On Wednesday, 4 December between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm, the final arc section of the future Theemsweg route steel bridge was lifted at Thomassen tunnel. The two arched bridges on the pre-construction site are ready to be transported by road to their position in the coming spring. This will take place in March for the bridge at Rozenburgsesluis and two months later for the bridge at Thomassentunnel. The consortium is using the interim period for further finishing and welding works, pouring concrete for the bridge columns, and the curing of the bridge bearing.
The bridge is an arched bridge with a span of 156.1 m and a total length, including ramps, of 269.1 m. This bridge will be in a prominent position from next year as, after the spring, traffic will be driving on the A15 beneath it. The total length of the other arched bridge at Rozenburgsesluis is 176.8 m. The construction of the Theemsweg route is still running entirely on schedule, and the first train is expected to run across this by the end of 2021.
Intelligent shipping, which involves the use of informationization and digital technologies, could well be the silver lining for the global shipping industry to stave off an industrial recession and the ideal conduit for China to become a global maritime power, said experts.
After reaching a peak in 2008, the global shipping market has been facing a torrid time due to the sluggish economic fundamentals. New regulations have made it mandatory for the shipping industry to reduce its carbon footprint, leading to steps like the 2020 sulfur cap, water ballast regulations and carbon emission reduction rules, said Martin Stopford, nonexecutive president of Clarkson Research.
New technology is now the buzzword in the shipping sector as companies are exploring the possibilities of using digital tech for ship design.
“The existing challenges confronted by the shipping industry like the sluggish market and shortage of crew are largely due to high global logistics costs. Science and technology helps companies to use intelligent shipping, especially for unmanned ship freight,” said Zhang Baochen, chairman of the academic committee at China Waterborne Transport Research Institute under the Ministry of Transport.
Zhang said the shipping industry is labor intensive and therefore crew reduction is seen as a viable solution to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Intelligent shipping, the highlight of the 20th Marintec China conference that ended on Friday in Shanghai, is a new shipping system created through the integration of traditional shipping and state-of-the-art technologies. Specifically, it includes five elements: intelligent ships, intelligent navigation support, intelligent ports, intelligent shipping services and intelligent shipping supervision.
Experts attending the event said autonomous maritime technologies will not only reduce operational costs, but also ensure shipping safety with fewer human errors and also avoid the exposure of people to dangerous situations.
In addition, unmanned autonomous tech enables disruptive operational scenarios, and can help further optimize the complete logistics chain.
To date, international organizations as well as major maritime nations and regions including the UK, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea have announced their plans for intelligent shipping. At the same time, technology is also developing rapidly across the world.
In China, COSCO Shipping Group started commercialization of the world’s first large smart container ship recently, said Sun Jiakang, director of the board at China COSCO Shipping Co Ltd.
A guideline to further develop intelligent shipping as a new business model was jointly released by seven government agencies including the Ministry of Transport and the National Development and Reform Commission, has stressed the deeper integration of advanced technologies with the shipping industry in late November, Xinhuanet reported.
According to the guideline, China aims to become a global shipping development and innovation center based on breakthroughs made in several key technologies by 2025.
By 2035, the shipping industry will see new business models featuring sufficient intelligence and a high-quality intelligent shipping system will be built by 2050.
“The next 15 years will be crucial for the development of intelligent shipping technologies,” said Zhang.
Intelligent shipping offers an opportunity for China to grow from a large shipping nation into a shipping power, he said.
The year 2020 is almost here and customer demands, import and export trends and trade tensions show no signs of slowing down. The new year presents both opportunities and challenges for players within the supply chain to increase productivity through maximizing resources or get left behind as competitors take over. There are layers of factors for global shippers to consider in determining the best approach in remaining both competitive, efficient, and to be honest, relevant. Major factors in consideration include IMO 2020, traffic increases and vessel sizing.
Looking at some statistics reveals an interesting picture of exactly what’s going on and what shippers can prepare for based on last year’s trends. According to the 2019 North American Ports Outlook report by Cushman & Wakefield, the intermodal traffic rates saw an increase by 5.5 percent, while 90 percent of internationally shipped dry, non-bulk manufactured goods are containerized. Oh yeah, automobile imports are on the rise also.
Data make clear that big ships can not only create competitive advantages but also recreate what modern competition looks like. Cushman & Wakefield’s report shows that 79 percent of the international containership supply is dominated by the 2M Alliance (Maersk and MSC), the Ocean Alliance (CMA CGM, COSCO and Evergreen) and THE Alliance (ONE, Hapag Lloyd and Yang Ming). Not only do these alliances carry a massive amount of clout among competitors globally, but they also boast massive container vessels.
COSCO Shipping Universe, for example, sits right at 21,237 TEU capacity at 400 meters x 58.6 meters. This massive vessel holds the title as the largest cargo ship in China and the fourth largest in the world. Additionally, this vessel comes with an added bonus to further charge its performance through the support of ABB Turbocharges that enable the vessel to travel at 22 nautical miles per hour.
