moreover, a system cannot be operated, maintained or repaired with parts that are not included in its type-approval – making supplier failure a worst-case scenario. If no one purchases the technology and updates the type-approval within five years, there may be no new parts that can keep existing systems compliant.
“A ballast water treatment system is intended to last the lifetime of the vessel,” Mr Sahlén emphasises. “Having served the marine industry for more than a century, we can promise marine customers that we will be here tomorrow, for them and for PureBallast 3.”
Care and knowledge to secure compliance
Already, Alfa Laval is focusing on the future. The company’s global service organisation, accessible worldwide and 24/7, has created a PureBallast Compliance Service Package to secure customers’ long-term compliance – with minimal effort from customers themselves. Comprising regular inspections as well as calibration and other key service actions, the package comes at a minimal annual fee and extends the warranty of the ballast water treatment system.
“There’s much more to staying compliant than many customers realise,” explains Mr Sahlén. “The regulations demand checks, tests and calibration, as well as sampling and annual training in the case of the US Coast Guard. With the PureBallast Compliance Service Package, we take responsibility for those things, so that customers can focus on their business with full peace of mind.”
In addition, Alfa Laval is working to make system knowledge even more accessible. For instance, the company has introduced a series of 30 how-to videos, showing how key points in the PureBallast 3 system manual should be carried out. “While video doesn’t replace written documentation or hands-on training, it does reinforce and clarify,” says Mr Sahlén. “In order to secure our customers’ compliance, we’re doing everything possible to help crews do the right thing."
Total solutions and commitment
For Alfa Laval customers, the easy access to service, training and knowledge in ballast water treatment is a strong complement to the company’s overall stability and marine presence. Combined with proven supply and logistics capabilities related to PureBallast 3, the support offers valuable assurance in a time of less certainty.
“We are a full partner in ballast water treatment, with total solutions for getting PureBallast 3 systems on board and keeping them compliant in years to come,” says Mr Sahlén. “In so many years of serving the marine industry, we’ve helped customers overcome any number of challenges. They can count not only on Alfa Laval systems, but also on our full support – whatever tomorrow brings.”
To learn more about Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 and Alfa Laval’s approach to ballast water treatment, visit www.alfalaval.com/pureballast