Boom expected in ballast water treatment market

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

16 March 2017


The long overdue ratification of the 2004 IMO ballast water management convention is expected to unleash a flood of orders for treatment systems, says a report. With an estimated $50 billion at stake for ballast water treatment systems, suppliers, ship operators, and investors will be well-served by developing a thorough understanding of the challenges and potential solutions inherent to ballast water management, according to a published in the February 2017 issue of Global Water Intelligence. The fundamental challenges facing new ballast water treatment systems are capital and operating costs, size and power requirements, efficacy, and residual toxicity. US Coast Guard approval is also crucial because as Don Stephen, VP Product Management at De Nora was quoted, "Very few people (operators) would take the chance of procuring a system that is unable to be USCG approved because almost certainly there would be a chance of the ship traveling into US waters at some point." Ultraviolet and electro-chlorination are today's leading systems, but both have issues that must be overcome. For one, chlorination-based technologies do not typically treat water upon discharge of ballast water, but rather treat water only during uptake. In order to halt the worldwide spread of invasive or harmful marine species, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) passed the Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM), requiring more than 65,000 ships over 400 gross tons to adopt approved ballast water management plans. For most ships this will require the installation of a type-approved ballast water treatment system. The convention, adopted in 2004, was plagued with delays for years, but now is finally "setting sail" as reported in a recent feature article published by Global Water Intelligence, the leader in high-value business information for the water industry.