The Marine Coatings Market

By Kerry Pianoforte, Editor | August 7, 2014

The marine and offshore coatings market is showing steady signs of improvement.

The marine coatings market comprises not just antifouling coatings for ships, but also protective coatings for offshore structures such as oil rigs. There is great potential for growth in this diverse market.  For 2012, market research firm Frost and Sullivan reported the protective and marine coatings market generated revenue of $2.03 billion North American with a base growth grate of 2.1 percent, and $2.40 billion in Europe, with a base year growth rate of 1.2 percent. According to the study, despite the recent global economic downturn, favorable long-term industrial trends should help the North American market grow to $2.40 billion by 2017, with a market revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 percent, and the European market is set to grow to $2.72 billion, with a CAGR of 2.6 percent.

Key issues impacting the market include environmental regulations and oversupply of vessels, resulting in reduced newbuilds.

“The marine coatings marketplace is a sizeable and diverse industry consisting primarily of large, ocean traveling commercial vessels,” said Tom Molenda, global director of marine coatings, PPG Industries.  “2013 was a mixed year for this segment.  Conditions were difficult due to an oversupply of vessels and not enough demand for cargo.  However, freight rates stabilized and even began to grow slightly. Demand for newly built vessels was on the rise providing an increase in this area for the first time in several years. While the marketplace will continue to be a challenging one in 2014, there are some signs that the bottom has been reached and forecasts indicate improvement in the coming years.” 

“The overall marine industry has been under a lot of pressure due to oversupply of vessels, which has resulted in falling freight rates,” said Dave Heflin, regional director marine coatings North and Central America, AkzoNobel. “Marine coatings demand has been affected by a reduction in the demand for new marine vessels. The market has also been impacted by reduced maintenance budgets for existing vessels resulting in lower freight costs.”

Heflin reported that the market did show some signs of improvement in 2013 as the market moved into a better supply-demand balance. “We expect that trend to continue,” he added. “There has been considerable growth in the oil and offshore industry, which use many of the same coatings. Key areas of growth have been with natural gas facilities and floating production and storage and offloading (FPSO) units.”

There are several factors contributing to growth in the marine coatings market. One major factor is the recent growth of the global fleet and the subsequent need for drydocking.

“The global marine fleet has been growing in terms of DWT (dead weight tonnage) during the last few years,” said Christian Ottosen, group marine marketing director, Hempel. “This is primarily due to the significant newbuilding inflow between 2009 and 2011, which is now coming into drydocking for the first time. The high activity in the newbuilding industry during 2009-2011 has led to overcapacity in several shipping segments and drop in demand for new vessels.”

“Despite signs of the newbuilding industry stabilizing towards the end of 2013 and in the first quarter of 2014, the newbuilding market is still very volatile, and industry focus remains clearly on decreasing the total cost of vessel operation and improving the fuel efficiency of existing and new vessels,” Ottosen added.

Despite these challenges, there are some bright spots in this marketplace.

“One thing contributing to growth is the expansion in the overall global shipping trade, which is having a positive effect on the coatings market,” said Heflin. “There is also growth in the offshore market, they use the same types of coatings as the marine coatings market. As well as growth coming from the overall expansion of the market, there is particularly strong growth for products with environmental advantages and proven performance.

“While there are many factors that drive the demand for marine coatings, one of the most significant contributions is overall world economic growth and world trade,” said Molenda. “Other factors include improving freight rates.”

Geographic speaking the vast majority of demand for marine coatings is in the Asia region, but there is sizable demand on a global basis as well.
“The biggest demand for marine coatings we see is where most shops and offshore structures are built, which is China and Korea,” said Heflin. “There is also demand where drydocking ship maintenance takes place, which includes China and Korea, but also in the Middle East, Northern Europe and North America.”

Ottosen estimates that ninety percent of new building takes in Asia. “China and Korea have the highest market share, followed by Japan,” said Ottosen. “Newbuilding also takes place in Europe, but for special vessel and cruise vessels. Marine maintenance follows the owner’s location.”

“Asia Pacific presents the most demand due to the sizeable number of shipyards that build and repair vessels,” added Molenda. “The European region boasts a large owner base which also results in a considerable demand.”

