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Azimuth Thrusters Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Less than 1500KW, 1500KW-3500KW, and More than 3500KW), By Drive System (Electric Drive System, Diesel Drive System, and Hydraulic Drive System), By Vessel Type (Naval Ships, Offshore Drilling, Recreational Boats, Offshore Wind Farms (CTVs, SOVs), and Others) By End User (OEM and Aftermarket), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103517



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The global azimuth thrusters market size was valued at USD 651.6 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 559.7 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 0.15% during the forecast period.

The azimuth thruster is marine propellers placed in pods that can be rotated in any direction. These propellers eliminate the usage of the rudder as it can be rotated to any horizontal plane. This system is considered to have an angular measurement during the spherical coordinate system and sometimes placed vertical or horizontal angle azimuth in different vessel types.

The thruster rotates in 360 degrees in the vertical axis by providing more flexibility and optimal thrust when compared to fixed pitch thrusters. The two types of arrangements are Z-drive and L-drive. These provide the steering, propulsion, and proper thrust positioning for higher maneuverability. Thus, they are widely used in various applications, which include ship docking, ship escort, and dynamic positioning services. They also have the advantage of holding a combined engine system that is one of the factors responsible for facilitating the market.

Rapid advancement in the propulsion mechanism system is influencing changes in the ship propulsion system. Thus, thrusters are widely used in marine propulsion and also in the dynamic positioning of vessels by focusing on environmental obstacles such as wind and waves.

Marine Industry is Facing Unprecedented Challenges due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the COVID-19 virus outbreak in December 2019, the disease has spread to almost 150+ countries around the globe with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring it a pandemic. The global impacts of the COVID-19 have disrupted several businesses and will significantly impact the market in the year 2020 and 2021.

The marine industry has been impacted by COVID-19. The reduction in demand has changed the dynamic of the global azimuth thruster industry. Due to lockdown, there was a huge impact on the marine industry, which resulted in a slowdown in production of this thruster. On the other hand, investments in the shipbuilding sector were declining due to coronavirus. The shipbuilding service provides different applications such as offshore service, maritime trade, maritime export, and others to naval ships.

Many small scale companies engaged in the maritime and shipping industry have gone bankrupt due to less demand for cargos and shipping. This has majorly impacted the market. In the naval vessels, azimuth thruster is an essential system of the propulsion unit. It has caused a direct impact on the market owing to the decreasing demand for naval vessels due to the pandemic.


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Development of Telescopic Thruster Technology in Marine Thrusters System to Drive Growth

Technological advancements and innovations in the propulsion systems used in the marine industry are the current trends in the global market. The telescopic or retractable thruster is one of the several advanced technologies in this thruster. The conventional tunnel thrusters fixed at the bottom of the hulls of a ship have a drawback of creating turbulence due to openings, which further reduces the hydrodynamic performance. A retractable thruster can operate as an azimuth thruster when extended downward from the hull, thereby operating as a standard tunnel thruster when retracted. Thus, a retractable thruster provides a multi-functional solution that offers increased performance.


Usage of Azimuth Thruster by Ship Owners to Improve Speed

Vessel thrusters are used in marine vessels to provide necessary thrust in the desired direction, which gives ships better maneuverability than the fixed propellers and rudder systems. The ship's propulsion system is changing rapidly, and so is the propulsion mechanism system. These thrusters are primarily used in the dynamic positioning of marine ships to maintain their positions through counteracting environmental obstacles, mainly wind and waves. It is improving the speed of naval ships. They are majorly used in the tugs, offshore supply vessels, cargo vessels, workboats, naval vessels, and icebreakers. Ship owners are highly adopting them due to their superior maneuverability. This simple and robust construction provides high operational reliability along with easy maintenance.

Rising International Seaborne Trade Activities Will Aid Market Growth

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) maritime transport report (2019), the global maritime trade is growing at a rate of 4 percent. It is the highest growth reported in the last few years. The ICTAD report indicates a 17.1% growth in the containerized trade, 2.4% growth in cargo shipments, and 29.9% growth in dry bulk commodities. The merchant ships are majorly used for seaborne trade.

China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, have emerged as the leading countries in the shipbuilding industry. These three countries accounted for 90.5% of the global deliveries of naval vessels in the year 2017. Thrusters are an essential system of naval vessels. Therefore, the increasing demand for cargo ships and naval vessels for seaborne trades is propelling the market growth.


Maintenance of Marine Thrusters Will Lead to Increased Costs

High maintenance cost is associated with replacing conventional thrusters. These advanced thrusters have Z-drive configurations with direct diesel engine drives and L-drive configurations with electric drives from the overhead. The azimuth thruster requires periodic maintenance in naval and marine vessels, which is hindering the market growth. Moreover, OEMs in the azimuth thruster’s industry are lacking in after-sales support and services at different ports and ship repair workshops, which further hinders the market growth.


By Type Analysis

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1500KW-3500KW Segment Dominated in 2019 Backed by Rising Demand from Cargo & Survey Vessels

Based on type, the market includes less than 1500KW, 1500kw-3500KW, and more than 3500KW. The 1500KW-3500KW segment is estimated to be the largest segment due to the rising adoption of marine thrusters in cargo vessels and survey vessels. In recent years, due to the growing maritime trade, the demand for cargo vessels is increasing, which, in turn, is leading to the rising adoption of azimuth thrusters. The less than 1500KW segment is expected to showcase the highest growth rate owing to an increase in the number of small ships such as ferries, cruise, lifeboat, fishing vessels, and tugs, among others during the forecast period.

