Optimarin launches 'industry first' ballast water treatment system leasing
The Naval Architect: June 2020
Norwegian water treatment (BWT) specialist Optimarin has become the first in the segment to offer a leasing option for its equipment. The company has joined forces with a UK financial fund for a solution which will allow shipowners to spread the cost across three years instead of laying for the entire ballast system upfront.
“We know that a lot of owners have heavy mortgages on ships and there’s not a lot of room to maneuver. It’s a private equity fund so looks at financing differently to banks and we will lease the system for 36 equal monthly payments. Although the system would never be taken out, the lessors are the owners in principle until it’s paid, which gives them an instrument to arrest the vessel if necessary, although we don’t think that would be a big issue,” Optimarin EVP Tore Andersen tells The Naval Architect.
“We already have a bunch of owners looking into it. The good thing for us is that we’re usually selling the system to the fleet director or superintendent, who has a technical mindset, but doesn’t handle financing. So it’s a different way to sell our system and it won’t suit all owners, but we’ve already heard some say that they would rather use their cash for operational issues than paying for a ballast system.”
Optimarin, whose UV-based system has both IMO G8 and USCG approval, have previous when it comes to offering innovative commercial solutions. In 2017 it was also the first BWT to include a five-year warranty as part of sales. Then, in March this year, it announced a strategic cooperation with Chinese BWT manufacturer SunRui, a subsidiary of CSSC which makes electrochlorination-based systems. The idea is to create a ‘one stop shop’ for shipowners with diverse fleets, since the power demands of a UV system make it more suitable for small to medium sized ships (up to 70-80,000 dwt), while SunRui are more used to supplying larger vessels.
Optimarin CEO Leiv Kallestad believes the two companies make for a good match. “Like us they don’t pretend to be the cheapest provider, they have high quality components and want to strengthen their service. We also know that further down the road there is likely to be consolidation in this segment and we want to make sure we’re there in 2024 and beyond.”
The boom in orders for BWT systems that began when IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention finally entered into force in 2017 means that of more than 1,000 systems Optimarin has sold, only 680 have been installed to date. Andersen notes that certain regulatory factors, such as the USCG’s granting of 12-month extensions and the decoupling of the International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) certificate, which was intended to define the dates when vessels should define the D-2 Discharge Performance Standard, have muddied the ballast waters somewhat and allowed shipowners to delay.
Consequently 2021-22 will be particularly hectic in the rush to complete retrofits. However, one of the solutions Optimarin has developed is using riding squads to install systems while a vessel is alongside or even while in operation. “Many owners with smaller ships have done this successfully and because the riding crew goes between sister ships they become used to the layout. We expect this will become more common because the yards don’t have the capacity,” says Andersen.