More than 1,000 scrubbers sold

Scrubber purchases have accelerated dramatically in recent weeks with the total number of exhaust gas cleaning systems installed or on order now past 1,000 units.

A survey issued last week by the Exhaust Gas Clearing Systems Association (EGCSA) showed that as of May 31 this year 983 scrubbers had been bought by owners worldwide. In the intervening period there have been many more scrubbers bought, most notably MSC’s EUR170m outlay for a raft of Wartsila scrubbers, taking the figure well above 1,000 units.

The EGCSA 983 figure is a notable leap from the 817 class society DNV GL reported had been bought in May, and is more than double the amount of scrubbers that had been bought by the start of 2018.

Nearly 60% of all retrofits and newbuilding installation works take place in Asian yards, the EGCSA survey shows. Unsurprisingly this increases to nearly 85% of newbuilding installs.

EGCSA believes that although there has been a surge in demand, yard capacity is still not an issue going forward, however other constraints such as the availability of laser scanning specialists and experienced installation teams mean that it may not be possible to pick and choose an installation slot nor coincide a scrubber installation with an already scheduled drydock in the near future.

In an interview with the North of England P&I Club, Don Gregory and Mark West from EGCSA, observed: “It is understood that most of the EGCSA members cannot now deliver until after 2020. There are some bottlenecks such as availability of laser measurement surveyors and experienced installation teams. However, we understand one particular yard in Korea has recently quoted 19 days for complete installation. As things stand, high alloy steels required for manufacture are still available in sufficient quantities.”

EGCSA members are still taking orders with several now taking options through to 2023 to enable shipowners to secure a position on the installation timetable.

988 of the 1561 individual scrubber towers installed or on order are for open loop scrubbing, according to the EGCSA survey.

US class society ABS has just updated its scrubber advisory providing deeper insights into installation and operational considerations for existing vessels.

“As the 2020 compliance deadline nears, we are seeing an uptick in new orders for scrubbers for both new construction and existing vessels,” commented ABS senior vice president, Derek Novak.

The scrubber financial case is beginning to show up in chartering reports. Greek broker Intermodal’s latest weekly report notes that the market right now for a one-year time charter of a non-eco MR tanker without a scrubber is around $13,000 a day, whereas product tankers already fitted with a scrubber can command up to $15,000 a day.

“We can identify that the difference of $1,500 – $2,000 per day is the premium charterers are paying in order to be 2020 compliant and have efficient units under their time charter,” Intermodal noted.

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.
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