By Drive System Analysis

Hydraulic Drive System Segment to Grow Rapidly Owing to Increasing Usage in Naval Vessels

Based on the drive system, the market is classified into an electric drive system, diesel drive system, and hydraulic drive system. The electric drive system segment is estimated to be the largest segment due to the high demand for lightweight vessels. The major advantage of this system is that it removes the need for a gearbox. The hydraulic drive system segment is anticipated to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period. This growth is attributable to their increasing usage in naval vessels to provide constant force, irrespective of changes in speed and to control the speed accurately.

By Vessel Type Analysis

Naval Ships Segment to Be the Largest Stoked by High Demand for Submarines & Tugboats

Based on vessel type, the market is classified into naval ships, offshore drilling, recreational boats, offshore wind farms (CTVs, SOVs), and others. The naval ship segment covers, FAC, petrol crafts, MCMV and unmanned vessels. The segment is estimated to be the largest segment due to the rising demand for patrol vessels, unmanned submarines, and FACs, among others. The offshore wind farms segment is anticipated to grow at the highest rate owing to the increased demand for crew transfer vessels (CTVs) and service operation vessels (SOVs). The recreational boats segment covers passenger cruise, ferry and yacht, dredger, fishery and tug boats. Rise in the demand for tugs and fishery boats is driving the demand for recreational boats segment.

By End User Analysis

Rising Maritime Vessels Modification Programs to Propel Aftermarket Segment

Based on end-user analysis, the market is classified into original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and aftermarket. The OEM segment is estimated to be the largest segment due to the increased procurement of new vessels and the presence of several manufacturers in high growth regions such as Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. The aftermarket segment is comparatively smaller than the OEM segment owing to the longer life cycle of this thruster, which is 8-10 years. However, the rising maritime vessel modification programs to enhance the safety and application capabilities are expected to drive the growth of the aftermarket segment.


North America Azimuth Thrusters Market Size, 2016-2027 (USD Million)

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The market size in North America stood at USD 103.4 million in 2019. The dominance of this region is attributable to the rising focus on fuel consumption and the increasing number of ferries, fishing vessels, and cruise ships in North America.

Europe is expected to register the fastest growth in the market during the forecast period. The growth is ascribable to the presence of key players such as ABB Marine, Brunvoll, and KONGSBERG. The rising demand for small size and medium-size vessels for passenger transport, fishing, and other maritime applications is expected to drive the market in Europe.

Asia Pacific is expected to exhibit the largest azimuth thrusters market share during the forecast period. This growth is primarily owing to the rapid expansion of the shipbuilding industry in China, Japan, South Korea, and India. In addition to this, China shipbuilding would continue to show the largest market share during the forecast period. South America and the Middle East & Africa would register significant growth during the forecast period. Rising offshore wind farms activities from these regions is contributing towards the growth of the market.


Key Market Focus on Research & Development Activities to Gain Competitive Edge

The designing of technologically advanced azimuth thrusters and more efficient propulsion systems for naval vessels are the upcoming trends in the market. A diversified product portfolio of marine thrusters, along with innovative research processes conducted by key players, is the major factor that is set to boost the market growth.


  • ABB Marine (Switzerland)

  • Brunvoll (Norway)

  • Caterpillar Inc. (The U.S.)

  • Hydromaster (Netherland)

  • IHI Corporation (Japan)

  • Jastram (Germany)

  • Kawasaki (Japan)

  • KONGSBERG (Norway)

  • NGC (The U.S.)

  • SCHOTTEL GROUP (Germany)

  • Steerprop (Finland)

  • Thrustmaster (The U.S.)

  • Veth Propulsion (Netherland)

  • Voith Turbo (Germany)

  • Wartsila Corporation (Finland)

  • Wuxi Ruifeng Marine (China)

  • ZF Friedrichshafen AG (Germany)


  • May 2020 - Richardson Devine Marine and SCHOTTEL Group signed a contract to provide SCHOTTEL designed azimuth thrusters for the Nairana ferry. They are designed by SCHOTTEL Group to enhance passenger comfort and reduce noise emissions in the Nairana ferry.

  • March 2020 – German OEM, SCHOTTEL Group, and China Merchants Heavy Industry signed a contract to provide azimuth thrusters for Changjiang Cruise Overseas Travel company. The vessel will be powered by advanced electric motors along with an input power of 1,000 KW.


An Infographic Representation of Azimuth Thrusters Market

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The market research report is providing an in-depth technical analysis of the market. It is majorly focusing on key aspects such as leading market players, COVID-19 effect along with government bellout packages on the market, product systems, and leading technological trends, research ideology of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the marine market trends and highlights key industry developments & trends. In addition to the factors described above, the report provides several factors that will contribute to the growth of the market during the forecast period.




Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Million)


By Type

  • Less than 1500KW

  • 1500KW-3500KW

  • More than 3500KW

By Drive System

  • Electric Drive System

  • Diesel Drive System

  • Hydraulic Drive System

By Vessel type

  • Naval Ships

  • Offshore Drilling

  • Recreational Boats

  • Offshore Wind Farms (CTVs, SOVs)

  • Others

By End-user

  • OEM

  • Aftermarket

By Geography

  • North America (The U.S., Canada, and Mexico)

  • Europe (The U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia and Rest of Asia- Pacific)

  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia)

  • Middle East & Africa (The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and South Africa)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global azimuth thrusters market size was USD 651.6 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 559.7 million by 2027.

In 2019, the North America market value stood at USD 103.4 million.

The market will steadily grow at a CAGR of 0.15% in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The 1500KW-3500 KW segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The usage of azimuth thrusters by shipowners to improve ship speed is the key factor driving the market.

SCHOTTEL Group, ABB marine, Brunvoll, and KONGSBERG are the major players in the global market.

The Asia Pacific dominated the market in terms of share in 2019.

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Azimuth Thrusters Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
  • Aug, 2020
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