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FENDER MAINTENANCE LACKING, LEADING TO DISPROPORTIONATE FAILURE RATES

By Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation

Our fifth annual Barometer Report, which discusses the issues impacting ports and terminals around the globe, has revealed that over 60% of the port owners, operators, consultants and contractors surveyed have experienced unscheduled downtime due to fender damage. This is a huge increase compared to the last report in 2014, when only 20% cited it as a contributing factor.

At the same time, 25% of those surveyed expect fender systems to have a life expectancy of at least ten years. This is a reasonable expectation, but not when taking in to consideration that respondents are not placing enough importance on regular inspections and maintenance. This is because only 36% carry out maintenance annually, while over 60% of those surveyed said that they, or their clients only carried out inspections and maintenance every two to ten years, far below the recommended frequency of every 12 months.

It’s clear there’s still work to be done to ensure fender maintenance is given the importance it deserves. However, this is only half the story – before maintenance becomes an issue, fenders must be manufactured correctly, using the best design and the right materials and go through stringent testing to make absolutely sure these mission critical components protect port infrastructure over a long and demanding service life, minimizing maintenance requirements.

Fender systems can have very low failure rates and minimal inspection requirements. However, to do so they need to be specified correctly and manufactured using the right materials. For example, the modulus of the rubber compound – the relationship between stress and strain in a cured rubber sample – is one of the determining factor of a fender’s performance, and highly impacted by the dispersion of carbon black filler in the rubber. The level of dispersion, in turn, is dependent on the mixing process, the quality of which is determined by the machinery used in the production of the rubber compound.

After manufacture, fenders must be subjected to rigorous materials and full-scale testing. To ensure they consistently meet working demands and environmental conditions over their lifetime, they need to be maintained correctly. Given the lack of regular inspections and maintenance, it’s unsurprising that 50% of port owners are saying they have had to upgrade their fender systems within the last ten years.

To download the Barometer Report 5, visit: http://ow.ly/VmYR3

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

NEW WEBINARS GIVE INSIGHT INTO INDUSTRY ISSUES

By Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation

Surveying the market with our annual Barometer Report – we have gained some great insights in to the challenges facing our industry today – as well as a historic benchmark to compare findings to.

However, to delve deeper into the current state of the port environment, and the opportunities arising for facilities looking to take steps toward more strategic investment and supplier support, we’ve launched two new 15-minute webinars.

As part of a four-part series, I host the first webinar, discussing the current situation facing ports globally, how ports are performing and the obstacles that facilities worldwide must overcome to best prepare and protect themselves for the future.

This covers the impact of tactical, purchase cost-led procurement, the need for existing facilities to keep pace with increasing vessel sizes, the implications of increasingly stringent environmental regulations and the emergence of new technologies.

While the industry faces something of a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges, there are also opportunities arising for facilities to take advantage of anticipated increased spending power, by spending strategically and increasing lifecycle value. This provides the basis for the second webinar in the series, which features Paul Welling, Regional President of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation in the U.S.

Welling highlights the need for strategic investment in a new supply chain model, coupled with a renewed focus on whole life costs, in order to drive up quality throughout the supply chain.

To watch the new webinars, visit:

Episode one: The Current Port Environment

Episode two: The Opportunity that’s Arising

EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF MEGA SHIPS

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s International Transport Forum recently released ‘The Impact of Mega Ships’, a new report investigating the impact of larger container ships on infrastructure, equipment and port traffic.

The report, which looks at the pros and cons of the current ‘mega’ container ships, put forward that 24,000 TEU vessels, which could be in service as soon as 2020, will have a major impact on main trade lines, potentially raising transport costs and hindering the competitiveness of ports overall.

We submitted information to the report with regards to the impact that ever increasing vessel sizes are having on port infrastructure, and in particular fenders and docking and mooring equipment such as bollards and hooks.

It’s a timely report. Our latest Barometer Report survey, the fifth that we have conducted, has found that ports are still struggling to keep up with the demands of increasing vessel sizes, especially in terms of onwards logistics.

This is another problem highlighted by the OECD report: although increasing vessel sizes have delivered cost savings in the past, these are decreasing with size, and size-related ‘fixes’ to port and hinterland infrastructure could be substantial.

A more complex challenge

Whilst mega ships bring these increased demands with them, one of the biggest challenges we see is actually designing berths to accommodate the large vessels of the future, whilst ensuring that they are still able to accommodate smaller vessels in the short term.

For our part, this requires fender design that can accommodate a wide range of operating parameters.  Designing a fender system that will perform successfully with kinds of vessel means the rubber compound must be fine-tuned to absorb the required energy, no matter the size of the ship. The properties of the rubber element must be hard enough to withstand the high loads from larger vessels, yet soft enough to accept the loads from smaller vessels.

