The survey by the Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) reveals 63% of all ships have either been or will be retrofitted with scrubbers, while 37% are new-build installations. 71 scrubbers were ordered in May 2018 alone. The number of ships with exhaust gas cleaning systems installed or on order stands at 983.

Source: EGCA

Scrubber uptake

Shipowners are expected to spend more than USD 20 billion over the next five years on exhaust gas cleaning systems.

Back in 2015, in readiness for the switch to 0.10% sulphur fuel, a number of RORO and ferry operators led the way and opted for scrubbers as a means of compliance. The cruise industry came next and now, with 2020 looming, bulk carriers have taken over as the leading shipping sector to adopt exhaust gas cleaning, with container ships and tankers following. In each of these sectors retrofit open loop installations predominate.

Some constraints

Nearly 60% of all retrofits and new building installation works take place in Asian yards and increases to nearly 85% for new build installations. For this reason, several scrubber manufacturers are now taking options through to 2023 to enable ship-owners to secure a position on the installation timetable.

Despite this huge surge in demand, yard capacity is not an issue going forward, said Don Gregory, EGCSA director. "However other constraints such as the availability of laser scanning specialists and experienced installation teams mean that it may not be possible to pick and choose an installation slot nor coincide a scrubber installation with an already scheduled drydock in the near future."