The impending 2020 IMO sulphur cap rule’s implementation has already many implications on the shipping market-and specifically the dry dock or ship repair sector. Many a commercial ship will have to undergo conversions or retrofits so as to be equipped with the necessary scrubber requirements. In a recent report, the shipbroker Intermodal remarked that during the past months an increasing amount of ship docks are booked to their maximum capacity as we are nearing the end of the first half of 2019. The same is obviously due to scrubber retrofit demand for all commercial ships on the water, while these deliveries from most of the scrubber manufacturers have started from May 2019.
Furthermore, many difficulties are expected to be faced on the part of the shipyards regarding their delivering their the scrubber retrofit projects in time. The latter is upon considering the range of uncertainties and complications (given that such retrofits will be installed on a global scale for the first time) and also the level of workmanship required to do so. For instance, one such ”uncertainty” refers to the commonly late delivery of spare parts like big valves, cabling, exotic piping and various other equipment- which in most projects are ultimately required for the actual conversion/retrofit itself. Moreover, other delays which might unavoidably occur have to do with the custom formalities, the logistics, the class approval and the design engineering. Hence, the eta of many ship conversion/ retrofit projects is slightly pushed forward in order to cover for the aforementioned delays. As a result, some shipyards are maxed out and so careful forward planning will be required on the part of the shipyards, especially in relation to the summer months lying ahead. Already many yards have booked more scrubber retrofits than their actual capacity and so to tackle the same certain yards have hired extra manpower and floating cranes at a premium cost.
We are heading towards a ”Shipyards” era during which ship repair yards- even those of secondary class- will benefit from the global wave of ship repairs need in order to comply with the IMO fuel sulphur cap.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide