As shipyards in China race to chip away at the backlog of exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) retrofits in the wake of IMO 2020 a growing number of shipowners are turning to South Korea where installation capacity is on the rise.

Seasoned shipyards such as Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC) appear particularly well placed to capitalise on the recent surge in enquiries for scrubber retrofits, repairs, drydocking and other engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects.

The most recent EGCS installations at HHIC involved three of Dongjin Shipping’s 1,000-teu containerships and a pair of 4,600-teu vessels operated by Hyundai Merchant Marine. Today, it’s backlog of retrofits includes two 5,400-teu boxships for KMTC.

HHIC recently retrofitted two 4,600-teu containerships with scrubbers for South Korean compatriot Hyundai Merchant Marine. Photo: HHIC

HHIC says it’s never missed a deadline and is equipped to conduct periodic inspections to ensure client satisfaction. Installations on most vessels typically take between 35 and 40 days. For containerships, however, the shipyard has lowered its target to 30.

In addition to efforts to line up more repair work and ballast water management system retrofits, HHIC intends to beef up what management describes as an eco-friendly vessel remodeling business and has accelerated efforts to penetrate new markets. In response to rising demand for clean energy, LNG carrier construction and dual-fuel conversions are key areas of focus.

HHIC’s workforce includes 100 design engineers and 1,000 technical engineers. It’s shipbuilding and repair facility in Busan features a 3,000-ton floating crane, two large docks with three 100-ton cranes and one small dock with an 80-ton crane, which are essential for EGCS retrofits.

Erection of the casing block for one of the Dongjin Shipping retrofits. Photo: HHIC

The shipyard, which was founded in 1937, has constructed nearly ten LNG carriers to-date and recently landed a periodic repair contract involving 180,000-dwt bulkers controlled by South Korean compatriot Hyundai Merchant Marine.

As TradeWinds has reported, more than 200 vessels in China are facing potential delays in their repair, retrofit or maintenance works, according to estimates of China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry.