Scrubber Take Up Miniscule, Statistics Show

Tuesday June 12, 2018

New figures on the adoption of scrubbers by the world's fleet underline the hesitancy of shipowners regarding the emissions abatement technology.

As part of Argus Media's marine fuels service, data on scrubber take up by ship owners and operators gives a grand total of 497 to May this year. But that figure is a composite of installations that have already happened, those scheduled over the next two years (2018-20), those set to happen in 2023 as well as options to install with no specified year.

Within the 497 figure, the biggest group, at 159 vessels, is cruise ships comprising 32% of total. But in terms of bunker fuel use by vessel type (2015), cruiseships account for a much smaller portion, of 4%. The sector with the biggest scrubber take up so far is one of the smallest in terms of bunker fuel use.

The reverse is true of box shipping. Containerships account for a much larger 30% share of total bunker fuel use. But of the 497 scrubber take up figure, box ships account for only 6%.

When take up is seen as a percentage of the global fleet, it is lower still. Container shipping, for example, accounts for 0.5%.

Indeed, the three big shipping sectors -- box, tanker and bulk -- which between them use 71% of total bunker fuel use have a miniscule take up of scrubber technology, running at under 2% of the global fleet.

Figures from DNV GL released earlier this week suggest a change of heart by shipowners towards the technology as ordered or installed scrubbers come in at 817, 320 above the Argus figure. However, when looked at in terms of the global fleet and bunker fuel consumption, as can be seen in the Argus data, take up remains lackluster.