EALs - "you get what you pay for"

However, unlike Vessel General Permit (VGP) regulations which make the use of EALs compulsory on vessels calling in US ports, the Polar Code so far only recommends that ship owners “should consider using EALs in the Arctic.”

Phil Cumberlidge, business development manager for Panolin’s GreenMarine range of EALs, likens the situation to the first five years of the VGP. ‘The IMO Polar Code is the younger sibling of the VGP, so far as I am concerned,’ he explains. ‘Like its older sibling when it was a baby, it has no teeth. The VGP had to wait until it was five, in 2013, before it had teeth and could tell the world that EALs must, instead of should, be used.’

Cumberlidge insists that ship operators should be exercising careful due diligence in the choice of EAL because quality is variable and some products are designed down to a price. He reveals that the company is winning market share as ship operators convert to Panolin from mineral oils, but also as it wins conversions from other EAL products. ‘You get what you pay for,’ he declares.

Today, the company supplies a range of blue-chip operators including Maersk Line, V Ships, Gener8 and Zim, and also provides specialist luboils for dredging majors and ferry operators including Boskalis, DEME, Jan de Nul, Van Oord, Saipem, BC Ferries and the Texas Department of Transportation.

‘Accountants may prefer to buy cheaper lubes but these have to be replaced more often,’ he explains. ‘Most superintendents like a ‘fit and forget’ strategy, using highperforming lubes which do not need replacement. These products provide excellent fluid film properties and good thermal and shear stability in heavy seas.’

‘They maintain their intended viscosity, not increasing due to polymerisation or decreasing because of viscosity improver degradation. Top tier lubricants may cost more at the outset, but they provide better corrosion protection and ensure lower maintenance costs over time. That’s why superintendents prefer them.’

Cumberlidge points out that most EAL manufacturers provide a range of products, some for low performance applications requiring bio oils which are usually relatively cheap. But choosing a top tier lubricant is not simply about the product itself – is it based, like Panolin’s GreenMarine range, on high quality fully saturated synthetic esters – but also a company’s technical and commercial response time and worldwide product availability.

Source: Seatrade - SMM Green Shipping Guide, September 2017
Phil Cumberlidge is business development manager of the PANOLIN GREENMARINE product line