By Richard Hepworth, President, Trelleborg marine systems operation
Vessel sizes are becoming larger, competition is increasing and broader alliances between shipping lines are being established. These factors combine to put increased pressure on ports and terminals. Our industry is famously conservative, but change is coming quickly. There will be a need for more collaboration – as different stakeholders have different strengths. This will make partnerships throughout the supply chain and across industries critical.
After signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2017, strategically, this is what both we and Third Harbor Consultants Company (THCC) are doing. Collaborating. To further innovation and enable improvements for our ports and vessels. Recently, this saw Trelleborg host two technical seminars (20 & 21 June) in China with consultants and engineers from THCC and CCCC Water Transportation Consultants Company (WTCC).
The seminars provided consultants and engineers from THCC and WTCC with a comprehensive overview of SmartPort by Trelleborg, which powers the critical interface between ship and port, on land and at sea. SmartPort connects port operations, allowing operators to analyze performance and use data to increase efficiencies, improve safety and improve ROI for ports and vessels alike. The system integrates assets like fenders, mooring equipment, ship performance monitoring, and navigation systems through a network of sensors.
The seminars also provided insight on two solutions that fall under the SmartPort portfolio. The first being AutoMoor, Trelleborg’s rope-free, automated mooring system that uses smart technologies to enable faster berthing and improve safety levels within the port environment.
The second was Smart Fender, a marine fender load monitoring system that can be used to measure both the impact on fenders when a vessel berths, and the ongoing force applied as the vessel continues to bear against them whilst docked. When analyzed, the data obtained has the potential to be used in several ways: such as developing a deeper understanding of berthing dynamics, which in turn could assist with future fender and wharf design, and further, feed into the revision of safe and acceptable berthing operations and procedures.
Additionally, load data may be used to determine when maintenance is needed, or indeed, a replacement fender is required. In the event of an accident, or a fender failing, the data can be used to provide information as to why – providing valuable data for insurance claims and helping ports and shipping lines to avoid the costly downtime associated with disputes.
For more on SmartPort by Trelleborg, visit: http://www.trelleborg.com/en/marine-systems/smartport