Box Ship Scrubber Uptake Lower Than Previously Reported

Wednesday January 9, 2019

The uptake of scrubbers by box ship owners is not as prolific as recent reports have indicated, an investigation by Ship & Bunker has revealed.

A report last month by Drewry suggested the segment has now seen a significant uptake of the tech, declaring that "there are currently 266 containerships fitted with scrubbers with an aggregate capacity of 2.2 million teu."

Alphaliner, meanwhile, says that "there are currently 40 containerships fitted with SOx scrubbers on main engines and this figure will rise at only a slow pace will grow as we approach 2020."

Having clarified that Drewry's numbers were derived from Clarksons' data, the discrepancy comes from the fact a large number of box ships pegged to have the tech installed are still pending retrofit.

Clarksons told Ship & Bunker that as at January 7, 2019, there are 45 containerships fitted with scrubbers - 24 installed as newbuildings and 21 as retrofits.

There are 222 in fleet box ships awaiting retrofit.

Ship & Bunker has further clarified that Alphaliner has recorded more than 330 additional orders for scrubbers that will be installed on existing containerships and newbuildings. However not all of them will be installed by January 1, 2020.

Understanding the number of scrubber equipped vessels is important to those trying to predict HSFO demand in the post-2020 market, although as Ship & Bunker has already highlighted, this is not a straightforward calculation.