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Tag Archives: ports

IT’S SHIPPING, BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT – HOW MAERSK AND ALIBABA ARE POSITIVELY DISRUPTING OUR INDUSTRY

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

Could the announcement of a major collaboration between Maersk and Alibaba in just the first week of 2017 indicate this is going to be a year of seismic change for our industry? Let’s hope so. Shipping, like all other sectors of the global economy, is transforming. And it needs to change too.

Technology is recognized as one of the key enablers of this change and while it’s interesting to see that the first big deal of the year sees a traditional industry player team up with an e-commerce giant – surely an example of positive disruption at its best – it’s perhaps not unsurprising.

Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of alliances and collaborations, such as the emergence of the so-called Power Four, so the decision by a main shipping line to form a partnership to deploy online services seems to be the logical next step in the evolution of the ‘old’ shipping business model to a more logistics-centred approach. It’s also worth noting that while the first deal of this kind is based in Asia, where the speed of change and disruption is more rapid, it won’t be contained there. Further digitalization of the supply chain is inevitable and everything that can be automated will be automated.

Attitude is key. The traditionally conservative shipping sector needs to embrace technology and the positive change it can bring. Collaborations such as this one, may seem removed from our own day-to-day activities, but there are smaller, practical steps that can be taken now to take advantage of developments in smart technology.

Our own research shows how shipping lines value smart technologies that have a positive impact on the safe and efficient operations of ports and terminals. These so-called smart ports benefit from smart technology that connects products, collects data and provides insights to deliver real efficiency gains, such as lowering operating costs due to improved vessel throughput. It’s a first step but it’s a tangible one.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Understanding how materials perform and are processed will help make sure you really are getting what you pay for, says Richard Hepworth of Trelleborg.

Ports need to have confidence that equipment will perform as expected to fully protect terminals and berthing vessels and keep the port running safely and efficiently.

Fenders are an essential part of this port infrastructure and as such their ability to perform reliably day-in, day-out is also essential. But not all fenders are made equal, and even those that appear to be made out of the same material, such as rubber, differ significantly in terms of performance. This is down to a number of factors and familiarisation with these could mean the difference between a good investment and a bad one.

How fenders are built and then chemically processed determines the product’s final properties which in turn determines fender performance (read more about building and curing in fender performance here). However, as the economy has become increasingly global, it has become more difficult to be fully confident in the performance and provenance of some products. There have been instances of falsified testing information which means that it isn’t always a case of what you see is what you get. Caveat emptor definitely applies.

The good news is that Trelleborg is working to highlight these issues and, as a supplier of high quality fenders, to raise global standards in testing and performance.  We are currently undertaking a large-scale study into the impact of chemical processes on rubber fender performance – more information to follow soon!

In the meantime, being aware of quality issues and questioning suppliers to improve specification will help ensure you’re getting the right fender for the job, and more importantly one that will perform over the long-term as expected. It’s about minimizing risk, protecting investment and improving performance.

Remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So get familiar with fender production, ask suppliers difficult questions and give yourself peace of mind.

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 ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF TECHNICAL SEMINAR ROAD TRIP

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

Trelleborg’s marine systems operation in Dubai is to hit the road following the launch of its first ever technical seminar road trip across the Middle East from 24th April to 4th May.

Unlike your average seminar series, the road trip will see Trelleborg deliver one-day technical seminars straight to customers’ doors, across the Middle East, with one-day events in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Damman, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Bahrain City, Bahrain; Dubai, UAE; and Aqaba, Jordan. The road trip is specifically designed to provide port authorities and consultants with everything they need to know about Trelleborg’s latest developments in port and terminal infrastructure.

The events will see the experts at Trelleborg discuss a range of key industry issues including marine fender best practice and the latest guidelines for docking and mooring systems. Technical expert Mishra Kumar will also be on hand to discuss the importance of ingredient selection, mixing and the manufacturing process in marine fenders.

As our commitment to taking a smarter approach to port and terminal optimization continues to grow, the road trip provides the ideal platform to highlight the importance of specifying smart, engineered solutions for port approach, berthing, docking and mooring to those across a region that is rapidly becoming a global shipping hub.

For more information about the road trip, or if you’d like to register your attendance, contact Anu Bhaskar: anu.bhaskar@trelleborg.com

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.

TRELLEBORG LAUNCHES NEW STANDARDIZED QUICK RELEASE HOOK SOLUTION

Here at Trelleborg, we have provided countless facilities with the customized, high performance solutions needed to optimize their mooring operations. With that in mind, I am delighted to reveal that we have taken the extensive knowledge and expertise gained through our SmartMoor range and applied it to developing a new, streamlined product for customers with less complex requirements, such as those in commercial ports and harbours.

