Rotterdam may see first ship-to-ship LNG refuelling in June

Source: Rotterdam may see first ship-to-ship LNG refuelling in June

SINGAPORE, April 24 (Reuters) – The port of Rotterdam expects to see its first ship-to-ship (STS) liquefied natural gas (LNG) refuelling operation in June, marking an important milestone in the use of the cleaner burning fuel in shipping.

The opening of STS marine refuelling, also known as bunkering, is significant because it makes the cleaner fuel more accessible to shippers, said Cees Boon, senior safety adviser at the Port of Rotterdam.

“A lot milestones will follow,” said Boon in an email on Tuesday.

In June, it is expected that short-haul sea vessels will be the first to undergo LNG bunkering through STS operations in the port of Rotterdam, followed by LNG-fuelled cruise ships in November and then larger deep-sea vessels by the end of 2019, said Boon.

Short-haul LNG-fuelled shipping vessels have so far only been able to refuel with LNG in Rotterdam through truck-to-ship transfers while at dock.

Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port and bunkering hub, and is actively promoting the use of LNG as a marine fuel.

Rotterdam sold 1,500 tonnes of LNG bunker fuels in 2017, up from just 100 tonnes the year before, data on the port’s website showed.

Shippers are looking to LNG to help them meet stricter emissions regulations in 2020 and beyond. (Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gopakumar Warrier)

From Rotterdam, Many Left for a New Life

Source: From Rotterdam, Many Left for a New Life

ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — They came from Russia, Poland, Germany and Ukraine, bearing tickets bought in the field offices of the Holland America Line passenger ships. They were fleeing the pogroms, escaping tyrants, running from war or just seeking a better life. About two million people made their way to Rotterdam harbor during the peak years from 1880 to 1920 to begin a trans-Atlantic journey that would often end at Ellis Island.

The stories of these migrants inspired the former Rijksmuseum director, Wim Pijbes, and the group he leads, Stichting Droom en Daad (Foundation Dream and Do), to transform a crumbling warehouse on the Rotterdam piers into a kind of Dutch sister-site to Ellis Island. The nonprofit organization he directs, founded in 2016 to support arts in Rotterdam, acquired a city permit in March to turn the old Holland America Line warehouse into an institution that will commemorate those journeys.

“I won’t call it a museum,” Mr. Pijbes said recently as he showed a reporter around the 108,000-square-foot concrete and steel building on a windswept pier, which is home to a number of ragtag hipster start-ups, including an organic food court, galleries and arts groups. “A museum is a phenomenon that has a very strict idea and image in most people’s minds. I want to find a word that has a kind of hybrid function, a place, a platform, an agora.”

The new multiuse facility, called the Fenix, will include restaurants, shops and galleries on the ground floor, while the entire top floor will be devoted to exhibitions related to immigration, past and present.

A ship docked at the warehouse around 1925.Collection Stadsarchief Rotterdam/Municipal Archives, Rotterdam

In 2020, when their leases expire, the current shops and businesses will move out to make way for renovation, which is expected to cost upward of 5 million euros ($6.14 million), though some will return.

“Culturally and historically, this will be of amazing value for the city,” Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor, said of the Fenix project, adding that it would serve as “a bridge” between the north and south sides of Rotterdam.

Through a partnership with several local museums and the Rotterdam City Archives, the exhibition space will combine historical presentations, based on three million records related to the immigrants who passed through here, and ship data, along with contemporary art.

Mr. Pijbes said he would like to show the Mexican artist and filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s high-tech art installation “Carne y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible)” (2017), which allows one visitor at a time to experience crossing the United States-Mexico border in the desert, through virtual reality.

“What we want to show is that this is a universal story,” Mr. Pijbes said. “People at some point of their lives make a decision, whether it’s forced by war, poverty, religious reasons or something else. They decide to put everything they have into one or two suitcases and to make this journey to a new world and start all over again. The same thing happens to Jews from Russia and people from African continents crossing the Mediterranean, or Syrians fleeing the war. What we want to do is to understand the emotion and to show the emotion.”

Hundreds of thousands of those who left through Rotterdam were victims of pogroms, anti-Semitic riots that swept the Russian Empire, killing thousands and propelling mass Jewish migration. But among the 3.5 million people who took the Holland America Line from its inception in the 1870s to the 1960s, when air travel became significantly cheaper, were every conceivable kind of immigrant.

