Slow decision making by ship operators has led to delays in scrubber installations in shipyards – but this is set to change in 2020
Yara Marine Technologies technical sales manager Anders Sørheim told Container Shipping & Trade “Operators did not want to make a decision until they had to, and this led to long delivery times. There will not be the same issues as last year, we have identified all the bottlenecks in capacity and have commissioning engineers so that we are ready and prepared for the big boom.”
Indeed, Yara Marine chief executive Thomas Koniordos predicted “The next big wave of scrubbers is coming.”
The focus on finishing container ship scrubber retrofits means that not much additional activity in terms of new orders is being seen, said CR Ocean Engineering chief operating officer Nicholas Confuorto.
He explained “The industry is not seeing much additional activity except for finishing projects – shipyards are very busy with retrofits and there are installation delays because of this. Many of these projects have been pushed into 2020 when they wanted to finish in 2019.”
But Mr Confuorto expects much more activity in the near future. “Given the pricing differentials, I think there is no question that scrubbers are the best option. There is currently a US$300 price differential, up US$100 since a month ago so a real jump. It is a steep incline and I believe it will get even higher than that in the next couple of months.
“Container ships use a lot of fuel, that’s why I am hoping these projects will be coming back strongly once current projects are finished.”
Elsewhere, Timab Magnesium business unit desulphuration manager Loic Begue is optimistic about the development of scrubbers in the market. He says
“As long as the spread between HFO high sulfur and HFL low sulphur remains significant, we assume that shipping companies will have a strong financial incentive for investing in scrubbers. And when it is the case, we are firmly convinced our product will procure additional benefits for the companies which have made this investment decision.
“Container ship companies must remain competitive. It will be very difficult for them to request their customers to absorb the HFO cost (BAF). Therefore, I highly believe that the scrubber fitted company will take large benefits within the next year compared to the company which decided to burn expansive low sulphur HFO. We could easily see scrubbers gaining market share within the next two years. Our responsibility is to support these companies which make that investment decision that their operations will be smooth and cost effective.”
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