Paint supplier says vessel owners are neglecting hull maintenance to cash in on high freight rates, creating a potential bottleneck at dry-docks in months to come.
In a press release vessel coatings manufacturer Nippon Paint Marine said liner operators are postponing dry-dock work as they look to keep vessels operational to meet the recent surge in demand for container shipping.
“Container ship owners want to push dry-docking schedules as much as possible because of the high freight rates and capacity shortage,” said John Drew, Director, Nippon Paint Marine (Europe). “Although the shipowner’s classification society has the final say in accepting any plans to postpone a five-year dry-docking, we are beginning to see deferments of several months.”
This is bad for business for the Nippon Paint Group in the short term, and the company warns it could “possibly impair the long-term performance of hull coatings, possibly resulting in increased fouling, fuel consumption and emissions”.
Michael Friis, Nippon Paint Marine’s Sales Manager in Denmark, said: “Most coating systems are designed to perform reliably for 60 months. Hull performance needs to be monitored very closely indeed if dry-dockings are to be postponed as any commercial gain from a bullish market could be lost."
Drew added: “Hull coatings have a very precise service period calculated at the time of application and based on many variables. As a coatings manufacturer we advise that ship operators follow the application and performance guidelines for coatings designed with a 60-month operating window.”
Nippon Paint Marine also suggested that long delays past the 60-month dry-docking life could ultimately result in extra surface preparation requirements when ships eventually do enter dry-dock.
Postponing dry-dock now also increases the chance of creating a bottleneck in months to come. “If further dry-dockings are postponed this year, there could be repair yard capacity issues later when the market readjusts,” warned Drew. “Any major changes to the sector’s current dry-docking schedules are likely to have commercial repercussions later, possibly for both yard and owner.”