Mr. Pijbes intends to make the passenger lists, and details about those who traveled, available to the public online within a couple of years, before the Fenix opens.

The Holland-America Line built what was said at the time to be the largest warehouse in the world on this pier in 1923, using it as a passenger terminal and goods transport center, according to Droom en Daad. In those days, some 2,000 to 4,000 people would board a single ship — first steamers and later ocean liners — for the weekslong voyage to the United States or Halifax, Nova Scotia, with poorer émigrés cramming into steerage and the wealthier passengers banqueting in first class.

An entire industry sprang up around the travelers who passed through this port, to house them, provide them with papers and check them for diseases like rheumatic fever and trachoma (pink eye) that would prevent their entering the United States.

Rotterdam was heavily bombed by German forces before the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 and again as the Germans retreated, hoping to cut off Allied access to supplies.

The warehouse was blown up with dynamite, but rebuilt at half the size after the war. It was named the Fenix, or phoenix, rising from the ashes.

Today, large ocean liners dock at these piers, and glass office towers dwarf the Art Deco building, once the tallest at the harbor, that had served as the headquarters of the Holland America Line (now the charmingly historic Hotel New York).

“It takes more than a hundred years to rebuild a city that has been bombed to the ground,” Mr. Pijbes said. “You see now in places like Syria and Iraq what happened here.

“If you see the city as a body, what happens to the body is a trauma. What people tend to do when they have a very serious trauma is to turn their back on it. The people from Rotterdam did not look back in history. Don’t think about the past, they said, look at the future.”

But Mr. Pijbes said that his foundation felt it was time to look back, because the history of Rotterdam was rich and fascinating.

Mr. Pijbes served as the general director of the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum, for eight years before he stepped down in 2016 to run the Museum Voorlinden, a private contemporary art center in Wassenaar founded by a chemical company executive and art collector, Joop van Caldenborgh.

The Voorlinden job lasted only a few months.

Soon afterward, Mr. Pijbes said, he was approached by the Van der Vorms, one of the wealthiest families in the Netherlands, who asked him to establish a foundation devoted to Rotterdam-based cultural activities and projects.

The Van der Vorms owned shares in the Holland America Line from the 1930s until it was sold to the American Carnival Corporation in 1989, but this project was not born of that connection, Mr. Pijbes said.

After spending about a year meeting with some 200 Rotterdam-based artists, architects, developers and city leaders, Droom en Daad settled on the Fenix as its first major undertaking.

“If you go to Amsterdam or Leiden or Delft, you go to the city center, and you see the Middle Ages and you see the 17th century and the 19th century, you see history,” Mr. Pijbes said. “In Rotterdam, you have history, but you can’t see it physically. Everything that is built in the city center was built after 1950. There’s a lack of history. There’s a gap in the memory.

“Our goal is to fill that gap, or refill that gap, by focusing on culture and heritage.”

Simwave maritime simulator centre officially open

Source: Simwave maritime simulator centre officially open

Simwave officially opened its 5,000-square-metre maritime training centre in Barendrecht yesterday. Naturally, the opening was simulated. On all the screens of 59 simulators, four vessels sailed at the same time through an opening ribbon in an imaginary port with the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Giza and the Burj Khalifa on the quays.

It was clear to see how hundreds of guests, including the mayor of Berendrecht Jan van Belzen, enjoyed the simulated opening spectacle and the subsequent look behind the scenes at the simulators. The centre has already been in use for some time now. The ‘site acceptance test’ was successfully completed on 29 January in collaboration with the supplier of the simulators, the Norwegian company Kongsberg Digital. Since then, the entire ‘maritime centre of excellence’ has been operational and there are plenty of training courses being organised for and with customers such as Genting Hong Kong, Crystal River Cruises and Viking Cruises.


Opening offer
To celebrate the opening, Simwave immediately announced an offer. ‘Clients who book an Open Course before 16 May will receive a 15% discount on the registration fee,’ announced Marcel Kind, the managing director and co-founder of Simwave.

Simwave offers the shipping industry an exception concept: ‘Simulator as a service’. A simulator or several different interfaced simulators can be booked straightforwardly to train or assess crews, with or without support from the shipping company’s own instructors. Thanks to a team of professionals in the field of maritime modelling and a team for visual databases, clients can practise with their own vessels in any desired sailing environment. The Simwave centres are available 24/7 and they include extensive accommodation facilities.


