Early last year, US-based ballast water treatment equipment supplier, Ecochlor, expanded its business development efforts in Asia by hiring experienced sales managers in South Korea, Japan and China. This initiative is paying off with some notable contract wins from Asian shipowners.
Andrew Marshall, vice president of business development at Ecochlor, explains: “Our goal was to offer more support to shipowners and shipyards in these critical locations around the world. Since that time, we have signed ballast water management system retrofit contracts with a number of significant shipping companies, such as JX Ocean, Fuyo Kaiun and Idemitsu Tanker.”
Over the past 12 months, Ecochlor has also focused its attentions on enhancing its ballast water treatment system servicing capabilities and the company attributes these efforts, designed to help minimise equipment downtime, to its success in winning repeat orders from its existing client base worldwide.
Retrofit contracts placed over the past year have come from a host of different owners, including Anglo Eastern Ship Management, Athenian Sea Carriers, Bahri Ship Management, Euronav, Hydroussa Navigation, Minerva Marine, SCF Cyprus, SCF Novorrosisyk, Scorpio Tankers, Seacor Ocean Tranport, Transocean Marine Agencies Management and U.S. Shipping.
Marshall suggests that: “Our strong global after-sale service support programmes are a big factor in the company’s continued success in the ballast water treatment industry. We have, for example, expanded our spare parts support network outside the United States to Singapore, providing a faster delivery response time to all vessels with an Ecochlor system in Asia. Our initial goal is to have spare parts located in the three main time zones, Asia, Europe and the USA, in an effort to provide real-time response to our customers’ requirements.”
Ecochlor has also expanded its chemical service resupply hubs and has further plans to develop more locations that meet the needs of its client base.
The company is adding to the range of after-sale services available. Marshall says: “With almost 20 years in the ballast water management industry, we have accumulated a great deal of experience in the retrofit process. After discussions with our clients, we have extended our after-sales options to better serve their needs by providing turnkey logistics solutions for system installations.”
These services include door-to- door shipping by ocean or air freight, customs clearance and equipment storage for delayed drydock schedules and oversight for installations designed by integration engineers or installed by shipyards inexperienced with Ecochlor retrofits.
Marshall explains: “The Ecochlor installation team can provide oversight of the entire installation process or can be onsite at key periods of time during the retrofit to ensure the system is installed successfully. Additionally, if allowed by Class or the vessel’s flag state, our commissioning team can be on-hand to review biological efficacy commissioning testing.” He also points out that customers can benefit from its bulk purchasing power for alloy 20, 316 and other stainless steel piping to support retrofit installations.
In an important step towards ensuring further market success, in September this year Ecochlor received Type Approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) confirming that its equipment meets IMO’s revised G8 standards. The new certification applies to the entire range of Ecochlor ballast water management systems, covering flow rates of between 500m3/h and 16,200m3/h, meaning that vessel owners can continue to install Ecochlor systems after the IMO 28 October 2020 deadline.
“We completed the additional testing required for active substance technologies for full approval in marine, brackish and fresh waters earlier in the year. These tests confirmed that no changes in equipment or in the operation of the Ecochlor ballast water management systems were required,” says Marshall.