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Category Archives: Uncategorized

TRELLEBORG LAUNCHES ANNUAL BAROMETER REPORT

We are delighted to announce that we have launched our fifth annual Barometer Report, which calls on the views of 200 port owners, operators, consulting engineers and contractors.

This year’s report takes a look back over the last five years to see how attitudes to investment, maintenance and quality have changed over time.

In previous years, the Barometer Report has examined the issues helping and hindering port performance over a 12 month period. This year however, we decided to find out how attitudes to investment, maintenance and quality have changed over the last five years.

During this time, ports have had to batten down the hatches in the grips of the recession, and have largely made the most of the situation they were faced with. However, as this year’s report highlights, the mist is beginning to lift, with last year’s anticipated budget boost now materializing. So much so, the majority of port owners and operators have the opportunity to invest more strategically in smart technologies and supplier service in a bid to improve long-term product performance.

One cause for concern though, is that while levels of unscheduled downtime have decreased over time, unscheduled downtime caused by fender damage has increased significantly in the last 12 months. As such, port owners, operators, consultants and contractors need to ensure they are not replacing like-for-like out of habit – but investing in quality solutions that will perform well over a long design life.

As discussed within the latest Barometer Report, supplier expertise should guide procurement decisions, and technology should enable owners and operators to minimize maintenance requirements.

To download the Barometer Report 5, visit: http://ow.ly/TA6uR

APPLYING THE RIGHT CORRECTION FACTORS

Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems


Some of my colleagues will be attending the Port and Terminal Technology Conference in Virginia this week. The conference explores the latest developments, issues, trends and technology affecting ports and terminals around the globe, so it’s a great platform to meet with the wider industry and share ideas and best practice.

At the conference, my colleague Mishra Kumar will present a technical paper, “Applying the right correction factors” discussing the importance of applying the right Velocity Correction Factor (VCF) and Temperature Correction Factor (TCF) when specifying marine fenders.

Rubber type and compound formulation undoubtedly have a dramatic impact on the performance and lifecycle of fender systems. It’s essential that specifiers understand the difference that low quality compounds can have on performance – and the impact that rubber type and formulation have on VCF and TCF.

Last year, it’s safe to say we really put our money where our mouth is and delved in depth on the difference between high quality and low cost fenders. Having developed new analytical and chemical tests to determine fender composition, we found some dramatic differences between two fenders which were claimed to be designed to the same specification.

The paper Mishra will be presenting at the conference builds on that work and discusses the impact that these differing formulations have on VCF and TCF – which can’t be applied correctly unless the rubber compound and formulation are properly understood.

INTERPRETATION OF TEST RESULTS

Our rubber testing whitepaper “Fenders: why it’s not so black and white” highlights some interesting results from the comparison of the compositions of low cost and high quality fenders – results that clearly highlight dramatically different performance characteristics between the two.

The low cost fenders contained larger amounts of recycled rubber and filler, and were found to be heavier and denser than those that used virgin rubber.

Further chemical and physical analysis revealed some further important results, including:

  • Tensile strength and the value of elongation at break were found to be lower in the low cost fender than in the high quality fender, which was made with higher quantities of virgin rubber.

    Crucially, the low cost fender was not in compliance with the specification.

  • Rubber to filler ratio for the high quality fender was 1.23, for the low cost fender, just 0.88.
  • Overall, the low cost fender contained 28.45% less rubber than the high quality product, explaining the difference in the physical properties of the two and justifying the higher purchase price of the high quality fender.

It’s essential that decision makers are aware of the key performance differences and varying quality being sold as one and the same thing, when they procure fenders based on up front price alone.

These tests provide a reliable analytical method that can be made available to buyers so that they can assess the composition of recently procured fenders prior to delivery, simply by taking a small sample from the surface of the fender.

For more information, download the full rubber testing white paper here.

SETTING THE STANDARDS AND BENCHMARKING PERFORMANCE

As discussed in my last blog, there’s a trend across the industry of procuring mission critical fenders on the basis of upfront outlay – rather than the cost over the fender’s entire lifecycle.

Industry body, PIANC, set out the leading design guidelines for fender systems in 2002, but I remain concerned that these aren’t working in practice.  PIANC have neither the authority nor mandate to enforce these regulations, and this is allowing some of the more unscrupulous suppliers to use higher percentages of recycled rubber, to supply fenders at a cheaper upfront cost – without transparency around the composition of the fender.

PIANC’s guidelines state that robust material testing is a necessity, but laboratory and full scale testing is not routinely performed by all suppliers as part of their quality assurance process.  This is a serious concern, as specifiers need assurance that both sets of testing have been conducted on mission critical equipment.

