Scrubber sales surging and delivery times shortening

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 18 April 2019


According to analyst S&P Global Platts quoting DNV GL figures, scrubber sales are surging as the 2020 deadline for the reduction in the global cap for sulphur in marine fuels draws closer.

The DNV GL figures quoted show that the number of ships in operation or on order with scrubbers fitted has nearly doubled over the past six months to 3,229. Of this figure, 2,372 are retrofits and 857 are for newbuildings. The figure is therefore rapidly approaching the 3,800 vessels predicted to eb scrubber equipped in the CE Delft report used by the IMO to justify the 2020 reduction rather than waiting the extra five years as allowed under the MARPOL SOx regulations. The latest figures for scrubbers show that ships fitted with them outnumber LNG-fuelled vessels (excluding LNG carriers) by a factor of 10.

Open-loop scrubbers are the most popular accounting for 80% of installations with hybrid systems at 17%.

Bulk carriers made up the largest share of scrubber-fitted vessels, accounting for 35% of total scrubbers, with oil product and crude oil tankers accounting for 27%. The remainder are a mix of all ship types with cruise and ferries – initially the early adopters of scrubber technology – joined by car carriers, ro-ro vessels, general cargo and gas tankers.

Over the last year, many of the announcements of scrubber orders have come from shipowners quarterly financial reports rather than from press statements by owners or scrubber makers. It is possible that a further tranche of orders will be announced soon.

One scrubber system maker – Yara Marine – did announce recently that following the opening of an office in Shanghai last year, it has received several more orders and is also able to offer reduced system delivery times.

“Yara Marine Technologies’ customers value the quality of our products. By ramping up our production in Shanghai, we are now able to deliver the same top quality scrubbers with a significantly reduced delivery time”, Yara Marine CEO Peter Strandberg said.

With most scrubber installations being handled in the Asia-pacific region, Yara Marine determined that establishing a local presence was the most viable solution to improve operation efficiency and cut production time to an even more competitive level. Customers have responded positively to Yara Marine’s shortened production times. The rush to scrubber retrofits is clogging yards, and shipowners need the flexibility to be able to accept slots as they open up, making quick and timely delivery of equipment even more critical.

“We now have more than 25 dedicated and skilled engineers at our Shanghai office, including dedicated resources for quality and progress follow-up at our manufacturers. The staff in Shanghai has done an amazing job in such a short time”, said Yara Marine COO Ina Reksten, adding that the latest move is more than a short-term solution: “Our investments in capacity expansion are for the long term”, Reksten concluded.

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