Port congestion: There’s an app for that

Source: Port congestion: There’s an app for that

Dive Brief:

  • A new app from the Port of Rotterdam, called Pronto, will reduce waiting time by 20% for the 30,000 vessels it receives yearly, the port said in a press release.
  • Pronto’s dashboard allows shippers and terminals to monitor developments and make necessary adjustments. A timeline specifies every event the vessel will be involved in during its port call, from arrival through departure.
  • Port congestion is a global problem that creates serious repercussions throughout the supply chain.

Story continues below

Dive Insight:

The International Chamber of Shipping estimates 90% of global trade is carried by sea. With that much traffic arriving, unloading and departing from the world’s ports, congestion is almost inevitable.

Ports quite often have limited docking space, and with the size of today’s ships, capacity can be strained. Vessels line up and wait, many times in an anchorage at sea, until they’re able to access the port.

The waiting ships are using up fuel, and goods that need to be off-loaded for further transport aren’t going anywhere, setting off a logistics chain reaction as trucks and rail scheduled to receive those goods also sit idle. End-users who rely on on-time deliveries will be forced to scramble to meet their needs and, more important, their customers’ needs.

Pronto’s app is designed to make more effective use of capacity at the terminals while also coordinating vessel services, such as bunkering (storage of fuels fueling services), maintenance and provisioning of ships. When a vessel’s estimated arrival time is known, it is assigned a timeline within Pronto. The timeline specifies every event the vessel will be involved until its departure.

As Europe’s largest business port, and a primary destination for goods from Asia, Rotterdam includes one fully automated, technologically advanced terminal that can handle today’s megaships and their capacities of up to 20,000 twenty-foot-equivalent Units (TEUs).

However, the app alone won’t solve the congestion problem. For example, barge operator Contargo has told its customers there is a waiting time of 12-72 hours at Rotterdam and it would be adding a €19.50 per container (full and empty) surcharge to shipments. The operator said it had identified four causes for the congestion: larger ocean-going vessels, limited handling windows for inland operations, additional seaport terminals and growing numbers of feeder vessels.

Port congestion is a global issue. Rotterdam has taken a first step with its app, but much more remains to be done.

Blockchain is about to revolutionise the shipping industry

Blockchain is about to revolutionise the shipping industry The Business Times Full coverage

Source: Blockchain is about to revolutionise the shipping industry

GLOBALISATION has brought the most advanced trading networks the world has seen, with the biggest, fastest vessels, robot-operated ports and vast computer databases tracking cargoes. But it all still relies on millions and millions of paper documents.

That last throwback to 19th century trade is about to fall. AP Moeller-Maersk A/S and other container shipping lines have teamed up with technology companies to upgrade the world’s most complex logistics network.

The prize is a revolution in world trade on a scale not seen since the move to standard containers in the 1960s – a change that ushered in the age of globalisation. But the undertaking is as big as the potential upheaval it will cause. To make it work, dozens of shipping lines and thousands of related businesses around the world – including manufacturers, banks, insurers, brokers and port authorities – will have to work out a protocol that can integrate all the new systems onto one vast platform.

Should they succeed, documentation that takes days will eventually be done in minutes, much of it without the need for human input. The cost of moving goods across continents could drop dramatically, adding fresh impetus to relocate manufacturing or source materials and goods from overseas.

“This would be the biggest innovation in the industry since the containerisation,” said Rahul Kapoor, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Singapore. “It basically brings more transparency and efficiency. The container shipping lines are coming out of their shells and playing catch-up in technology.”

The key, as in so many other industries, from oil tankers to cryptocurrencies, is blockchain, the electronic ledger system that allows transactions to be verified autonomously. And the benefits wouldn’t be confined to shipping. Improving communications and border administration using blockchain could generate an additional US$1 trillion in global trade, according to the World Economic Forum.

APL Ltd, owned by the world’s third-largest container line CMA CGM SA, together with Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Accenture Plc, a European customs organisation and other companies said last month that they have tested a blockchain-based platform. South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine Co held trial runs last year using a system developed with Samsung SDS Co.

