This is my first video comment since our annual Ballast Water Treatment Technology guide was published. It was distributed to readers of two of our publications – Marine Propulsion and Tanker Shipping and Trade.
You can also find it on the BWTT website; I have included a link to the online copy of the guide from the text version of these remarks.
For me, the most interesting guidance for the coming year was signposted by a brief remark made at a conference I didn’t attend about human resources in shipping organised by recruitment specialist Spinnaker Global.
Fortunately, one of my colleagues was at the event and saw Clarkson Research Services managing director Stephen Gordon display a figure for the proportion of the global fleet fitted with ballast water management systems: 7.1%.
I find that figure interesting for two reasons: one, because it doesn’t seem very big and, two, because the figure exists at all. I am not aware of any database that publishes that level of detail about ships but brokers have all sorts of technical data and can spot details that others miss.
Meanwhile, manufacturers have reported encouraging signs: I enjoyed a conversation during May with Alfa Laval head of PureBallast Anders Lindmark. He gave me some insights into how owners choose their systems and provided some background to two contracts it announced in early May.
Then Optimarin reported what it called “a recent surge” in new business and I am sure other manufacturers could say the same.
What should we make of Mr Gordon’s number and manufacturers’ surges? I see them as signs that the BWMS sector is becoming normal: that the kit is now viewed as any other piece of equipment and the race is on to get it installed. And it is a race: Ecochlor has told us that if you have not started planning your installation yet, you won’t get a drydock slot until next year at the earliest.
If Mr Gordon does his analysis in a year’s time I predict his data will reflect that rush. When I prepare next year’s printed guide, I will make it a priority to check that figure.