Environmental Regulations/Raw Material Issues
There is no doubt that environmental regulations are a key  driver for the marine coatings industry. Coatings formulators need to reduce solvent content to comply with increasingly strict environmental regulations. While North America and Europe already have well established legislation, emerging regions are beginning to adopt their own regulations.

“This is particularly true when it comes to the restriction in use of certain biocides and the push toward low or no VOC products,” said Heflin. “Countries like China and Korea are starting to adopt regulations that are similar to those in Europe and the U.S. The trend and movement towards regulation is there. As a global supplier we are aware of the demands these regulations will place on our products – the need for non-biocidal and low VOC products. We formulate our products with these regulations in mind. But these changes also represent a significant opportunity for a company like AkzoNobel. We are a leader in biocidal products that are compliant with environmental regulations and we are prepared for the future. We are staying ahead of the curve by developing nonbiocidal products that are ahead of the legislative curve.”

PPG works closely with its suppliers on a continuous basis to help manage not only changes in raw material prices, but also with respect to innovations that can formulate into its proprietary coatings.   “We are confident that we are well positioned to manage and adapt to situations of change in many facets of our business,” said Molenda.  “Our goal is always to minimize the impact to our customers to the best of our abilities, but in certain instances pricing increases become unavoidable.”

“In Hempel we’re constantly following the environmental regulations; we adjust our products to meet both present and future market demands, combining environmental and performance aspects,” said Ottosen. “In marine, most environmental regulations will eventually become global, even though they were initiated locally.”

Hempel adjusts its products to meet the market demands and prices in terms of raw material prices and fluctuations. “Furthermore, efforts are put into optimizing and reducing our assortment, moving towards a truly global assortment,” said Ottosen. “We source our raw materials mainly from global suppliers to ensure consistency in our products and in our product ranges.”

There are numerous trends in technology within the marine coatings industry.  “One of the most noteworthy areas making great strides in innovation is in fouling protection products,” said Molenda. “The long-term trends are towards more environmentally friendly fouling protection products that provide superior performance for today’s coatings.

The focus in recent years for marine coatings is on efficiency – both in terms of fuel efficiency as well as product performance efficiency in order to reduce maintenance costs.

“For hull coatings, the focus is on developing products that are highly fuel-efficient during drydocking periods,” said Ottosen. “Major technologies head towards the use of silicone. For example, Hempel’s HEMPAGUARD, which combines silicone with low content of biocides.

When it comes to fuel efficiency the focus is on developing initiatives to deal with low steaming, variations in speed, trading patterns and idle periods – which all are crucial to meet the demands of the changing marine industry.For other areas, vessel efficiency is important in relation to cost efficiency during drydocking periods. For example, we have developed a series of products for water ballast tanks that reduce the risk of cracking, thus reducing the maintenance cost during the vessel’s lifetime.”

“There are also other areas such as cargo holds, where cost efficiency can also be achieved,” Ottosen added. “We have a series of products that can perform for up to 10 years, hence significantly reducing the likelihood of major repairs.”

According to Heflin, while they key trends are for products with efficiency benefits, such as hull coatings that lower fuel consumption and low and no VOC systems, the trend is also for proven performance benefits, such as cargo coatings with improved impact resistance or those that are compatible with a wider range of cargoes. “The owners want flexibility with a range of cargo,” he explained. An example would be our Intersleek range, It provides fuel savings of nine percent. Owners switching from biocidal antifoulings to our Intersleek range can receive carbon credits. It is a step forward in the industry.”

New Products
International Paint, part  of AkzoNobel, recently launched two new fouling control technologies.  Intercept 8000 LPP, is a new biocidal linear polishing polymer antifouling featuring patented ‘LUBYON’ technology that delivers predictable long-term performance for in-service periods up to 90 months and Intersleek 1100SR, is the industry’s first biocide-free fouling control coating featuring unique patented slime release technology that combats micro fouling on ships hulls, maintaining performance throughout the docking cycle.

Based on LUBYON polymer technology, Intercept 8000 LPP, provides customers with consistent and predictable linear polishing. This will enable ship owners and operators to plan and budget effectively throughout the dry-dock cycle of the vessel.  The unique LUBYON polymer technology gives the coating a ‘superhydrophilic’ surface. When the coating is immersed, the seawater has a lubricating effect, resulting in less friction. This reduces drag and increases vessel efficiency giving average fuel consumption and associated emissions savings of fiver percent annually compared to typical controlled depletion polymer antifoulings. The coating surface also swells on contact with seawater, helping to smooth out imperfections and potentially further reducing drag.