Bigger ships doesn’t necessarily equal bigger fenders

The new generation of large container vessels uses several fenders at once, which limits the need for increased fender sizes; the extra amount of energy that needs to be absorbed is simply absorbed via more fenders. However, designing for multiple fender contact is still not straightforward for new mega vessels. The considerable bow flare of these ships, designed to accommodate as many containers as possible, mean that even a small berthing angle can lead to contact between the ship and the quay wall equipment.

Taking the pressure off

The rubber component of the fender system can be developed in other ways too, and can even reduce the impact on other port equipment in accommodating mega ships. For example, by designing fender systems with a smaller profile – but more efficient performance characteristics – ports can avoid the often costly process of extending or replacing cranes.

As we see it, ever growing vessel sizes certainly bring with them a whole host of new considerations for ports, not least upgrading infrastructure to allow them to berth. With onwards logistics considerations bringing about their own problems, there needs to be more collaboration and communication across the whole supply chain.

Working with and across suppliers, through an iterative process, from design, is critical to ensuring the port itself benefits from the increased throughput of increased vessel sizes, rather than being hamstrung by it.

LATEST BAROMETER SURVEY CALLS FOR MARINE INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

We’ve recently launched our latest Barometer Report survey, to gather views and opinions from across the industry on a range of issues from investment, to maintenance, to performance and downtime.

So if you’re a port owner, operator, contractor or consultant, we want to hear about your experiences.  By taking ten minutes to complete the survey,  you’ll enter a free draw to win an iPad.

Last year’s report revealed an anticipated boost in investment for facilities around the world, as well as an opportunity for ports to get ahead by investing strategically in smart technologies and supplier service, with a focus on improving long term product performance.

The findings from last years’ report also pointed to the need for more supplier involvement across the whole supply chain. This year, we’re keen to see if suppliers are closing the gap between the maintenance requirements of port owners and operators, and the support that they are able to provide.

And with increasing and varied demands on facilities, such as the anticipated rise in LNG bunkering and ever-growing vessel sizes, we’re particularly keen to see if infrastructure is keeping pace and if facilities have the support they need to evolve accordingly.

To take part in the survey and enter the prize draw to win an iPad, visit: http://ow.ly/NscWd

EDUCATING THE SUPPLY CHAIN TO NAVIGATE THE OBSTACLES TO PORT PERFORMANCE

Following on from chapter two of our Port Performance Roundtable film, we are delighted to launch the third and final chapter – “An Educated Supply Chain”.

Chapter three, which is now live on the MarineInsights YouTube channel, takes fenders as a microcosm for wider port infrastructure, to explore whether port owners and operators are fully aware of the infrastructure implications of increasing vessel sizes. Simply put, there seems to be a huge lack of product awareness that needs to be addressed. But who is responsible for this education? Are suppliers culpable?

As we discuss in chapter three, it’s time for suppliers to accept responsibility for their products and make themselves available strategically and operationally, to provide the market with the education it requires.

With that said, suppliers need to extend their role beyond simply installation. They should provide comprehensive support over the entire product lifecycle helping port owners and operators to optimize their products and boost port performance.

Leading suppliers should also be in frequent dialogue with consultants to ensure specifications guarantee the highest standard of solutions available. They should also work closely with contractors during supply and installation, to ensure that the high standards set out by the specifications are met.

Ultimately, it is vital that suppliers meet the needs of their clients by offering support in the areas that customers need it most, be that maintenance, training or other operational requirements across the entire product lifecycle.

To view chapter three of the Port Performance Roundtable film, visit: http://ow.ly/FJdY7

To download the Barometer Report, visit: http://ow.ly/Ed95A

TRELLEBORG TAKES TO PREVENTION FIRST 2014 TO DISCUSS END-TO-END SERVICE OFFERING

October’s “Prevention First: An Onshore and Offshore Pollution Prevention Symposium & Technology Exhibition”, provided the ideal platform to discuss the importance of technical and aftersales support, and the service Trelleborg Marine Systems offers.

Here at Trelleborg, we offer a complete range of fendering, docking and mooring solutions, as well as a one-stop-shop for technical, operational and maintenance support.  Our most recent Barometer Report revealed a huge gap in the maintenance requirements of port owners and operators, and the support that suppliers are able to provide. So it was great to use the exhibition as a platform to connect with stakeholders to discuss where suppliers fall short and what more we can do to give them the support they need.

Ultimately, successful projects engage suppliers from the earliest possible stages, to get input and guidance on what will be the most appropriate solution on a case-by-case basis. That’s why we provide stakeholders with support from the earliest design stages to aftersales support. In particular, it was great to discuss our program for the North American market, and its development in accordance with OCIMF, SIGTTO and PIANC guidelines.

We also had a comprehensive team of sales and technical experts on stand to take visitors through the role Trelleborg played in the first phase of implementation of the Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards (MOTEMS). The standards apply to all existing and new marine oil terminals in California, and include criteria for inspection, structural analysis and design including mooring and berthing requirements.