The shipping paper trail begins when a cargo owner books space on a ship to move goods. Documents need to be filled in and approved before cargo can enter or leave a port. A single shipment can require hundreds pages that need to be physi-cally delivered to dozens of different agencies, banks, customs bureaus and other entities.

In 2014, Maersk followed a refrigerated container filled with roses and avocados from Kenya to the Netherlands. The company found that almost 30 people and organisations were involved in processing the box on its journey to Europe. The shipment took about 34 days to get from the farm to the retailers, including 10 days waiting for documents to be processed. One of the critical documents went missing, only to be found later amid a pile of paper.

“The paperwork and processes vital to global trade are also one of its biggest burdens,” according to Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, which has teamed up with International Business Machines (IBM) Corp to enable real-time tracking of its cargo and documents using blockchain. “The paper trail research that Maersk did uncovered the extent of the burden that documents and processes inflict on trade and the consequences.”

That plethora of paper processors has been one of the reasons shipping has lagged behind other industries in moving to electronic forms. The variety of different languages, laws and organisations involved in moving cargoes in the past made standardisation a slow process.

Instead the industry has relied on advances in transport technology and cargo handling to improve efficiency, with the great Clipper sailing vessels replaced by steamships and then modern oil-powered leviathans – the largest ships on the oceans. In the 1850s, it took more than three months to move chests of tea from southern China to London. Today, that journey would take about 30 days.

The biggest change came in the 1960s, when the industry adopted the standard-size steel boxes in use today, replacing the wooden crates, chests and sacks that stevedores had hauled on the docks for centuries.

With these containers sometimes holding products from different suppliers, and ship cargoes sometimes ending up with thousands of customers in dozens of countries, the transition to a uniform electronic system presents major challenges.

“Not all stakeholders are looking at deploying the same blockchain solution and platforms,” APL said in response to questions. “This can pose as a challenge if stakeholders are expected to trade via a common platform or solution.”

And the shipping lines will also need to persuade the ports and other organisations involved in cargo trading to adopt their systems. Maersk said Singapore-based port operator PSA International and APM Terminals, based in The Hague, Netherlands, will use its platform. APL and Accenture said they plan to pilot their product by the end of this year. Accenture said it has tested its technology with other pilot shipments that range from beer to medical supplies.

The cost savings could be visible in the companies’ financial statements in about two years, Mr Kapoor of Bloomberg Intelligence said.

“Shipping needs to stop thinking about itself as this standalone middle sector,” said KD Adamson, chief executive officer of Futurenautics Group. “It needs to start thinking about how the different elements of shipping fit into other ecosystems.” WP

USCG responds to heavy fuel oil discharge

Source: USCG responds to heavy fuel oil discharge

APRIL 23, 2018 — The Coast Guard has been responding to a heavy fuel oil discharge near Norco, LA, today.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at approximately 1 a.m. of a heavy fuel oil discharge from the foreign flagged vessel Iver Exporter near mile marker 126 on the Lower Mississippi River.

According to the Equasis data base, Iver Exporter is a 45,683 dwt, Netherlands flagged, chemical/oil products tanker managed by Vroon subsidiary Iver Ships and delivered by South Korean shipbuilder Samho Heavy Industries in 2000

The source of the discharge is reported to be secured.

A reported 2,600 gallons of oil was discharged into the river.

There are no waterway closures or restrictions due to the incident.

The vessel is currently moored at the Shell Norco Manufacturing Complex.

OMI Environmental Solutions, an oil spill response organization, is on scene and responding to the spill.

At this time, there are no reports of wildlife impacts.

The Coast Guard is conducting an over flight to assess impacted areas.

There are no reports of injuries due to the incident.

“We are working with our federal, state and local partners and the responsible party to oversee the clean up of the discharged fuel to reduce the impacts on the environment,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jim Langford, the federal on scene coordinator representative at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Maersk Teams Up With Israeli Accelerator to Search For New Ideas

Source: Maersk Teams Up With Israeli Accelerator to Search For New Ideas

AP Moller Maersk has turned to a Tel Aviv start up accelerator in its drive to shake up maritime logistics.

The Danish conglomerate has been hitting the headlines recently with its announcements about taking more control of the complete container logistics chain. As part of this the company is looking for startup clusters to help, with its latest move to partner with theDOCK Innovation Hub based in Tel Aviv. TheDock is one of a growing number of start-up cluster accelerator helping entrepreneurs with innovative ideas push ahead with their plans.

