Shipping technology in same group helps Langh to develop scrubbers
The Naval Architect: March 2019
At first, such a variety of businesses may seem unlikely to offer much in terms of synergies, but Laura Langh-Lagerlof, commercial director at Langh Tech, points out the group structure helped a lot in establishing the scrubber business.
“In about 2011, charterers started to ask us what we are planning to do when the year 2015 starts to draw closer, Langh-Lagerlöf explains to The Naval Architect, referring to when the 0.1% limit in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) first took effect in the Baltic and the North Sea.
The company started to look at the various products on the market and concluded that not only were the prices comparatively high, but the technology available also left something to be desired. Containerships VII, a 966TEU container vessel in the company’s fleet, had recently been fitted with a scrubber and this gave Langh first-hand experience from of the products then on offer.
From the start it was clear that scrubber installations in the company’s ships would have to be of a closed loop type, because the ships trade to the northern parts of the Gulf of Bothnia, a region that is both environmentally sensitive and with extreme weather conditions in the winter. At this point, the cleaning services unit of the company became a valuable asset, as it had been manufacturing water purification systems since the early 1970s.
“It’s from here that our product development regarding scrubbers started: we decided to build a closed loop system in a container and we had the water treatment system. However, we now needed the scrubber unit and soon found out that suppliers were reluctant to sell that alone,” Langh-Lagerlof continues.
The only practical way ahead was to build a scrubber unit from a scratch.
Own ships used as testbed
By the summer of 2014 a hybrid scrubber of the company’s own creation was installed onboard four of its ships.
The fact that the company has ships of its own that it used as test beds proved highly beneficial in the early stages, Langh-Lagerlof notes. Not only could technology be tested on board them, but installations onboard the company’s own ships could be demonstrated to potential customers.
In January 2019, Langh Tech announced it was to supply open loop scrubbers to four 180,000dwt bulkers and three 3,000dwt very large ore carriers for South Korean owner Polaris Shipping. Other recent customers include D/S Norden, the Danish dry bulk and product tanker operator, which bought units to 12 of its owned ships.. Langh-Lagerlof expects the market for retrofits to remain busy in the near term with the IMO’s new emission control rules coming into effect from 1 January 2020.