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  • 2021 November 15 14:32

    Optimarin riding the wave of BWT retrofit demand surge

    The market is heating up for ballast water treatment (BWT) systems amid a retrofit rush that has resulted in a recent surge of orders for leading supplier Optimarin – and it says fast-track delivery is vital to meet soaring demand.

    Shipowners are continuously upgrading their vessels with BWT systems ahead of a 2024 deadline for compliance with the IMO’s ballast water management convention and this has triggered a wave of orders that has challenged the capacity to deliver of some overstretched suppliers, according to Optimarin.

    “We have been gaining new clients at an increasing rate every month throughout 2021, both in our established markets and those where we have previously sold fewer systems, with a 15-20% year-on-year increase in the number of systems sold to date,” says chief executive Leiv Kallestad.

    “We believe this is a factor of our capability for fast-track delivery with a turnaround time on orders of about 30 days - and in some cases down to only 10 days - compared with typically around three months for the industry.”

    He attributes this to the company having readily available approvals documentation, a very fast and efficient ordering process, and the flexible modularity of its system to ease installation.

    Pandemic after-shocks

    He believes there has been a lot of pent-up demand due to national lockdown restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic that have acted as a constraint on global supply chain logistics, as well as the fact many shipowners have been reluctant to take their vessels offline for BWT retrofits as business has been booming in certain shipping segments.

    The long-established Norwegian supplier has so far sold more than 1200 BWT systems, with 900 installed on vessels, and is on course to meet the next short-term sales milestone of 1500 systems, according to Kallestad.

    “Optimarin is well-positioned in all ship segments, with significant positions in offshore, cargo, bulk, container and tanker, and seems to be steadily increasing its overall market share in its target market segments,” Kallestad says.

    The company, with a broad geographical presence, has in particular seen increased sales in Turkey where it has recently secured as many as 25 orders.

    “Ten countries have accounted for around 70% of its sales with the remaining 30% distributed around the world. Safe to say Optimarin is present where the shipowners are and where the ships are being built," Kallestad says.

    He states that Optimarin has expanded its customer base with between 5-7 new clients per month, which offers potential for multiple deliveries to any one client as additional BWT systems are required on other vessels in its fleet.

    “We take a long-term partnership approach with our clients as a supplier that is able to offer an efficient turnkey delivery, as well as fast and responsive aftersales and technical support throughout the estimated 25-year lifetime of the system,” he explains.

    'Thinking smarter’

    The company has also focused on product development to continuously enhance the quality of its well-proven technology, which has resulted in a more compact system as complex parts have been replaced with smaller, simpler and more robust components.

    This has significantly reduced the footprint of the system that makes it easier to install for retrofits, which presently account for a major proportion of Optimarin’s turnover, as well as on newbuilds.

    In addition, this improvement drive has reduced manufacturing costs for the system that has enabled the supplier to offer more competitive pricing even with a better-quality product.

    “Optimarin is achieving stronger sales as it is a trusted brand with shipowners due to its strong track record of reliability. But at the same time we need to run faster and think smarter with the system as the market is not standing still,” Kallestad says.

    The company recently took a major leap in digitalisation of its system with the launch of OptiLink, a cloud-based digital solution to enhance operation and maintenance through remote troubleshooting 24/7 and data analytics for fleet-wide ballast water management.

    “We have taken the system to the next level with this solution that can reduce vessel downtime, thereby improving voyage planning and efficiency to contribute to lower fuel consumption that in turn cuts costs and emissions,” Kallestad says.


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