“Digital innovation and partnering with software companies of all sizes including startups to accelerate our product roadmaps play key roles in delivering that ambition,” said Ibrahim Gokcen, Chief Digital Officer for A.P. Moller Maersk in a statement.

In the statement theDock, co created by Hannan Carmeli and Nir Gartzman, said they see innovation as a strategic necessity for any organization, particularly the maritime and logistics sectors.

“The logistics domain presents an ocean of opportunities for innovation following decades of conservative evolution,” the company wrote. “Today, executives in newly established roles of digital and innovation officers, promote “open innovation” as means of encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and breakthrough innovation. These activities typically include promoting specific maritime challenges through events such as meetups and hackathons as well as scouting for creative ideas.”

According to Maersk the company is looking for opportunities to co-create what it calls “the next Unicorn in logistics” within the areas of fighting food waste, enabling trade, securing supply chains and next generation logistics. It said it will be using theDock to help identify the right companies to work with in achieving those goals

For theDock, the attention of one of the largest logistics and ship owning companies is welcome.

“We are privileged to partner with a global shipping leader such as Maersk. We are determined to harness local talent and Israel’s creative technologies to benefit the overall maritime sector,” said Carmeli. “We have no doubt of the win-win prospects for both Maersk as well as Israeli entrepreneurs.”

Cavotec books more orders for e-ferry unmanned mooring systems

Source: Cavotec books more orders for e-ferry unmanned mooring systems

APRIL 20, 2018 — Lugano, Switzerland, headquartered Cavotec SA is set to revolutionize the operation of e-vessels by delivering and maintaining its automated, unmanned, mooring system MoorMaster for e-ferry terminals across Norway.

The orders are worth approximately EUR 9 million (about $11 million), of which EUR 4 million was booked in the fourth quarter of 2017.

On completion of these projects, Cavotec will have equipped more than 40 e-ferry terminals in Scandinavia with MoorMaster systems.

“These projects demonstrate the unrivalled suitability of MoorMaster for e-ferry applications, and the importance of the technology for this rapidly growing segment in Norway and beyond,” says Gustavo Miller, President Ports and Maritime Division at Cavotec.

MoorMaster is ideal for e-ferry applications because the units keep vessels in pre-programmed positions to maximize the amount of time available to charge ship battery units. The technology also reduces overall CAPEX for operators, and delivers substantial operational and safety benefits, says Sofus Gedde-Dahl, Sales Director E-Ferries at Cavotec.

With a stated aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent, Norway has led the introduction of electrically powered and hybrid vessels. Cavotec has become a significant partner in this effort through its development of innovative automated charging interface and mooring technologies.

Cavotec systems have moored and charged the world’s first fully electric car ferry, the MF Ampere, since it entered service in 2015. Following the success of the MF Ampere application, Cavotec mooring and charging technologies have been introduced at a growing number of e-ferry berths in Norway, Finland, and Sweden.

To date, more than 260 MoorMaster units worldwide have performed some 330,000 moorings in applications worldwide.

“The rapid introduction of e-ferries in Norway has been the dominant driver for the wider adoption of MoorMaster in recent years, a development that we see being replicated in neighbouring markets such as Finland and Denmark,” says Gedde-Dahl.

Vopak to invest in new storage capacity at its Rotterdam terminal

Source: Vopak to invest in new storage capacity at its Rotterdam terminal

Vopak Rotterdam Botlek is investing in 63.000 cbm state-of-the-art stainless steel capacity (15 tanks) for the storage of Styrene and other hazardous chemicals.


Artist impression: Vopak

Styrene is a vital product used in manufacturing of a wide variety of consumer goods serving markets such as packaging, construction (for example isolation) and automotive.
The new infrastructure will be fully insulated to allow for product temperature control and is designed to prevent any emissions to the environment. The new storage capacity connects seaborne trade flows via barges, block-trains and trucks to the European hinterland.

River pilots eyeing more container ships, worrisome tariffs

Tariffs on imported steel products, a new container ship port north of Wilmington, and a significantly wider Panama Canal. All three could affect operations of the Pilots Association for the Bay and River Delaware, which has headquarters in Philadelphia and Lewes.

