Hull coatings can reduce fouling and improve fuel efficiency
An analysis by consulting company Frost & Sullivan predicts that revenues for the marine coatings industry will jump from $5 billion in 2011 to $10.2 billion in 2018 as shipowners look for ways to reduce fuel consumption and meet environmental regulations.
"The need to lower fuel consumption is a strong market driver and antifouling coatings applied to ships' hulls offer one way to combat emissions and reduce fuel consumption," said Frost & Sullivan Research Director Leonidas Dokos.
"Foul-release technology, which also results in substantial fuel savings, is particularly useful for large cargo ships, which consume a lot of fuel."
The report says that the makers of marine coatings, which include anti-corrosive, anti-fouling, and foul-release products, are developing new, more environmentally friendly formulas.
Leonidas Dokos, Research Director, Frost & Sullivan
Foul-release technology is particularly useful for large cargo ships
"Companies are investing in developing eco-friendly products such as metal-free, anti-fouling coatings," said Dokos.
"Most major participants now offer silicone- or fluororesin-based foul-release products."
Despite the positive market trends, Frost & Sullivan predicts some challenges for the industry, including a likely drop-off in new ship building in the short term and the consolidation of shipping management companies, which will increase their bargaining power and drive coating prices down.
Navigating those issues will require strong marketing, customer service, and strategic alliances in regions like China.
Smaller companies will need to work especially hard to differentiate their products and provide strong customer service.
A recent study found that operating in areas with a high risk of hull fouling can add $500,000 a year to the cost of operating a cruise ship because of increased fuel consumption.