Boxship scrubber retrofits to accelerate in the coming months

Expect a sizeable chunk of the boxship fleet to head into repair yards in the coming months leading up to the global sulphur cap.

According to Alphaliner’s survey of ships identified for scrubber retrofits, 16 ships ranging in size from 2,900 teu to 18,000 teu are believed to be undergoing retrofit work at various yards in Asia currently, with analysts at Alphaliner predicting up to 30 ships will be out of service each month in the second half of 2019. Most of these retrofits are scheduled to coincide with their regular drydocking dates in order to minimise the vessels’ downtime.

The total number of scrubbers ordered for boxships so far is estimated to have exceeded 700 units, split roughly 200:500 between newbuilds and retrofits leading Alphaliner to point out that many of the retrofits will not have been concluded by the time the IMO-mandated sulphur cap kicks in on January 1 next year.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Choose what you want to save your lungs or your stomach!
    If the environmental lobby wakes up; all this money will be down the drain.
    Maybe a gas engine retrofit would be better and peaceful option and more viable economically for the long run. A govt. subsidy to tide over the extra cost would be a better option

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