Often called river pilots, members of the association provide navigation services to all the shipping traffic on Delaware River and Bay. Their heritage goes back to the 1700s when Native American predecessors were employed by early European explorers to help captains navigate around shoals in the swift-currented waterways. Pilots, many of whom live in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, board inbound ships from launches that carry them out into the ocean past the point at Cape Henlopen. Outbound, they board at ports in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Capt. Jon Kemmerly took over as president of the association in the past year. He said in 2017 the pilots were involved in more than 7,000 ship movements on the bay and river. “We boarded 2,400 ships at the capes – that adds up to 4,800 trips because they all come back again. And the rest involve moving ships between ports and from the lightering operation at Big Stone Beach.”

He said a proposal by Gulftainer USA to partner with Delaware for operation of the Port of Wilmington, and to build a new, automated, $410 million container-ship facility at the former DuPont Edgemoor chemical facility on the Delaware River north of Wilmington, would be good for the piloting business and good for Delaware. The Gulftainer Group, according to the company’s website, is the largest independent, privately owned port operator in the world. The company operates 15 ports across four continents, including North America.

When Gov. John Carney announced the Gulftainer proposal in late April, he said royalties from joining forces with the company for operation of the Port of Wilmington and the Edgemoor facility, which the state bought a few years back, would bring at least $13 million per year to state coffers and provide hundreds of jobs.

“There are a myriad of groups looking at river development,” said Kemmerly. “But this is the most promising since the new Paulsboro, New Jersey terminal came on line a couple of years ago. We work hand in hand with all these groups.”

Assembly must approve proposal

Delaware’s General Assembly and port operators must still approve the agreement with Gulftainer. “There’s some concern because the company is based in the United Arab Emirates,” said Kemmerly. But, he said, that’s further evidence of the increasingly global community we all live in. The pilots deal with ships, captains and crew members from all over the world. “That’s our lives every day out on the river.”

Kemmerly said container ship traffic, which Gulftainer says would increase significantly if its proposal is approved, represents an increasing percentage of ship traffic. “It’s the future on the river,” he said.

Kemmerly said there is an under-capacity situation up and down the East Coast. “The main macro trend I see is the need to get more facilities for containers. The biggest knock to the port of New York City is the congestion of the city. It’s tough to get containers out of New York. That’s a big selling point for the ports of Philly and New Jersey. We have an accessible rail and highway system with much less congestion. Gulftainer sees that opportunity here.”

More container ships may eventually drive the need for more pilots and associated employees but Kemmerly doesn’t see that happening right away. “Ships are getting larger but there’s still only one pilot per ship. The increased tonnage of cargo might at one time have meant 10 more smaller ships. But now that’s one more larger ship.”

As ships have grown, the pilots have actually reduced their numbers. “We have about 30 fewer pilots than we had in the ’60s and ’70s when our numbers were up in the 90s. We have some new pilots in the pipeline right now, but it takes 10 years for a pilot to go from apprentice to full license for all ships.”

He said the Panama Canal widening project completed a few years ago has increased the size of container and other ships.

The canal’s dimensions previously limited ships to 106 feet at their beam by 800 or so feet of length. The new Panama Canal accommodates ships with beams of 161 feet and lengths of 1,200 feet. “We had a ship leave this week, the Shuba B, that is 1,038 feet long with a beam of 158 feet. The larger container ships we’re seeing are a direct result of the canal widening.”

When a dredging project deepening the Delaware River and Bay’s channel system to 45 feet is completed in 2019, that will also add to the attractiveness of ports on the river.

Steel tariffs large concern

While those are good signs for business, Kemmerly said there is concern about the potential impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel.

“We handle a lot of steel on ships. The tariffs could absolutely affect us because of less product coming in,” said Kemmerly. “The folks on the river who haul steel are actively involved in fighting the tariffs.”

Kemmerly said the pilots navigated at least 200 ships last year bringing imported steel into the country.

But the overarching concern for the pilots, in navigating the thousands of ships they do each year, Kemmerly said, is to do it safely for the environment, the ships and their crews. “We’re constantly aware of how many large ships we’re moving that close to the bottom and in close proximity to other ships. That’s our whole lives. That’s what we’ve trained for. With globalization and bigger ships, it’s an exciting time to be doing this job. I can’t imagine doing anything else. All I ever think about is that river.”

Source: River pilots eyeing more container ships, worrisome tariffs