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Tag Archives: Terminals

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