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Tag Archives: shipping

THE RISE OF THE MACHINES OR SIMPLY EFFECTIVE AUTOMATION?

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

Technology features in this blog on a regular basis and quite rightly so. Technology is already having a positive impact on our industry in many different ways, from improved communication and collaboration to safety and operational efficiencies. But the recent announcement by technology group, Wartsila, shows just how much further the industry can benefit from advances in automation.

Wartsila’s latest system automates on-board procedures to provide reliable and more efficient vessel manoeuvring which also reduces risk and improves safety. At a time when ship sizes are increasing and the industry as a whole is facing tough times, this is a positive development with obvious benefits. It is also, hopefully, the precursor to greater take up of automating technologies across the industry as a whole, whether on-board, landside or on jetties.

Our own research (see Preparing for the Port of the Future Report) showed how different marine audiences have different attitudes towards the adoption of smart technologies.  There was a definite appetite among shipping lines for ports and terminals to keep up with the pace of change and implement digital technologies more widely. Vessel stakeholders seem to have woken up to the value of automation and while landside operations have also matured, the survey results indicate facilities haven’t been as quickly upgraded on the jetty side. Half of shipping lines felt ports and terminals were immature in the implementation of smart technologies and lagged behind available technology, but noticeably, little more than a third of ports and terminals claim to have experienced increased pressure from shipping lines to automate.

This is a worrying gap, and one which mustn’t widen. Developments such as Wartsila’s highlight how ports and terminals are only going to face increasing pressure to adopt smart technologies and to keep up with advancing on-board technology. They do not want to be left behind. Finding out how your facility compares to the rest of the industry in terms of digital automation is an important exercise and a useful first step. This is why Trelleborg has developed an online tool that allows ports and terminals to assess their digital maturity, quickly and easily, and to find out how they compare automation-wise against the industry standard. Have a go at the Port and Terminal Automation Audit here.

THROW AWAY THE CRYSTAL BALL – HOW PREDICTIONS FOR THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY ARE FAST BECOMING A REALITY


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

As part of our recent ‘Preparing for the Port of the Future’ Report we interviewed Gerd Leonhard, renowned futurist and one of Europe’s Top 100 most influential people according to Wired (UK). Gerd was asked to give his predictions on how our industry might change over the coming decade –what is interesting, is how some of these predictions are already fast becoming a reality.

Not only have we seen shipping logistics shaken up wholescale with Amazon rapidly expanding its own logistics infrastructure, but further disruption has also come from the recent tie-up of Maersk and Alibaba. In the space of less than twelve months, the ‘traditional’ shipping business model is looking decidedly out-of-date. Just as predicted, only sooner.

There’s a lesson in this for us. As an industry we have to embrace change. It’s not simply a case of change will happen, it is happening.  Relationships are shifting, bringing new connections in adjacent but relevant fields. This means adopting a more flexible approach to partnerships with clients and other suppliers. The idea of hyper-collaboration is going to be critical. These joint ventures will come in all shapes and sizes, and therefore being open to different types of approaches is key to ensure we don’t cut off future growth or revenue opportunities.

It’s what Gerd calls ‘Digital Darwinism’, and while technology is making it possible to identify the weaker species, technology is also the means to be more competitive and to thrive in the marine landscape of the future. As part of our Preparing for the Port of the Future Report, Trelleborg also researched the attitudes of ports and terminals across the world towards automation, and their current take-up of smart technologies – establishing the digital maturity of the shipping industry.

What we learned is that while there is widespread recognition of the benefits of automation, there is a disconnect between this acceptance and the actual implementation of smart products.  Only 29% of ports and terminals electronically track and standardize data on pilot performance and adherence to routes. Similarly, only 21% have insight into speed and angle of berthing. Yet these are exactly the type of data insights that need to be captured and analysed. They will deliver the productivity gains in terms of port efficiency and vessel throughput that are needed to remain competitive in the aftermath of the Amazon, Maersk and Alibaba mega-deals.

Stakeholders across the industry need to start anticipating change – because we’re all effected by it in a big way. Ports are becoming technology labs – environments ripe for research, development and experimentation in the drive to generate efficiencies.

 

 

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.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

Richard Hepworth of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation considers whether the global shipping industry is keeping up with the technological pace of change.

No-one in the shipping industry denies that automation and Big Data will have a real impact on how we do business, our own research tells us so. But there’s a noticeable disconnect between understanding the significance and opportunities of these new technologies, and actually doing something about them.

According to Trelleborg’s upcoming Preparing for the Port of the Future Report, over 90% of ports, terminals and shippers accept the importance of Big Data, but when it comes to capturing and then interpreting different types of performance data this number drops significantly.

At a time when our industry is under pressure to reduce costs and be more efficient, embracing the opportunity to work smarter should be a priority. There are many different types of data available to port and terminal operators and shipping lines, all of which can deliver real efficiency gains. For example, electronically tracking and standardizing data on pilot performance and adherence to approach routes is monitored by less than a third of operators, yet this has significant impact on areas such as fuel efficiency, missing vessel slots and cost control.

We also know from our research that shipping lines are keen to have greater insights into the speed and angle of berthing but that currently only a fifth of ports offer this. This is just one example of many (see the full Report for more), but it shows that by putting in place smart technologies that enable more sophisticated data capture, there can be benefits for all parties, from improving customer relationships to understanding and avoiding berthing delays.

The old adage of don’t run before you can walk can be applied to Big Data. An easy first step to increase efficiency is to turn existing unstructured data into something useful. Audit, digitize and normalize existing metrics and formats to standardize data. This standardization makes analysis easier to produce informed decision-making that can refine processes, optimize efficiencies, improve safety, identify maintenance and improve customer relationships. And that’s just for starters.

