Hempel: Born in Maritime

Posted by Irina Tabakina

As Hempel approaches its 100th anniversary in 2015, Christian Ottosen, Group Marine Marketing Director, offers insights on the company’s initiatives and drivers. Here’s a hint: protecting ships at sea and protecting the environment.


Hempel was created 99 years ago as a specialist marine paints provider. Its founder, JC Hempel, was the first person to develop an antifouling product for a ship’s hull. Although Hempel is now active in other paint sectors such as decorative and protective coatings, the company was born and bred in the shipping and the maritime industry, and 99 years later this remains at the heart of the company. 
Today Hempel is a leading coatings supplier in multiple markets. From wind turbines and bridges to hospitals, ships, power stations and homes, Hempel’s coatings are engineered to protect man-made structures from the corrosive forces of nature. Hempel owns, among other companies, Crown Paints.
With a focus on R&D, advanced production techniques and professional coatings advice, the company works around the globe to help keep its customers’ investments safe and attractive for the long haul.
“Our working concept is simple: We are curious, creative and self-critical, and we always aim to create extra value for our customers,” said Christian Ottosen, Group Marine Marketing Director. “Within the marine sector we offer a range of exceptionally high quality, certified products including fouling release systems and antifouling; and specialised coatings for ballast tanks, cargo holds, decks, topsides, superstructures and vessel interiors. In addition, we also supply certified potable water tank coatings. Through our network of 150 stock points, we can supply paints for on-board maintenance through almost every port in the world.”

Looking Back

As is the case for many serving the global maritime market, lessening the impact of shipping on the natural environment is top of the agenda for all quality shipowners.
“I believe that the launch of our new coating system HEMPAGUARD plays an important role in enabling shipowners to operate their vessels in a more environmentally friendly way,” said Ottosen. “Tests show that on average that HEMPAGUARD reduces overall fuel use by six percent which not only saves expensive and finite fossil fuel but also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Additionally, HEMPAGUARD maintains its antifouling efficiency at both slow and fast speeds and is equally effective during idling periods of up to 120 days. This allows a vessel to steam at its most fuel efficient speed. HEMPAGUARD also releases 95% less biocide than traditional antifouling products. Taken together, the benefits of HEMPAGUARD allow a shipowner to make a significant improvement to its environmental footprint.”
While 2014 was a year of development to meet emerging environmental and fuel efficiency ends, Ottosen said that the industry largely remains in recovery mode to this day. “The earlier phase of vessel over-ordering coupled with a global recession led to too many ships chasing too few cargoes and the subsequent collapse of freight rates. We are still recovering from that period, although I believe there is a glimmer of light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel.”
While Ottosen sees some sectors turning the corner, conventional wisdom suggests that the levels of the over-inflated markets before the crash of 2008 will never be hit again. Rather, the expectation is a “new normal” of modest, but stable rates. But in the coatings market in particular, there is always a silver lining: “On the positive side for Hempel, the large numbers of vessels delivered between 2009 and 2011 are beginning to fall due for their first drydocking,” said Ottosen. “This means that activity for marine coatings is buoyant and likely to remain positive for some time.”

Planning Ahead
As an independent company with almost 100 years’ experience in marine coatings, Hempel is a leader in its sector. The company continues to innovate and to bring new products to market through its 10 R&D facilities located across the globe.
Efficiency and environment are two words first off the lips of nearly every shipowner, and in regards to a company such as Hempel this is a strategic advantage.
“Delivering efficiency to shipowners will be central to our activities next year and beyond,” said Ottosen. “Our hull coatings allow vessels to be more fuel efficient and to reduce their environmental impact. Our products can be applied quickly and cargo loading can commence shortly after application so dry dock periods are reduced. Further efficiency gains are generated through using our cargo hold coatings that lower maintenance costs and reduce cleaning times between loads. Even our global arrangements for delivering and managing a vessel’s stock of sea paint reduces cost and handling times.”
Central to Hempel’s future will be the continued advancement of its hull coatings with five- to seven-year drydocking intervals.  “Our focus will be on improving the HEMPAGUARD technology and enabling this silicon-based coating to be applied at low temperatures,” said Ottosen. “This will give owners added flexibility over where and at what time of year the coating may be applied. We also plan to introduce a new cargo hold coating with a five-year drydock interval. This will be more durable, faster to apply and allow loading to commence more quickly after application.” For newbuilds, it will launch an extensive series of uni-primers with PSPC approval for water ballast tanks, and its products will be suitable for all shipbuilding processes and will use fiber technology to ensure less cracking and enhanced durability.


(As published in the December 2014 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - http://magazines.marinelink.com/Magazines/MaritimeReporter)

(As published in the December 2014 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - http://magazines.marinelink.com/Magazines/MaritimeReporter)

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 29,  Dec 2014

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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.