LUBYON  technology reacts with seawater via a constant surface active zone releasing only the optimum amount of biocide over the scheme life to control fouling settlement. Critically, this biocide release rate is largely unaffected by seawater temperature meaning Intercept 8000 LPP has total trading flexibility and can operate across global routes and through all seasons.

Unlike typical silyl and metal acrylate antifoulings, Intercept 8000 LPP replicates the linear polishing of the former shipping industry benchmark tributyltin-based coatings, meaning total predictability with the polishing rate remaining constant throughout the in service period.

Designed for the deep sea market at newbuilding and maintenance and repair, the coating has been extensively monitored with in-service performance validated on multiple vessel types including containers, tankers, bulk carriers and LNGs representing over 4 million dwt.

Also available is an economical version of Intercept 8000 LPP, Intercept 7000. Intercept 7000 features all of the attributes of a typical mid-range biocidal antifouling product with the added benefit of linear polishing.

International Paint has launched Intersleek 1100SR, the shipping industry’s first biocide-free, fluoropolymer technology that tackles the market’s age-old “slime challenge.” Slime, a complex, varied and dynamic organism which begins to colonise surfaces as soon as they enter the water, has been proven to have an adverse effect on the efficiency of all vessel types.

Designed for all commercial vessels, even when slow or ultra-slow steaming, new Intersleek 1100SR slime release technology delivers outstanding macro and micro fouling control with good static resistance, even in warm waters. Slime that can build up during static periods is released by the movement of the vessel through water. This has been achieved by the new patented fluoropolymer in Intersleek 1100SR, which has been developed by enhancing the slime-resistant polymer groups used in earlier generations of Intersleek technology, creating new surface chemistry that specifically resists the adhesion of slime.

International Paint has also introduced Interline 9001, a new bimodal epoxy coating for the cargo tanks of chemical tankers. Interline 9001 is designed  to deliver greater efficiency and flexibility in the operation of chemical tankers, easily switching from one cargo to the next with minimal downtime. It can carry all of the cargoes standard epoxy phenolic technology can, plus a further 25 percent of the large volume cargoes that it cannot and has over 60 percent fewer cycling restrictions.  

In 2013,  Hempel launched several new products aimed at helping customers reduce operating costs. This included HEMPAGUARD, a fouling defense product that promises to have the most significant impact on vessel fuel consumption – and associated CO2 emissions – for many years.

“The only product of its kind to come with a Customer Satisfaction Guarantee, HEMPAGUARD delivers average fuel savings of six per cent a year compared to conventional antifoulings, even during vessel idle periods of up to 120 days, and has seen several drydock applications each week since it was first launched on the market in September 2013,” Ottosen said.

In 2013, Hempel completed the launch of its high-solids antifouling range with the introduction of GLOBIC 6000 and GLOBIC 9000. “Based on proven NCT technology, these products deliver outstanding antifouling performance and contain less volatile organic compounds than previous formulations. In total, more than 10,000 vessels have been coated with proven NCT technology since it was first launched,” Ottosen explained. “We also launched HEMPADUR IMPACT 47800 a new cargo hold coating for bulk carriers that ensures vessels spend less time in drydock and significantly reduces maintenance costs for owners.

PPG has a number of new products to speak of. The two most notable ones are PPG’s SigmaGlide 1290 foul release technology and Sigma Nexeon Antifoulant range. “SigmaGlide 1290 is the fourth generation of our core fouling release hull coating technology with an impressive 15-year track record,” said Molenda. “The foul release properties against slime, at low steaming speeds, and its long-term performance characteristics are a competitive advantage.    Sigma Nexeon’s range of antifouling products provides very low levels of frictional resistance, outstanding fouling protection and amazing color retention.  In addition, this technology is a more environmentally friendly option than the industry’s typical offerings, as it is a copper free antifouling technology. Both the SigmaGlide and Nexeon technology can be used over a wide range of vessels and deliver benefits over a broad range of operating conditions.”

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