It’s not a case of data becoming the new business currency, it already is. Smart technologies offer an immediate opportunity for port and terminal operators and shipping lines alike, together let’s take advantage of them now.

A SMOOTH RIDE AHEAD FOR THE NEW PORT OF LIVERPOOL?

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

The opening of the new Liverpool2 deep sea container terminal this month seems like a piece of good news for our industry, and one that might give UK shipping a boost. This £400million investment project not only doubles the container capacity now available to shipping lines at Liverpool, but for the first time opens up the north of England to mega-carriers by providing the UK’s only deep sea container terminal north of Felixstowe.

This is a good thing. Across the world, ageing port infrastructure requires investment to upgrade facilities so they can take advantage of developments such as new smart technology and improvements in material capability. Whilst Drewry reports that the industry is expected to lose $5billion this year, so investment and evolution like this is exciting to see.

It’s encouraging to see Peel Ports investing for the future. The consolidation we’ve seen over the last few years between shipping lines has seen powerful alliances emerge and there’s no doubt they are flexing their muscles and putting pressure on ports and terminals to improve the physical facilities they offer.

Alongside these sizeable alliances, another factor driving competition between ports is of course the size of the containerships themselves. Accommodating these mega-carriers creates a real and immediate need to expand infrastructure, and is now a commercial necessity if ports are to secure future contracts with shipping lines and alliances.

Liverpool2 has recognized this and risen to the challenge, opening up new opportunities for shipping in the UK. It’s positive news for our industry and let’s hope that mega-containerships are soon spotted travelling up and down the River Mersey.

 

TRELLEBORG SHIPS 600TH LNG SHIP SHORE LINK

By Dave Pendleton, Managing Director, Trelleborg’s marine systems operation, UK

I am delighted to announce that we have recently passed a major milestone with the shipment of our 600th SeaTechnikTM Ship Shore Link (SSL) system for the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Industry.

The SeaTechnikTM SMART SSL system will be installed on a 174,000m3 LNG Carrier (Hull number 2411), being built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) at its Okpo ship yard, Goeje Island, South Korea, for Teekay shipping Limited.

The majority of the world’s LNG cargo fleet and terminals are equipped with SSL technology, a system for communicating the emergency shutdown (ESD) signals, telephone and process data required when cargo transfer is undertaken from ship-to-shore and from shore-to-ship.

We’re proud of our track record in customer service and innovation. Teekay and DSME have been key customers for us since the introduction of the first SeaTechnikTM SSL product 15 years ago. Innovation is an essential part of who we are and we have constantly evolved our technology, from the first analogue systems, to the latest digital systems controlling complex Floating Regasification and Storage Units (FSRU) and LNG fuelling for marine vessels – which include full process data transfer between vessels and terminals.

We view the support service as equally important to the technology itself. A ship costing many tens of thousands of dollars per day to run, and carrying a cargo worth several million dollars, is an expensive asset to have inactive because the SSL interface cannot be connected to transfer the LNG cargo. Our SeatechnikTM SSL technology, and importantly, 24/7 service to test, maintain and repair equipment has a proven track record in making sure this will not happen.

In such an important market, and one that has seen many SSL suppliers come and go, often leaving customers exposed due to lack of support, we are proud of the fact the Trelleborg invested for the long term, and the reward is the 600 SSL milestone.

I’ll leave you with a few words from Odin, Kwon of DSME shipyard and David Glendinning, President of Teekay Gas Services:

Odin said: “As one of the world leaders in the supply of LNG carriers and Floating Regasification and Storage Units (FSRUs), we recognise that the SeaTechnikTM SSL is vital to the performance of our customers’ vessels as a trading asset.”

David said: “Our business is the safe, efficient transport of LNG for our customers. The SSL is a mission critical system in the cargo transfer process. Each of our vessels is also backed by Trelleborg’s Fleet Support Service which ensures an expert is always at the end of the phone or on email, 24/7.”

 

 

 

TRELLEBORG REPORT HIGHLIGHTS POTENTIAL OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Our latest Barometer Report, which discusses the issues impacting ports and terminals around the globe, revealed that over 40% of the port owners and operators surveyed have experienced an increase in throughput in the last twelve months.

To accommodate the higher levels of throughput, demanded by larger ships carrying more cargo, ports should look increasingly towards automated or ‘smart’ technologies.

Automated technology has a significant role to play in delivering greater operational efficiency, reducing unit costs by helping to process cargo more quickly and more consistently. This principle and drive for efficient turnaround should extend to the jetty side too. There is a vast opportunity to reduce human error and refine scheduling as vessels come in to port, berth and are dispatched.

While the wider transport and logistics sector is relatively advanced in its grasp and use of ‘smart’ technology, the ‘Internet of Things’ mentality is not necessarily translating quickly within ports and terminals. The more rapidly we take a smarter approach to connecting equipment, the quicker we can collect and analyze data from it – and the sooner we’ll improve efficiency.

With that in mind, it’s positive that 74% of those surveyed are open to new technologies, showing a willingness to adapt and improve. The industry is beginning to look forward and embrace new trends, which is reflected by the fact that so many are now using one or more forms of automated technology.

Only 7% say they don’t use any automated systems – instead, relying on human or manual guidance at their facilities. This is much less than last year, when 19% said the same, while in 2013 we observed that the market was lagging behind the technology available to it.

While the use of automated technologies continues to grow, so too does our commitment to taking a smarter approach to port and terminal efficiency, and extending the automation that is becoming increasingly well-established on the land side, to the jetty side too. This commitment was highlighted by our recent acquisition of Marimatech, whose navigation and ship positioning product line utilize the latest ‘smart’ technology. These are to be integrated with our existing product range and will further strengthen our offering as a turnkey supplier of systems for both ship and terminal owners.

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