“The ABB turbochargers on COSCO Shipping Universe will support maximum performance and fuel efficiency, in addition to contributing to COSCO Shipping Lines pursuing green shipping practices for long-term success,” stated Oliver Riemenschneider, managing director, ABB Turbocharging in a press release announcing the vessel’s delivery in June of 2018. “We foresee the ABB turbochargers on the forthcoming mega container ships in the Universe series will contribute similar viable operational gains.”
As the vessels get bigger and better, industry players can rightfully anticipate this as a major trend to keep an eye out for in 2020. Although increasing ship sizes supporting more capacity with fewer miles in between is a win-win, shippers must consider how this impacts the ports and their size capabilities and most importantly, their access to such ports. The North American Ports Outlook report states that orders for new vessels are being placed exceeding 22,000 TEUs and that East Coast ports are beginning to see more large ships. Furthermore, the Neopanamax Locks confirmed that as of just recently, it can handle over 14,000 TEU ships, but not by much. That’s not going to cut it for the big ships predicted in the near future.
MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. announced a successful Asia-to-Europe voyage for the MSC Gülsün ship. The 23,756 TEU vessel holds the title as the world’s largest container ship and adds a new level of quality with its advanced engineering focused on energy efficiency and reduced fuel consumption overall. The Gülsün is one of more than 10 ships to be added to MSC’s advanced fleet between 2019-2020, and it doesn’t stop there. The IMO-2020 ready vessel boasts a hybrid Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (UN IMO-approved, of course) paired with a low-Sulphur fuel and/or LNG adaptation option. Not only is this ship more than prepared for revolutionizing the approach to IMO standards, but it’s also making a big dent in operational efficiencies.
Evergreen also made news last year by confirming new vessels with up to 23,000 TEU capacity are being added to its fleet. Information released from numerous sources confirmed that five or more vessels with such TEU capacity were approved for order. These mega-ships will be built at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard and China State Shipbuilding Corp.with a price tag of roughly $1.6 billion. The order was placed back in September and current service estimation sits between 12-18 months, according to various reports.
Go ahead and add Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd to the list of super vessels to come. The Wall Street Journal reported that up to six ships with TEU capacity well over 20,000 were confirmed. Hapag Lloyd already boasts six vessels within the A 18 class with more than 19,000 TEU capacity. Overall, Hapag Lloyd boasts a total fleet TEU capacity of 1.7 million… and counting.
Even with these new massive ships on the horizon, it is hard to compare to the OOCL Hong Kong, the first of six in the G-class with a whopping 21,413 TEU capacity. One such ship went down in history as the world’s first to ever break the 21,000 TEU-capacity marks. Within months of this announcement, the OOCL Scandinavia, the OOCL Germanyand the OOCL United Kingdom–all with 21,4313 TEU capacity—were also announced and christened.
“While our industry seems to have the knack to ‘outdo’ one another in building larger containerships relatively quickly these days, this project is nonetheless an important moment for us,” stated OOCL Chairman C.C. Tung in the announcement. “Faced with increasing competition and un-ending pressure on costs, we need to take the bold step in operating larger size ships of quality and high efficiency in order to stay relevant and compete effectively as a major container shipping company.”
Tung concluded, after the OOCL Scandinavia reveal, “This achievement is about working to bring people and companies of different professions and nationalities together to reach new heights, innovate, solve complicated engineering problems, and along the way, why not break a world record, too.”
Although the OOCL Hong Kong has yet to be replaced, competitors are pushing the limits of capacity to break new records the shipping sector has yet to encounter. Maximizing the capacity limits the industry is currently used to paired with the IMO 2020 regulations and changes will undoubtedly filter the industry leaders. The real question remains: Who will set the bar even higher than what it is now and how will they do it?
Future ships will be built with integrated bridge equipment with larger multifunctional displays that can be configured for advanced ship handling. These next-generation integrated bridge systems were demonstrated in their development phase at the Europort exhibition in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in November 2019.
Hensoldt UK presented its Kelvin Hughes’ integrated navigation system, Manta NEO, with multifunctional screens for displaying electronic navigational charts (ENCs), radar, conning, propulsion control, alarm management and other functions.
Manta NEO was built around a new digital platform with a simplified graphical user interface, says Hensoldt UK director for cruise and special projects Kevin Robertson.
“We developed a completely new human-machine interface, starting from scratch and with our Sharpeye radar and Kelvin Hughes Manta NEO ECDIS,” he says.
“Our intent was to create a common structure across all integrated products within the platform.”
This is a secure Android-based platform with touchscreens for full integration to all existing navigation equipment and sensors.
“We have made better use of the screen area to show radar and the information provided by ECDIS,” Mr Robertson explains. “Manta NEO multifunction displays provide configurable access to all tasks critical to navigation – radar, ECDIS, conning and bridge alarm management, greatly improving situational awareness.”
Hensoldt will initially focus on offering Manta NEO to passenger shipping and megayachts. But there are plans to adapt this integrated navigation system for merchant shipping, including container ships, bulk carriers and tankers, says Hensoldt commercial marine systems area sales manager Per Christensen.
