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  September 15th, 2016 | Written by

Ballast Treatment Systems Set for Growth

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  • Ballast water from ocean vessels poses ecological, economic, and health threats.
  • Ballast water treatment options include mechanical and chemical methods.
  • Market for ballast water treatment equipment to grow from $5.2 billion in 2015 to $36 billion by 2020.

The introduction of invasive marine species into new environments through ballast water transfer is a major threat to the world’s oceans.

BCC Research reveals in its new report that the global shipping industry is scheduled to implement ballast water treatment systems in its entire vessel inventory between 2017 and 2021, which is spurring huge growth in the ballast water treatment market.

Ballast water is used to stabilize ocean-going vessels when they are not fully loaded. Water is taken in when a ship unloads cargo and released when it is reloaded. Ballast water also may be used for trim and structural integrity purposes. Although it is essential to the safe and efficient operation of shipping, ballast water poses serious ecological, economic and health threats due to the inadvertent transfer of invasive aquatic species.

“Ballast water treatment market consists of equipment to retrofit existing vessels and equipment for new ships,” says BCC Research analyst Lance Leverette. “These distinct market segments have some differences, but do share certain purchasing decision factors. Capital equipment expense is the most critical element for new ships, while total cost of ownership is the most important factor for retrofits.”

Ballast water treatment options include mechanical methods such as filtration and separation; physical treatment processes such as sterilization by ozone, electric currents and heat treatment; chemical methods that involve adding biocides to ballast water; and various combinations of the techniques listed above. For all options, it is essential that they are safe, environmentally acceptable, cost-efficient and effective.

The global market for ballast water treatment equipment should grow from nearly $5.2 billion in 2015 to almost $36 billion by 2020, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47.1%.

In 2013, in advance of any binding legislation, nearly 200 ballast water treatment systems were installed on ocean-going vessels. In 2016, the market looks to have a rapid takeoff. The required numbers of states have ratified the IMO treaty leaving less than a percent of the world tonnage from various states to ratify the treaty for it to become international law. Market projections show almost flat growth between 2014 and 2015, but a huge spurt rise occurring between 2015 and 2020.

The overall growth or decline in shipbuilding and the current fleet makeup will play a role as larger ships requiring more ballast will require more expensive systems and will operate better using different technology, mainly electro-chlorination versus ultraviolet (UV) light. This will further impact those companies that offer competitive systems within these realms.