A couple of weeks ago I recorded my thoughts on the most important news items I had posted onto the website during 2017 and said I was amazed that the item that you had clicked on more than any other was about a deal that would see mobile treatment plants placed in all Dutch ports.
I have now had time to reflect on that. What I am hearing is that ‘contingency planning’ is a topic that gets ballast boffins excited. Specifically: what can shipowners do if their system fails?
Given that worry, no wonder an item about mobile in-port treatment systems was attractive. So my first prediction is that there will be more interest in that technology during the coming year.
My second is that we will see more US Coast Guard type-approvals. Plucking a figure out of the air, I am going to say four or five more, bringing the total to 10 or 11.
Many owners might feel that gives them enough choice and that total is also about the same that I hear when I ask manufacturers how many of them will survive in the long run. So my third prediction is that this year will mark the start of the big market shake-out.
My fourth prediction is that IMO and its Ballast Water Management Convention will not be a top priority this year, since MEPC 71 delayed installation dates. And my fifth prediction is that technical managers will take a very conservative approach to their equipment choice: it would be a brave superintendent who would recommend a little-known manufacturer with no USCG type-approval if my Prediction 2 comes to pass.
I’ll check back in December and see how many I have scored out of five. Perhaps that will be equally amazing.