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Major opportunity for coating firms as sulphur cap looms

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Norwegian paint manufacturer Jotun AS believes there is huge scope to raise hull and propeller operating efficiency by using shipboard data more effectively. According to Global Concept Director Stein Kjølberg, pictured, only about 15% of the world fleet is equipped with high-frequency performance monitoring equipment and only around 7-8% are using the data efficiently.

This may be because they bought a comprehensive performance monitoring system but are not using all of its potential benefits. Meanwhile many ship operators still rely on ‘snapshots’ – once-a-day noon reports.

In the run-up to the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap, Kjølberg says there are major opportunities for ship managers, owners and charterers to use past data to optimise decision-making on future hull and propeller maintenance strategies and cites continuing strong interest in the company’s hull performance solutions (HPS) programme. This uses comprehensive shipboard data from one of a number of performance monitoring companies to provide Jotun’s own analysts with scope to identify short-term patterns as well as long-term trends. They can then suggest several future maintenance strategies based on budget and a ship’s operating profile.

Read more: Using technology to save fuel and improve environmental performance

The HPS system is closely aligned with ISO 19030 which sets out four key performance indicators – drydock performance, in-service performance, maintenance triggers and maintenance effects. This, he insists, does not mean necessarily that the most expensive coatings option is the best choice. A touch-up job could be preferable to a full blast, Kjølberg says, in an overall business context.

The relatively small outlay for a performance monitoring system typically pays back in fuel savings in less than a year. However, this payback period will shorten substantially as fuel prices rise before and after January 2020 when the sulphur cap enters force, Kjølberg predicts.

He also notes interest from fuel-paying charterers. He will not reveal names, but in one deal where bunkers were for charterer’s account, Jotun, owner and charterer sat down together to work out a risk/reward structure. The owner paid for a full hull blast and the charterer bought the paint. Jotun analysts now track the ship’s performance via a third-party’s high-frequency monitoring system.

Jotun’s HPS is now in operation on board close to 900 ships including container vessels, tankers, bulkers and LNG carriers.

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