The Prevention First exhibition is organised by the California State Lands Commission (CSLC), which sets the requirements for marine jetties throughout California.

The full results of Trelleborg’s latest Barometer Report, which details a wide range of findings from the industry survey, is available now as a free download from: http://www.trelleborg.com/en/Marine-Systems/Home/

 

 

 

PORT INDUSTRY HAMSTRUNG BY CONSERVATIVE APPROACH TO UPGRADING PORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Following on from chapter one of our Port Performance Roundtable film, we are delighted to launch chapter two – “Using the Right Technology”.

Chapter two, which is now live on the MarineInsights YouTube channel, explores whether there has been a shift in how port authorities and terminal operators are evaluating their infrastructure to keep up with the demands placed upon them.

The Barometer Report revealed that 40% of port owners and operators don’t think their existing port infrastructure is adequate to accommodate increasing vessel sizes. So what is preventing them from upgrading their infrastructure?

As we discuss in chapter two, it’s not so much a lack of technology that’s holding them back, but the wider industry’s conservative approach to the adoption of new technologies. Whilst technology continues to advance, providing another route for facilities to take to keep up with the demands placed upon them, the Barometer Report also revealed that 19% of port owners and operators admitted to not using any automated systems at their facility.

Automated systems improve accuracy in monitoring and management, improving efficiency and allowing quick decisions to be made through real-time access to key data.

Docking aid Systems improve safety as the vessel comes in to berth, with the data they provide allowing jetty operators, pilots and ship masters to make early corrections to manoeuvres, long before a potential incident occurs.

Facilities that are not using these automated tools jeopardise efficiency and safety, and run the risk of becoming antiquated – they certainly won’t be able to keep up with the new breed of terminal that is currently emerging.

The port landscape is evolving quickly, with increasing and diverse demand. Larger vessel sizes and more stringent environmental regulations mean facilities need to quickly upgrade their infrastructure now. Those that don’t will suffer in a bullish market, as new, modern terminals multiply and others quickly upgrade.

To view chapter two of the Port Performance Roundtable film, visit: http://ow.ly/F7ZxW

To download the Barometer Report, visit: http://ow.ly/Ed95A

UNSCHEDULED DOWNTIME IS STILL HOLDING BACK THE PORT INDUSTRY

Our latest Barometer Report has revealed that unscheduled downtime is still a problem in the port industry.

We found that 74% of port owners and operators are still suffering unscheduled downtime. Fender damage was the most frequently cited cause, with 20% of owners and operators having suffered downtime due to damage to their systems.

The high incidence of fender damage and the subsequent downtime may be due to a lack of awareness on how to specify a truly quality system, something which really needs to be improved upon. 61% of the consultants and contractors we surveyed claim that their clients are concerned about upfront purchase costs, which could explain the poorly-performing solutions.

To me, the results of the survey suggest that fender system performance and quality is a serious issue. Two-thirds of port owners and operators say that they have upgraded their fender systems in the last five years – despite the fact that fender systems have an intended design life of 25 years.

The many upgrades which have taken place in recent years could be indicative of poor quality solutions which have to be constantly upgraded, with clients’ focus on cost-cutting a potential cause.

Levels of unscheduled downtime have decreased over time, which is a positive step, but any amount of downtime is costly in terms of lost revenue and damaged reputation. Concern about upfront costs is understandable, but in the long term, poor solutions can result in even bigger costs. Contractors and consultants should educate themselves on how to specify quality to steer clients away from cost-cutting upfront and towards investing in quality solutions that will perform well over a long design life.

To view the full results of the latest Barometer Report, visit the Trelleborg Marine Systems website.

AN OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK ON PORT INVESTMENT

Our latest Barometer Report has revealed the most optimistic outlook on investment since we began surveying the industry back in 2010.

We found that 93% of port owners and operators expect capital expenditure budgets to increase over the next 12 months, and 88% expect operational expenditure budgets to grow too. The picture was even brighter when we surveyed consultants and contractors, with 98% expecting both CapEx and OpEx to grow.

This is certainly a positive step, but those increased budgets need to be spent strategically to really help ports to increase efficiencies which, unfortunately, doesn’t really seem to be happening at the moment. 61% of consultants and contractors felt that their clients were concerned by upfront purchase costs, rather than prioritising whole life value. Seemingly, attitudes towards procurement still need to change.

To me, this focus on up-front purchase cost may have been understandable while we were suffering the effects of the economic downturn, but with budgets expected to rise, the industry as a whole needs to take steps to ensure we implement high-quality solutions.

The report revealed that ports are already under pressure to adapt to increasingly complex demands on infrastructure – they risk falling further behind if they don’t act now to optimise new investment opportunities.

Ultimately, though, I take a positive message away from the findings of the report: as the market continues to strengthen, there’s an opportunity to take a bold and deliberate step to get ahead of demand and invest strategically now.

The have a look at the full results of the latest Barometer Report, visit the Trelleborg Marine Systems website.