With the ReadyMoor range, a standardized solution that provides the fastest lead times, we now have the ideal solution.

Thanks to its ‘ready-made’ approach, the ReadyMoor range provides a solution that offers the safety and operational benefits of QRHs, whilst passing on commercial benefits to the customer. The series is available with average delivery of just 12 weeks, the time it takes to assemble, test and ship the product.

The compact design of the new range ensures a small installation footprint, minimizing deck space usage and installation costs.

The new hook also reduces maintenance requirements through a single stage locking mechanism, which has fewer moving parts and is available in double or triple hook units with a Safe Working Load (SWL) from 50 tonnes to 150 tonnes. Models with an SWL of 60 tonnes and higher are also available with integral capstans, if required.

To find out more about Trelleborg’s new ReadyMoor range, download the Product Application Briefing now. Alternatively, for a more detailed specification, download the ReadyMoor datasheet at http://ow.ly/K91n9

JEBEL ALI PORT RECOGNISES IMPORTANCE OF RUBBER SPECIFICATION

We are proud to announce the introduction of our rubber quality standards at the world’s largest man-made harbor – The Jebel Ali Port in Dubai. We have been working on the Quay Four refurbishment project with DP world since 2011, and have now completed installation with 60 super cone SCN 1300 fenders to project berths 18 and 19.

Super Cone fenders provide optimal performance and efficiency. The unique design makes them an excellent choice in terms of stability, strength and also resistance to over-compression.

The addition of analytical tests to verify the quality of rubber used in the fenders has ensured us to really reassure the port that the high-performance required for this project will be met.

As the biggest port in the Middle East and a supplier to the global market, we are delighted that DP world has shown commitment to superior solutions by building rubber quality standards in to their fender specifications.

Thanks to our entirely in-house approach, we could even personalise the solution for DP World by including the DP World Logo on the UHMW PE face pads of the fenders.

I will leave you with a few words from Hesham Abdulla, Container Terminal 1 director of DP world, who said: “Trelleborg was able to offer technical support across all parts of the system, from ensuring the rubber element would precisely meet specification, to chains and accessories. Their support and local presence meant that they were a natural choice to supply the project and thanks to their in-house manufacturing capabilities we could even have the solution personalised.”

HAVE YOUR VIEWS HEARD IN OUR LATEST BAROMETER REPORT

We’ve recently launch our latest Barometer Report survey, to gather views and opinions from across the industry, covering issues from investment and throughput to maintenance and downtime.

We want to hear about your experiences, good or bad.  Fill out the quick, multiple choice survey and you’re in with a chance to win an Apple iPad.

For the first time, we’re splitting the survey into two distinct groups, one for port owners and operators, and another for contractors and consultants – to explore potential differences in attitudes and opinions between the two.

If you’re a port owner or operator: how’s your port performing?  What do you think are the issues most heavily impacting the industry?

Or if you’re a contractor or consultant, are your client’s keeping pace with rapid change, or have they started to fall behind?

TACKLING OPERATIONAL COSTS WITH THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY

Jean-Francois Garcia, General Manager – Sales France / Africa at Trelleborg Marine Systems

Towards the end of March, I attended the 11th Intermodal Africa North 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. Intermodal Africa North 2013 is the largest annual Containerised Ports, Shipping Transport Logistics Exhibition and Conference on the African continent and so provided an ideal platform for us to share our comprehensive range of equipment, ideas and best practice with those in attendance.

After investing heavily in strengthening our global reach with the addition of a local ‘feet on the ground’ presence in the region towards the end of last year, it was essential we made the most of what is undoubtedly one of the largest events of its kind within the EMEA Corridor.

At Intermodal Africa North 2013 we took the opportunity to exhibit a number of our industry leading products including our new easy slide in, slide out solution for PE Pad replacement which promises to not only reduce maintenance downtime from days to just hours, but also lowers the total cost of ownership.

I also took to the stage to discuss the significance of applying the right technology to successfully reduce operational costs, including the importance of specifying high quality rubber fenders to ensure longer lifetime and the significance of fender maintenance.

Last year, having developed new analytical and chemical tests to investigate the difference between high quality and low cost fenders, we found some rather damning differences between two fenders which claimed to be designed to the same specification. Ultimately, decision makers need to open their eyes to the varying quality on offer when buying on the basis of short term cost savings and realise that they’re not only causing unprecedented levels of downtime, but also putting ports at risk.

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.