Danish ballast water company expects explosive growth

Denmark-based Bawat is close to launching its ballast water system. Expectations are huge and management anticipates sales in the multimillions in the near term.

Back in the spring, Klaus Nyborg aired his expectations for Danish company Bawat, which has worked on the development of a ballast water system for the past three years. At the time, Klaus Nyborg had been Chairman of the company for six months, and he referred to the system as “completely unique”.

Now, Bawat’s solution for cleaning ballast water is nearly ready for launch, and certification for the system is likely to be secured during the first six months of 2014, CEO Kim Diederichsen tells ShippingWatch. He expects to start selling the system to carriers in 2014. And expectations are huge:

“The potential is very, very big. We have obviously run some scenarios for what it can bring in, of course based on a ratification of the convention,” he says referring to ongoing discussions in IMO of whether or not the phasing in of the ballast water convention should happen slower than initially decided upon.

But to the advantage of suppliers of ballast water systems, they do not seem to care about the IMO discussions in the US, where the Coastguard is in the process of making the cleaning of ballast water mandatory for vessels docking at US ports. It will probably force most carriers to implement the systems, even if IMO’s requirements do not come into effect yet, certainly the carriers Bawat targets within dry cargo and tank shipping.

“No one from these segments wants to risk not being able to dock at US ports. It’s an unthinkable situation. So the entire market will be kickstarted by this. We are not worried about the market. We are on the verge of a breakthrough on a market that you can now see the outline of, and which will grow explosively in coming years. It’s extremely big numbers in a short number of years. We expect revenue of more than USD 18m within a few years,” says Kim Diederichsen.

Photo: Bawat
Photo: Bawat

The implementation of the ballast water convention has been stalled, which has actually worked to the advantage of Bawat. It is no secret that the company has been able to develop its system due to experiences of all the other actors.

“Once this takes off, we will be far along with a technical solution that will in many ways be cutting-edge. We have benefited from the learning curve of the others.”

Lauritzen Kosan

The great expectations are also based on Bawat’s ballast water system being markedly different from current systems on the market, according to Kim Diederichsen. The system is a so-called in-tank system based on deoxification and pasteurization of the ballast water, and the process happens as the ship is sailing. Current systems clean the ballast water once the ships have docked.

“Furthermore, it’s a green solution. The system is created so it partly or completely utilizes the ships waste heat,” Kim Diederichsen explains.

In order to win IMO approval of the system, the company will have to conduct additional tests at land and at sea. So far, two out of three planned tests at sea have been completed at J. Lauritzens gas tanker Henrietta Kosan, which Bawat collaborates with. Land-based tests are nearing completion as well, and the ballast water system works in all types of water; salt water, brackish water and fresh water, which is not the case for all current systems.

“We have noted that the Bawat system has delivered promising results,” says Peter M. Petersen, Head of Vessel Management at Lauritzen Kosan A/S.

Lauritzen is not the only one interested in the system, and additional players from Denmark and Norway have contacted Bawat to begin talks, says Kim Diederichsen. And the company is also in talks with companies from the Far East:

“Some of the biggest carriers and ship management companies from the Far East have shown an interest in us and have started evaluation processes. It looks very promising,” he says.

Photo: Bjørn Marcus Trappaud
Photo: Bjørn Marcus Trappaud

Klaus Nyborg (photo) former top chief in the Hong Kong-based carrier Pacific Basin, currently serving on a number of boards, for example in D/S Norden and the bunker and shipping group USTC, has been Chairman of the board in Bawat for a year.

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