We’ve developed new analytical tests to help stakeholders across the industry determine the quality and performance characteristics of the fenders they procure, so that buyers can understand and substantiate the makeup of their fenders and subsequently, the performance characteristics they can expect.

We conducted a series of physical and chemical tests on one high quality and a low cost fender – to really understand how much performance between the two differs.  To learn more about the tests and see the results, download the rubber testing whitepaper here.

BECOMING LNG LEADERS

The use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is now a widespread, commercial reality, as the demand for energy continues to rise. It’s predicted that by 2030, global energy demand will be about 35% higher than it was in 2005.

Natural gas is largely accepted to be the fastest-growing major fuel source, thanks to attributes such as it being cleaner, reliable and plentiful.  Now that it can be transported in the form of LNG, it’s become a truly viable, global resource.

In fact, the question has now become: “how can we get more LNG? Faster and cheaper?” this is clear from the proliferation of acronyms that weren’t even coined as recently as five years ago, such as, FSRUs, FLNG and LNGCs.  All of which have one thing in common, apart from the obvious LNG production and transportation element!

That is the safety factor.  LNG is simply natural gas compressed to 1/600th of the volume, but hazards of the gas in its liquid form include flammability and freezing.  It’s essential that solutions are delivered on the merits of each project, to ensure that the safety of personnel and infrastructure remains paramount.

To achieve efficient operation and maximise safety, docking and mooring solutions on the terminals or carriers that LNG is transferred between should be seamlessly integrated and developed mutually inclusively.

I think a step towards this is to bring as much of the project as possible into one holistic and aligned “package”, with one third party having oversight of a suite of products to be supplied, it’s easier to identify synergies and align the various components.

We’ve recently acquired Sea Systems Technology Ltd. (SeaTechnik) – the global market-leader in the design and manufacture of systems for safeguarding the transfer of LNG between LNG carriers and shore terminals.

In addition to developing, manufacturing and supporting systems for the safe handling of LNG, SeaTechnik has a growing share of products and solutions that monitor and can actively manage in the operating performance of ships, the aim of which is to significantly reduce both emissions and fuel costs.

Given the on-going rise in demand for LNG, we see the sector as an attractive growth area and we’re keen to be able to offer our customers a “one-stop-shop” when it comes to docking, mooring and berthing equipment for LNG projects.  This acquisition will allow us to build on our existing expertise and capabilities. SeaTechnik’s portfolio already has similar design requirements to ours and we already work together closely, so the acquisition provides natural synergies and is a logical step to take.

SeaTechnik employees 45 people globally.  Design, manufacture and assembly is based in a UK facility, outside of Chester in the North West, with local sales support, installation and commissioning work and specialist manufacturing carried out in Korea and Singapore.

I look forward to working closely with our new colleagues and would like to take the opportunity to personally welcome them to the team.

To learn more about SeaTechnik, visit the website here http://www.seatechnik.com/

INCREASING PORT SAFETY HIGH ON THE AGENDA WITH NEW BOLLARD GUIDE

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


We’ve long stressed the importance of best practice, tailor-made solutions in providing specialist berthing and mooring systems.

It’s important that bespoke, integrated solutions are put in place to enable whole life cost savings and more importantly, ensure safe operations in demanding marine environments.

But, how do you specify a system that optimizes price and value for your particular solution?

Our new bollard guide, written for port operators, and contractors aims to help with just that. The new guide features all the latest comprehensive bollard data, factors to consider in the design process and specification and installation information.

The guide also underlines why different types of bollard are required for different applications and the significance of the differing performance characteristics.

Bollards are safety critical items and as such, product quality is paramount.  The importance of demanding the highest standards of certification is highlighted, with tips on what to look for in a quality documentation package.

To download your free copy of the Bollard Guide, visit http://www.trelleborg.com/en/Marine-Systems/.

MAJORITY BELIEVE THAT A SAFER PORT ENVIRONMENT DIRECTLY REDUCES COST

By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems.

The results of our latest Barometer Report show that the majority of the port owners, operators and consultants surveyed believe that having a safer port environment directly contributes to reducing costs.

Results also indicate, however, that very few port owners, operators and consultants actually expect future port investments to be made specifically in the area of safety, suggesting that integrated or full service fendering, docking and mooring equipment solutions are what the market is asking for.

With new developments taking place in this space, we are likely to see safety levels increasing and ports benefiting from increased operational efficiencies too.  The market is expecting more from port-side systems, so the need for truly bespoke, integrated solutions is coming to the fore.

Although integrated solutions should, of course, be tailored to the needs of the port first and foremost, considering the values that the wider market considered important is essential to meet the needs of both the port and its customers.

