What is the potential size of the marketplace for Ballast Water Treatment Systems?

United States Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations now require all marine vessels discharging ballast water to comply with approved ballast water treatments systems.

Ballast water discharged from ships is one of the pathways for the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species and the impact on coastal ecology and local economies is tremendous.

A recent article in WaterWorld does a great job in outlining the potential impact of this developing market within our industry – the opportunities for all suppliers, the challenges of owners and operators and the overall uncertainty in the marketplace.


Some highlights of the Ballast Water Treatment article include:

“Demand for BWTS has emerged following the adoption of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments in 2004. This convention aims to address the issue of the so called ‘invasive marine species’- aquatic organisms carried around the world in the ballast water tanks of ships.”Ballast water retrofit engineering

Why adopt Ballast Water Treatment Solutions?
“According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), maritime ships transporting over 80% of world’s commodities could carry between three and 12 billion tonnes of ballast water around the world each year. Losses incurred by economy as a result of the invasive species are equally staggering and in the USA alone it is estimated by the IMO to be as high as $138 billion annually.”

What role does the International Maritime Organization (IMO) play?
“In order to address this enormous environmental challenge, the IMO Convention adopted in 2004 set an obligation for the ship owners to meet strict water quality standards referred to as D2 standard in the legislation and determined the maximum volume level of invasive organisms allowed in the discharged water. Since ships have not been designed and equipped to treat ballast water, installation of an additional ballast water management system onboard is necessary to ensure conformity with the standards.

To ensure effective implementation of the legislation, the IMO Convention has set a roadmap for the ship owners to achieve compliance. Specific timelines have been provided for the new build and existing ships, additionally differentiated depending on the capacity of the vessel’s ballast water tank. Importantly, the agenda outlined in the IMO Convention will infl

uence the timeline for investments of ship owners to install BWMS over the next ten years.

Although the IMO Convention was adopted in 2004, it needs ratification by 30 states representing 35% of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage to be effective. The current status of the Convention is that it has been ratified by 21 states representing about 23% of the merchant fleet tonnage.”


What is the potential size of the marketplace for Ballast Water Treatment Systems?
“Driven by international regulations, the market for ballast water treatment systems is predicted to grow to over $34 billion. Cumulative investments of over $30 billion are expected to be made into ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) over this decade, according to a study recently conducted by Frost & Sullivan.

Investments will concern more than 57,000 maritime vessels that will require a ballast water treatment system to be installed during the period 2009-2020, driving massive requirement for system orders.”


Uncertainty in the marketplace…
“The approval and certification process is both costly and time-consuming (up to two years) and constitutes a major market entry barrier for the potential suppliers.”

Outside of suppliers, many questions exist for owners and operators managing ballast water treatment including:

1.)  Do I – or does my organization – have to do this?
2.)  What do I have to do / What does my company have to do?
3.)  What treatment solutions are approved?
4.)  How do the regulations affect our ships?
5.)  How much is it going to cost – and how can I finance these costs?
6.)  How do I manage and operate the ballast system / how do I comply?
7.)  Who can help us with new systems or re-engineering of our current system?

Whether you have marine engineers and architects on your staff or not, you may need assistance from an outside group experienced in the navigation of the management of ballast water treatment systems.


Boksa Marine Design can help your organization with:

  • Understanding ballast water regulations, especially as they relate to your specific vessel or fleet
  • Understanding the potential ballast water treatment solutions available to your vessels
  • How those solutions can be applied through engineering work
  • Mapping out the design and engineering of implementation


To speak with Boksa Marine Design about marine engineering solutions to help your organization meet USCG and IMO ballast water treatment regulations, please contact us at 813-654-9800.


Boksa Marine Design is located near Tampa, Florida and provides engineering and naval architecture services to clients within the United States as well as around the world.

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