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Azimuth Thrusters Market Size, Share & Industry 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, 2022-2029

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



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The global azimuth thrusters market size was USD 498.5 million in 2021. The market is expected to grow from USD 526.4 million in 2022 to USD 583.8 million by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 1.49% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 impact has been unprecedented and staggering, with azimuth thrusters experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of -14.99% in 2020 as compared to 2019.


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Azimuth thruster is a marine propeller that is located in pods. These thrusters eliminate the use of the rudder as it can rotate in different directions in the horizontal plane. It provides an angular measurement during the spherical coordinate system. This propeller can rotate in 360 degrees in the vertical axis and provides optimal thrust and more flexibility compared to fixed pitch thrusters. The thrusters are majorly in two types of arrangements that are Z-drive and L-drive. These are widely used in numerous applications such as ship escort, dynamic positioning services, and ship docking.


Impact of Russia-Ukraine War Crisis on Marine Industry

  • European countries have amplified their defense spending due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The German government allocated USD 109 billion, which is more than the total defense bill for 2021.

  • Furthermore, Poland and Denmark also declared an increase in the defense budget for security purposes. To enhance its naval capacities in the Baltic Sea, in March 2022, the Polish National Defense Minister declared that Warsaw will acquire three new Mine Countermeasure Vessels (MCVs)

  • In January 2022, Russia installed 140 combat and supply ships, 1,000 pieces of military equipment, and more than 50 aircraft for exercises. Furthermore, NATO deployed over 120 allied ships and 100 jets to the Mediterranean region.

  • Thus, with rising expenditure on procurement of new warships and rising expenditure on modernization of naval vessels, the market is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period.


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Introduction of Telescopic Thruster Technology in Azimuth Thrusters System is the Latest Trend

Introduction of advanced technologies and innovations in the marine propulsion systems are the latest trends in the market. Telescopic or retractable thruster is one of the advanced technologies in an azimuth thruster. In March 2021, Brunvoll entered into a contract with Navantia, a state-owned shipbuilding company in Spain to deliver shock-qualified retractable thrusters to five F-110 frigates for the Spanish Navy.

The conventional thrusters fixed at the bottom of the ship have a major drawback of turbulence created due to openings that further reduce the hydrodynamic performance. A retractable thruster operates as an azimuth thruster when extended downward from the hull, thus operating as a standard tunnel thruster when retracted. Hence, it provides a multi-functional solution that offers increased performance.


Increasing Use of Azimuth Thrusters by Ship Owners to Improve Speed will Drive Market Growth

Azimuth thrusters are used in naval vessels to provide necessary thrust in the desired direction that gives ships better maneuverability than rudder systems and fixed propellers. The thrusters are mainly used in the dynamic positioning of marine ships. These thrusters maintain their positions through counteracting environmental obstacles such as wind and waves. It enhances the speed of marine ships. They are majorly used in offshore supply vessels, tugs, workboats, cargo vessels, icebreakers, and naval vessels. Ship owners are highly adopting these advanced thrusters as they provide superior maneuverability. It provides high operational reliability along with easy maintenance, thus driving the market growth.

Growing International Seaborne Trade Activities Propel the Azimuth Thrusters Market Growth

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) maritime transport report 2021, the international maritime trade is estimated to increase by 4.3%. In 2020, the global commercial shipping fleet increased by 3% and reached 99,800 ships of 100 gross tons and above. By January 2021, the capacity was nearly equivalent to 2.13 billion dead weight tons (dwt).

Japan, China, and South Korea have emerged as the top countries in the shipbuilding industry. The propeller is an essential system of marine vessels. Thus, the growing demand for naval vessels and cargo ships for seaborne trades is driving the market growth.


High Cost Associated with Maintenance of Azimuth Thrusters Hinders Market Growth

High maintenance cost associated with replacing the conventional thrusters hampers the growth of the market. Advanced thrusters have Z-drive configurations with direct diesel engine drives and L-drive configurations with electric drives from the overhead. There is a high cost involved in modernization and upgrading of advanced thrusters. Therefore, the necessity of upgraded azimuth thrusters in naval vessels hampers the market growth.


By Type Analysis

1500KW-3500KW Segment Dominated Market in 2021 Due to Growing Demand from Cargo & Survey Vessels

Based on type, the market is segmented into less than 1500KW, 1500 KW - 3500KW, and more than 3500KW.

The 1500KW-3500KW segment held the highest share in the market in 2021. The dominance is due to the increasing adoption of thrusters in cargo vessels and survey vessels. Growing maritime trade and increasing investments for procurement of cargo vessels lead to rising demand for thrusters, thus driving the market growth.

The less than 1500KW segment will observe significant growth during 2022-2029. The growth is attributed to the increase in the number of small ships, such as cruise, ferries, lifeboats, tugs, and fishing vessels, during the forecast period.

By Drive System Analysis

Hydraulic Drive System Segment Will Showcase Highest Growth Owing to Rising Use in Naval Vessels

Based on the drive systems, the market is classified into diesel drive system, electric drive systems, and hydraulic drive systems.

The electric drive system segment is expected to be the largest segment during the forecast period. The growth is due to the high demand for lightweight vessels. The major advantage of the electric system is that it removes the need for a gearbox. In November 2021, Torqeedo and Italdraghe entered into an agreement for the joint development of an outboard, retractable electric propulsion system for commercial vessels in urban and inland waterways.

The hydraulic drive system segment will showcase the highest rate during the forecast period. This growth is due to increasing use of these systems in naval vessels to provide constant force, irrespective of changes in speed and control the speed accurately.

By Vessel Type Analysis

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Naval Ships Segment Dominated Market in 2021 Due to Increased Demand for Tugboats and Submarines

Based on vessel type, the market is divided into offshore drilling, naval ships, offshore wind farms (CTVs, SOVs), recreational boats, and others.

