Page 49: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Jan/Feb 2019)

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BALLAST WATER TREATMENT “Despite attempts across the ballast sector to highlight the importance of shipowners make the right choice for their businesses, their operating routes and their ship types, competition among suppliers is growing as compliance deadlines loom. The rumblings of a ‘price war’ between technology manufacturers, driven by the demands of CAPEX-sensitive owners, continues to reverberate across the sector. The reality is that although the message from manufacturers and suppliers is all about fnding the right system, the incoming questions aren’t about applicability or maintenance requirements – they are about price.” to reverberate across the sector. The reality is that although the long-term record of customer service. Ruthless undercutting message from manufacturers and suppliers is all about fnding at this stage will only lead to more future uncertainty. the right system, the incoming questions aren’t about applica- bility or maintenance requirements – they are about price. A ConSiDERED APPRoACh

A price-driven mindset undoubtedly leads to predatory With so many internal, external, long-term, short-term, cost, pricing. Such predatory pricing is already perceptible in ship- beneft and certifcation considerations it’s no wonder that building countries, where domestic suppliers dominate the many owners are still to decide on what system to install or newbuild market at the expense of foreign makers. supplier to work with. But we think the solution is simple, fnd

But these costs are often cut at the expense of the ship own- a partner, not a price. Having recently been awarded United ers that both perceive them as a beneft and are driving them. States Coastguard (USCG) Type-Approval for our BALPURE

Manufacturers offset price reductions by offering owners less ballast water treatment system, we are confdent that when it aftercare and fewer additional services, and there’s a risk that comes down to the wire, De Nora has the experience, totalling increased commoditization will encourage a ‘ft and forget’ 95 years of knowledge and testing in electrolytic disinfection, mentality amongst suppliers. to wear the mantle of experts in our feld.

In the retroft case, if owners are investing in ballast water treat- Whatever a ship operator might decide, they should fnd an ment, it’s clear they’re expecting a further ten or more years of OEM willing to take the time to offer practical, unbiased in- operation for those ships. The risk of incurring future costs in or- formation to ship owners in a sector crying out for transpar- der to extend the lifecycle of a cut-price system that needs exten- ency. Owners should fnd a BWTS supplier that is willing to sive maintenance, repair, or in extreme cases replacement, needs talk to them with honesty and not sales patter, provide them to be factored in to the decision-making process. A low-cost bal- with expert advice rather than adverts, and one that is as com- last water treatment system with meager operational availability mitted to their clients’ long-term compliance as their short- would be a poor decision, especially when compared to a system term orderbook, offering guarantees and service agreements. that is a good ft to the ship’s operational profle with enhanced availability and reliability, but coming at a higher upfront cost.

Dr. Stelios Kyriacou

The Author

When the initial enthusiasm over securing the best up-front is a ballast water management system expert committed deal fades, the stark reality is that crippling future costs in to delivering the best possible long-term solutions for ship the medium to long term look set to take the shine out of any owners. Since 2009, he has managed the research, devel- opment, and certifcation of industry-leading ballast water deal. A price war means a race to the bottom. Manufacturers management systems. With a PhD in Engineering Me- will turn to the lowest priced specifcation to maintain proft chanics from Cranfeld University, he has lent his expertise in ballast water margins, and that means compromise – either on durability or and maritime issues to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) effciency or, in some cases, both. That means more spend on

Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC), Ballast Water Work- maintenance and spare parts, greater energy expenditure and ing Group, IMarEST Ballast Water Expert Group and to UK Government higher fuel costs for owners in the long-run. and European committees on maritime strategy, innovation and regula-

Reputable BWTS manufacturers should be assessed on their tion. Currently, Stelios is the General Manager of De Nora’s BALPURE ballast water management system (BWMS) business unit. capacity, fnancial stability, commitment to the market and 49


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Maritime Logistics Professional magazine is published six times annually.