A safer port environment means fewer incidents, less downtime and ultimately, less avoidable expenditure: it really is in the best interests of all parties to approach specification in a holistic manner to ensure solutions are aligned, coherent and effectively integrated.

You can download our survey report here.

PNEUMATIC FENDER HIRE

By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems.

It’s quite an exciting time for us here at Trelleborg, as we’re expanding our business into a new area that we haven’t considered before – certainly an area that we’re not known for.  We’ve always been a leader in our field, and not one to shy away from a challenge – not only in developing innovative products, but services too.

That’s why we’re building on our strong heritage of design and manufacturing expertise by offering a brand new service.  As of now, we offer our range of pneumatic fenders to the rental market.

We know that ports and harbours operate under enough pressure already, so we’re aiming to ease budgetary pressure by giving customers the opportunity to allocate Opex spend rather than Capex to what can be significant investments; we hope that we’ll help to relieve the burden placed on port operators and owners.

Pneumatic fenders are ideal for semi-permanent operations; they’re fast and easy to deploy, and they require minimal maintenance. Developed and manufactured in our very own facility, they are supplied in a wide range of sizes and in standard or high-pressure versions. All our pneumatic fenders are ISO: 17357:2002 certified – and can be delivered to fit with tight lead times, just get in touch to see what we can do.

To find out more about our rental service, click here.

BESPOKE SOLUTIONS WIN US A NEW DEEP SEA CONTAINER PORT CONTRACT

By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems.

We’ve long considered the need for bespoke solutions and tailored systems to be a key success factor in an efficient and safe port environment. Indeed, we saw further evidence of this when we at Trelleborg won the contract to supply 86 super cone fender systems, 59 mooring bollards with a 200 tonne capacity, and 41 safety ladders for a deep sea container port that handles the largest container ships in the world.

Our solution was chosen after we worked with the port to carry out an in-depth analysis of vessel data and berthing speeds.

Our high-performance Super Cone fenders will be specifically designed for this port to accommodate berthing angles up to 10°, bow flare angles up to 15° and for the latest generation of container vessels with a displacement of 225,000 tons.

The first of the fenders for the container terminal is scheduled for delivery early this year, with the contract scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.

I’ll leave you with some words from one of our area sales managers, Andy Cope, who worked on this project: “We have future-proofed the terminal through the positioning of the fender system.  Therefore, as and when container ship sizes increase, a greater number of fenders will be engaged, absorbing greater levels of impact energy.”

“We have specified the highest quality materials in the design of the fenders, including specialist rubber compounds which have been formulated at our state-of-the-art Singapore facility.  Our in-house capabilities mean that we are able to develop bespoke, yet cost-effective solutions to meet individual project requirements.”

BREEDING A CULTURE OF LOOKING AT LONG TERM COSTS

By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems


Encouragingly, over half of the 260 port decision makers polled in our recent Barometer Report believe that maintenance budgets will increase over the coming year.  Additionally, 90% of owners, operators and contractors cited maintenance as a critical or important factor for consideration in the upgrade of port operations. This is especially good news considering that over a quarter of respondents attributed a decrease in the levels of port-side maintenance to budget pressures.

Cause for concern?

However, the importance placed on maintenance overall does not seem to be translating to the specification of berthing, docking and mooring equipment.  The report shows that when asked specifically about procurement of such products, only 4% of respondents believe maintenance to be the most important consideration – ranking it sixth on the list of priorities. In fact, its perceived importance in the purchase of docking and mooring products has declined by 5% compared to the 2010 Barometer Report.

This suggests that there’s work to be done across the market to breed a culture of looking at long term costs.  We are increasingly seeing a lack of focus on whole life costs and when you factor in the low prioritisation of maintenance, it’s sure to store up trouble ahead for ports.

Short term savings, long term implications

Despite good intentions, it seems that short-term cost savings are taking precedence when it comes to specifying berthing, docking and mooring equipment. There is clearly a gap to bridge between understanding the importance of maintenance, and the actions taken in practice.

Berthing, docking and mooring equipment is a vital component in the safety and efficiency of the port environment, so it’s essential that specifiers give these products the significance they deserve.

Speculate to accumulate

Moreover, by sourcing high quality, low maintenance products at the outset – rather than taking retrospective action only when something goes wrong – port owners, contractors and consultants can avoid unnecessary risks and costly downtime.  Certainly a focus on maintenance at the beginning of the project will naturally lead to whole life cost savings.

If you’re interested in gaining further insights into marine industry predictions for 2012 and beyond you can download the latest Barometer Report here www.takesthepressureoff.com/barometer2

We’d of course welcome any comments or feedback on the survey outcomes and your experiences of sourcing quality berthing, docking and mooring equipment.