Pneumatic fenders are emerging as low-cost and low-maintenance alternatives to conventional marine fenders. Their self-floating and long-lasting durability is gaining prominence in ship-to-ship (STS) transfers and ship-to-berthing (STB) operations. As such, manufacturers in the marine fender market are striving to develop technologies that support its easy-to-deploy and efficacious energy-absorption attributes.
The global marine fender market is estimated to grow from ~US$ 670 million in 2018 to ~US$ 880 million by 2027. Due to the high demand for minimum test and inspection procedures, manufacturers in the marine fender market are innovating on pneumatic fenders that solve the challenging issue of crude oil transfer between vessels. To avoid oil spill accidents, manufacturers in the marine fender market are developing robust fenders that meet the newly-introduced global safety standards.
Newly-developed pneumatic fenders aid in the double/triple banking of large-project cargoes. The new trend of renting pneumatic fenders serves as a cost-efficient alternative for stakeholders in maritime transport, as these fenders are only deployed when required, unlike rubber fenders that are already installed.
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New Developments Provide Economic Advantages to Manufacturers
Many developments in the marine fender market are contributing towards market growth. For instance, the development of synthetic rubber and its blend with natural rubber facilitate a better ratio between high energy absorption and reaction force. Manufacturers in the marine fender market are innovating on the performance of new materials that are likely to influence energy absorption and subsequent berthing forces. Also, increased focus on sustainable aspects such as re-use and recycling of components has emerged as a cost-effective option for manufacturers.
Other developments in the marine fender market, such as metal-skinning energy absorbers, act as a backup system for marine fenders. These new absorbers are an effective alternative to conventional elastic fenders. Metal-skinning energy absorbers protect berthing structures and provide economic advantages to manufacturers by reducing unplanned downtime that were earlier caused by elastic marine fenders. Increased research and development is being done to implement metal skinning mechanisms according to the various sizes of vessels and according to the skinning depth of the systems.
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Review Assessments and Patenting Technology Revive Market Growth
Marine fenders play an important role in maritime infrastructure to protect ships and berth structures from damage. However, industry experts opine that, there is a growing need for extensive review of newly-developed fenders according to the new materials and technologies available in the market. The competitive landscape of the marine fender market is moderately fragmented. However, the expected moderate CAGR of ~3% can be of great concern to existing and emerging market players in the landscape.
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New marine fenders are not completely obsolete, but do need improvements, as the data used for the design of these fenders is relatively outdated. That is why, existing and emerging manufacturers should focus on gathering more information related to the durability and sustainability, and run routine lifecycle assessments. Another aspect that could be a reason for the moderate growth rate of the marine fender market could be the loss of confidence from dockyards and ports, as many unscrupulous suppliers provide inferior-quality fenders in the name of established manufacturers. As such, manufacturers are overcoming this challenge by filing patents for their technology and systems.
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