The naval ships segment held the largest market share in 2021 and is expected to continue its domination during 2022-2029. The growth is due to the growing demand for submarines, surveillance vessels, and tugboats, among others.

The offshore wind farms segment will witness the highest growth during the forecast period owing to the increased demand for Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) and Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs). In April 2021, Vard, a subsidiary of Fincantieri, signed a contract with North Star Renewables, a Scottish company to deliver three service operation vessels (SOV).

By End-user Analysis

Increase in Maritime Vessels Modification and Upgradation Programs Drive Aftermarket Segment

Based on end-user, the market is bifurcated into Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and aftermarket.

The OEM segment is anticipated to be the largest segment due to rising investments in the naval sector, procurement of new vessels, and rapid growth in the seaborne cargo trade. The rising number of procurement contracts between ship owners and OEMs boosts the segment growth.

The aftermarket segment will grow with the highest compound annual growth rate due to rising maritime vessel upgrading programs to improve safety and enhance operational capabilities.


Asia Pacific Azimuth Thrusters Market Size, 2021 (USD Million)

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The global azimuth thrusters market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Asia Pacific dominated the market in 2021 and was valued at USD 262.5 million. The dominance is due to the rapid expansion of the shipbuilding industry and rising procurement of naval vessels from emerging economies such as China and India. Furthermore, South Korea’s government set a target for ship manufacturers to take up to 75% of the market share for eco-friendly vessels with less or no carbon emissions by 2030.

Europe would grow with the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The growth is due to the presence of key OEMs such as Brunvoll, ABB Marine, and KONGSBERG. An increase in demand for small size and medium-sized vessels for fishing, passenger transport, and other maritime applications is anticipated to drive the market in Europe.

North America will showcase significant growth during 2022-2029. The growth is due to higher expenditure on naval vessels from the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy proposed budget requests of USD 27.9 billion in shipbuilding funding for FY2023 for the purchase of eight new ships. It includes the procurement of two Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers, two Virginia (SSN-774) class attack submarines, one LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ship, one Constellation (FFG-62) class frigate, one Navajo (TATS-6) class towing, salvage, and rescue ship, and one John Lewis (TAO-205) class oiler.

South America and the Middle East & Africa would register significant growth during the forecast period. This growth is due to increasing offshore wind farm activities across these regions. Furthermore, rising expenditure on the naval sector from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Brazil, Argentina, and others drives the market growth.


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

The introduction of technologically advanced thrusters and the development of low carbon emission propulsion systems for naval vessels are the upcoming trends in the market. A diversified product portfolio of thrusters and rising spending on research & development from the OEMs boost the market growth. In December 2021, Japan launched the first electric zero-emission tanker. Kawasaki Heavy Industries developed a battery system for the tanker that powers two 68KW side thrusters and two 300KW azimuth thrusters.


  • ABB (Switzerland)

  • Brunvoll AS (Norway)

  • Caterpillar (U.S.)

  • Hydromaster (Netherlands)

  • IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd. (Japan)

  • Jastram (Germany)

  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Japan)

  • KONGSBERG (Norway)

  • SCHOTTEL GROUP (Germany)

  • Steerprop (Finland)

  • Thrustmaster (U.S.)

  • Veth Propulsion (Netherlands)

  • Voith Turbo (Germany)

  • Wartsila Corporation (Finland)

  • Wuxi Ruifeng Marine (China)

  • ZF Friedrichshafen AG (Germany)


  • January 2022- Kongsberg signed a contract with Sanmar Shipyards to deliver US255SFP and US205SFP thrusters for installation on new Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tugboats the Turkish shipyard is building for Svitzer.

  • April 2022 – Kongsberg signed two contracts for the supply of naval vessels. The one with Integrated Wind Solutions (IWS) to supply two Commissioning Service Operation Vessels (CSOVs) with integrated equipment solution. The second contract was with Sembcorp Marine to supply the Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV) with a comprehensive technology package.


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 and is majorly focusing on key aspects such as leading market players, the COVID-19 effect along with government bell-out packages on the market, azimuth thrusters market share, product systems, leading technological trends, and 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. 

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated 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 (By Type; Drive System; Vessel Type; End-user, Country)

    • U.S. (By Vessel Type)

    • Canada (By Vessel Type)

    • Mexico (By Vessel Type)

  • Europe (By Type; Drive System; Vessel Type; End-user, Country)

    • U.K. (By Vessel Type)

    • Germany (By Vessel Type)

    • France (By Vessel Type)

    • Russia (By Vessel Type)

    • Italy (By Vessel Type)

    • Rest of Europe (By Vessel Type)

  • Asia Pacific (By Type; Drive System; Vessel Type; End-user, Country)

    • China (By Vessel Type)

    • India (By Vessel Type)

    • Japan (By Vessel Type)

    • South Korea (By Vessel Type)

    • Southeast Asia (By Vessel Type)

    • Australia (By Vessel Type)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Vessel Type)

  • South America (By Type; Drive System; Vessel Type; End-user, Country)

    • Brazil (By Vessel Type)

    • Argentina (By Vessel Type)

    • Colombia (By Vessel Type)

  • Middle East & Africa (By Type; Drive System; Vessel Type; End-user, Country)

    • UAE (By Vessels Type)

    • Saudi Arabia (By Vessels Type)

    • Egypt (By Vessels Type)

    • South Africa (By Vessels Type)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 498.5 million in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 583.8 million by 2029.

In 2021, the Asia Pacific market stood at USD 262.5 million.

Growing at a CAGR of 1.49%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2022-2029).

The usage of advanced thrusters by ship-owners 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.

Asia Pacific dominated the market share in 2021.

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