t is expected to witness steady growth owing to the robust development of the shipbuilding and offshore engineering industries in the region. Moreover, ships are subject to harsh environments and the constant need for their maintenance and repair will sustain market demand.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, finds that the market earned revenues of $4.84 billion in 2012 and estimates this to reach US$6.69 billion in 2016.
The expansion of global trade through sea routes has increased the number of bulk carriers, container ships and general cargo ships manufactured, in turn widening the scope of the marine coatings market in Asia-Pacific. South Korea, Japan and China are chief shipbuilding countries and will remain the top investment choice for coating manufacturers.
“The emergence of new coating technologies has further aided market development,” said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials and Food Consultant Lim Jin Han. “Foul-release and anti-fouling coatings, which prevent the buildup of organic matter on ship hulls, improve fuel efficiency, and decrease emissions, are becoming popular.”
However, the rising costs of the raw materials used in these coatings – mainly due to fluctuating crude oil prices – have heightened production expenditure and reduced manufacturers’ margins. Titanium dioxide, in particular, is a key raw material, and an increase in its price will affect consumer demand.
Besides, the economic slowdown in Europe and North America has led to a decline in sea trade and curbed marine coating sales. Conversely, the downturn has also led to the outsourcing of shipbuilding activities to countries such as China that provide cheap labor. Hence, Asia-Pacific’s position as a hotspot for shipbuilding will remain intact, spurring the marine coatings market in the region.
“Meanwhile, increasingly stringent regulations governing marine coatings have compelled manufacturers in the region to develop products with low volatile organic compounds (VOC), high solid content, and less harmful biocides,” observed Jin Han. “Low-VOC water-based coatings are likely to be the most sustainable option for manufacturers.”
Epoxy-based anticorrosive marine coatings are slated for high growth in the Asia-Pacific due to its favorable cost and enhanced performance. In the case of antifouling coatings, acrylates are preferred. However, foul release technologies are also expected to show gradual growth.