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Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

BUY CHEAP, BUY TWICE: LOW COST SUPPLIER ISSUES EXTENDS FURTHER THAN PORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Guest contributor, Andy Hatton, owner of Global Anodes UK Ltd shares his story.


I have seen a fair bit of discussion raised by Trelleborg in the last few weeks about the issue of low cost suppliers and it’s a topic that really strikes a chord with me.  There are a lot of parallels I can draw between the issues that Trelleborg’s Barometer Report brought up and my experiences.

Years ago, when working for another company, we were frequently undercut on equipment by “low cost” replicas. However, when the equipment failed, ship owners or managers would still call us to put it right.

We would always go above and beyond to help a client, dispatching engineers for the cost of a flight and a hotel in the (naive) belief they would come to us for systems next time they were building new vessels.

In reality, they got so used to us running around doing our best to keep their substandard equipment running, that the next six ships in the series would be fitted out with the same cheap rubbish as before.

After about three years we had no choice but to start saying no, that we weren’t prepared to do this for nothing and if they wanted our engineers they’d have to start paying for the service.

Another drawback to our willingness to help was that in many cases the equipment we were called in to look at was of such poor design and quality it was not economically viable to attempt repair, if indeed it was repairable at all. It became a serious concern for some of our engineers, they started to feel we either looked incompetent or as if we were lying just to make a sale when all we could do was say; “Sorry… you need to rip out all the old system and replace it”.

Before this, we’d always maintained an excellent world wide service base out of profits from the spares and systems we sold. If a client called with a problem we could usually have an engineer on a plane and on his way to meet the ship within 12 hours (in one case in 45 minutes when I had to be in Turkey for a hand over that had to be concluded that day).

We’d started to lose the equipment business, and slashed our margins so much just to compete, that our service facility gradually disappeared; the profits were simply not there to maintain it.

Worst of all, we start getting calls saying things like: “We had your engineer on the other day and he didn’t know what he was doing.”  This often came as news to me, as I was in charge arranging all engineer attendances worldwide.

Further investigation revealed that the Chief Engineer or similar would ask purchasing to get him the “anodes guy”, and purchasing would either just book any Joe Bloggs who happened to live locally or go for the cheapest quote – usually resulting in unqualified people we had never even heard of going on board vessels with the Supers and Chiefs believing they were our engineers. Until it was too late.

As a final note, the worst case scenario I experienced. An “engineer” attended a vessel in Pusan; he turned out to be some guy from a domestic appliance repair shop (apparently a contact of a company we had traded with previously.) I had a very angry Superintendent screaming down the phone at me until I explained that his company had not even spoken to us about their problem or requested an engineer… never mind sent a purchase order for a service attendance. Apparently this so called “fake” engineer even had business cards with our company logo on them.

Global Anodes UK Ltd is an independent company that is owned and operated by engineers with a range of experience in marine, offshore and industrial applications.

Global Anodes offers trouble-shooting solutions to corrosion and bio-fouling problems.

 

EHMC VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS LACK OF INFORMATION ON BASIC MOORING PROCESSES

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.