By Simon Wilson, Managing Director of Docking and Mooring, Trelleborg Marine Systems
Back In February, Richard blogged about the safety results from our 2011 Barometer Report, which showed that 81% of those surveyed believe that having a safer port environment directly contributes to reducing costs.
Safety should, of course, be a priority in all ports and harbours, but with ongoing budget restrictions in place due to the current economic climate, ports need to look for ways to improve safety and operational efficiencies while keeping costs down.
Fortunately, challenge tends to breed innovation and using established systems in new ways can counteract declining budgets. The effectiveness and efficiency of existing technologies can be optimised to reduce not only costs, but safety risks to vessel and jetty crew too.
Upgrading existing technologies with more intuitive products can improve ‘on berth’ efficiency in terms of cost, manning and, subsequently safety. For example, upgrading Quick Release Hooks to include a remote release function, removes personnel from around the mooring line at the time of release.
The larger vessel sizes coming into the market are also pushing ports to revisit their approaches to berthing and to optimise mooring operations. Improvements to established docking and mooring equipment can produce cost efficient ways to accommodate these new vessel sizes, which are often in excess of the berth’s design, without having to make radical changes to the port’s overall infrastructure.
In addition to the importance of crew safety, it’s also about asset protection for ports. For example, using fixed or portable laser docking systems to monitor the speed of approach can allow the vessel crew to amend their speed accordingly. Thereby, counteracting the increased momentum produced by the size of the vessel and protecting the jetty from forces that are potentially too high to safely accommodate.
As suggested by the data in the Barometer Report, a safer port environment means fewer incidents, less downtime and ultimately, less avoidable expenditure. By utilising all the technologies and options available, it’s possible to maximise operational efficiencies without compromising safety. It’s important to consider creating bespoke and unique systems that complement existing capabilities in order to minimise spend, rather than replace whole systems.