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Category Archives: Opinions


Comments on the European Harbour Masters’ Committee’s video:  ‘The Missing Link – Improving the mooring process’

By Simon Wilson, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems – Docking and Mooring

EHMC's Missing Link Video

The EHMC video’s extremely useful and full of practical reminders for port and vessel staff alike

You might have seen our recent retweets linking to the new video from the European Harbour Masters’ Committee (EHMC) about the mooring process.  As the MD of the docking and mooring division of Trelleborg, obviously, the issues raised in the video were of great interest to me personally.

The video, quite rightly, highlights the importance of a professional mooring operation, and the surprising fact that there is very little information available on mooring lines, winches and bollards, not to mention a lack of international regulations.

The video’s extremely useful and full of practical reminders for port and vessel staff alike.  From information on determining the minimum breaking load of your line, to reinforcing the importance of the basics: for example, the critical nature of good communications between the vessel and the port.  And a perhaps obvious, but nevertheless valuable tip: never stand in the bight of a rope!

It’s refreshing to see that the EHMC recognises the innovative nature of the industry we work in.  At Trelleborg, we’re always working to improve our product offering (although, we happen to think it’s already pretty good!) and constantly seeking innovation is essential to keeping our industry competitive and evolving.  That’s one of the reasons for this blog – to share ideas and knowledge across the industry.

It’s also quite timely for us that the EHMC has released the video now, as we’re working on a Bollard Guide at the moment, to follow on from last year’s Fender Guide.

As the video says, a professional mooring operation means fewer incidents, saves time and money, and cuts down emissions.  The importance of mooring can’t be overstated, and this video is well worth a watch.


By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems

Richard Hepworth Video - Barometer Report 2

The results of our recent Barometer report indicate an encouraging increase in the capital and operational expenditure of ports over the next 12 months. It’s believed that this will mostly go into improving efficiency and increasing the capacity of port terminals – good news for port operators, contractors, consultants and suppliers alike (not least for ourselves).

Where this investment will be allocated and how best efficiencies can be achieved is the immediate issue but looking further down the line, the industry needs to become much more focused on whole life costs rather than short term savings. Because beyond the budget sheet a far more worrying outcome is emerging as a commoditised marketplace makes way for lower cost, lesser quality suppliers.

Indeed, 2012 may be looking brighter as spend is on the ‘up’ but let’s not put a downer on the forecast by forging partnerships with lower-cost suppliers and traders that are actively misusing PIANC accreditation. Port downtime and efficiencies go hand-in-hand with product quality and if the latter suffers so does the industry as a whole.

Hear my views on what sits at the heart of the biggest issues currently facing port decision makers and join our movement for better regulation and enforcement of product standards @MarineInsights on Twitter.


By Mishra Kumar, Global Technical & Market Support Manager, Trelleborg Marine Systems

Mishra Kumar Trelleborg

As with all industries, some manufacturers follow acceptable practices, others don’t, so it probably comes as little surprise that online canadian pharmacy – despite the existence of PIANC fender design guidelines – the robust testing of rubber and steel is not routinely performed by all suppliers. While the short term cost savings may seem attractive, the longer term prospects of working with lesser quality products and materials presents a more problematic picture. Controlled testing in a laboratory environment is crucial to delivering consistent quality, higher performance and reliable cost effective solutions.

Here I outline our approach to ongoing research and development and call on the industry to collaboratively take a stance against outdated fender design guidelines.


By Scott Smith, Regional Director (Asia Pacific), Trelleborg Marine Systems

Scott Smith

One of the biggest issues in the market is keeping on top of downtime and maintenance – eight out of 10 ports suffer from unscheduled disruptions with almost half of these being ‘down’ for up to 10 per cent of the time. This was brought to our attention through a recent survey we conducted alongside Lloyds’ List with almost 400 port decision makers.

It revealed that budgets continue to be under pressure and maintenance appears to be suffering because of it. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Things are looking up as new technologies are being harnessed to help overcome issues with port safety and maintenance.

You can download our survey report in full from but if you’re short on time my colleagues and I have put together a series of short videos so you can digest the key findings in more bite-size chunks. Visit the Marine Insights YouTube channel or follow this link to watch at your leisure.


BY Scott Smith, technical director, Trelleborg Marine Systems

understanding fender sourcing

The fender and mooring industry has been changing over the last few years, and this has affected the way ports and harbors authorities are served. Unless specifiers understand what has happened to the industry structure, they could be purchasing unsuitable fenders and systems which may invalidate their insurance.

Historically, the fender manufacturers designed and manufactured fenders almost exclusively themselves. They could acquire a precise understanding of a port’s requirements, environment and operating conditions, and then design fender and compound the rubber to meet the stresses it would be exposed to and the expected working life.

In particular, successful rubber compounding and manufacture of such large, composite rubber products requires expertise that is the outcome of years of experience. As well as design of the fender, ensuring that the accessories such as chains and fastening systems meet the load requirements and the marine conditions is another product of on-the-spot experience.

The structure of the fender supply industry has changed recently with an influx of new suppliers who essentially act as a sales desk. Although these are all focused on marketing the fenders, only a few have a design capacity; the result may be the sale of an off-the-shelf product which neither seller nor buyer knows whether it will meet the docking requirements.

These sales suppliers are reliant on third party OEMs, based in developing countries, for manufacture. These OEMS may have little experience of actual port operating requirements other than the bare minimum standards for rubber compounding.

There are also strong indications that, as the cost of raw rubber maintains its level, there is increasing use of inferior low cost bulk filler materials such as recycled and crumbed rubber, which can seriously reduce the fender performance and working life.

The manufacturer may not tell the seller about his methods and compounds testing, certification and approvals etc will not be conducted with the same rigor as if the process was entirely in-house. And is the seller able to offer effective warranties, or have the financial backing to honor them?

So the buyer should be aware that a seemingly budget price for a fender system could end up costing the port far more through fender failure, port and ship damage and loss of revenue as the port’s reputation suffers.