“We plan to get type approval in Q2 2020 and will launch a commercial product in Q3 2020,” he says.
Mr Christensen explains how Manta NEO could be equipped with touchscreens of 24 in, 27 in, 32 in and 43 in. Or with a 55 in touchscreen dedicated for voyage planning on a digital navigation table.
Inland shipping integrated bridge concept
Radio Zeeland has developed a new integrated bridge concept incorporating ECDIS, radar and an alarm monitoring package. The target market for this integrated navigation system is river shipping and cruise ships as this set up would suit compact wheelhouses.
The main features of this bridge concept are three 47-in screens in the centre. These can be split for displaying up to six applications simultaneously such as closed-circuit TV, sensor measurements, fuel monitoring, engine controls, bridge alerts, ENCs, radar and conning.
Radio Zeeland sales engineer Marga Adriaanse says a navigator can manage the display on these screens using controls on the operator chair. There are touchscreens, joysticks, propulsion control and a VHF radio within the operator’s chair.
“We are discussing whether there is an interest for newbuildings with inland shipowners,” says Ms Adriaanse, “as this concept bridge combines functions in one compact system in the wheelhouse of river cruise ships, tankers and cement carriers.”
This bridge concept was presented by distribution partner Radio Holland during Europort. Radio Holland also presented a new digital voyage planning table using a 55-in multi touchscreen from Hatteland.
Radio Holland service engineer Timo Heskes says this displays Furuno ECDIS and weather information for navigators.
“There is more information than on ENCs for creating routes,” he says. “There is integrated weather, navigation hazard and water depth information. There are different ECDIS options and operators can overlay radar images on these ENCs.”
Operators can also import electronic documents about ports and harbours and navigation safety updates for voyage planning and execution. There is two-way communication between ECDIS on the front of the bridge used for navigation and this planning table.
“If there is a change in route on the front-bridge ECDIS, this changes automatically on the chart table,” says Mr Heskes.
Navigation and docking combined
Also during Europort, Japan Radio Co subsidiary Alphatron Marine introduced its multifunctional information navigation and docking system, Alpha-MINDS. This is being developed to improve safety during ship berthing and reduce stress on navigators.
Alpha-MINDS uses JRC’s inhouse-developed software platform Lynx to deliver advanced docking information to bridge teams.
Graphical displays deliver information as selected add-ons to ECDIS for operational modes such as berthing or dredging operations or passing through busy shipping lanes.
Information is displayed on a 26-in touchscreen on the Alpha-MINDS console. This can include ENCs, camera images and high-accuracy GPS sensors for docking. Internal ECDIS can be upgraded with more advanced features.
JRC has also included voyage planning and reporting tool NeCST, which JRC developed with NYK Lines. This enables bridge teams to:
Share data with ships and offices via JRC’s J-Cloud.
Plan routes with an intuitive user interface.
Handwrite on an electronic chart and export to ECDIS.
Overlay weather and meteorological information.
Easily hand over to the next officer on duty.
Efficiently brief voyage and onboard tasks.
Other JRC equipment can feed information to Alpha-MINDS, including its JMA-5300 and JMR-5400 radar series. Alphatron said Alpha-MINDS would be suitable for vessels up to 10,000 gt.
Damen Shipyards Group introduced its new human machine interface (HMI) for tugs, offshore support vessels and other workboats at Europort. Damen sales manager Joost van der Weiden told Riviera Maritime Media these redesigned graphical user interfaces are included in the latest deliveries of tugs and support vessels to improve the information display for crew.
These HMIs were developed in partnership with VanBerlo and Praxis for bridge, engine control and switchboard rooms in close consultation with captains and chief engineers.
There are separate displays for vessel navigation, towage operations, engine and thruster controls, tank levels and winch operations which can be chosen depending on which crew member needs them.
Damen has developed an HMI nautical dashboard in the wheelhouse for captains to view heading, speed, fuel consumption and other alarms. There is an HMI technical dashboard for chief engineers that displays information on main engines, generator sets and thrusters.
There is also an HMI indicating information required for deck machinery control and a dashboard displaying vessels systems’ information, such as fuel tank levels, pressures and consumption rates.
Mr van der Weiden says remotely monitoring these operational parameters is also included in its newbuildings. “We can provide reports to owners demonstrating the average fuel consumption and systems temperatures,” he says. “They can then optimise their operations, reducing fuel consumption or change their maintenance requirements.”
Anglo-Eastern adopts smart voyage planning to reduce fuel costs
Shipmanagement group Anglo-Eastern has partnered with Wärtsilä to digitalise its fleet operations, improve navigation and engine performance.
It installed Wärtsilä Fleet Operations Solution (FOS) on a managed fleet of more than 600 vessels to support voyage planning and execution, fuel efficiency and engine performance monitoring.
Wärtsilä FOS integrates with a ship’s planning station and ECDIS for voyage planning and weather routeing. It incorporates cloud computing power, machine learning, data analytics, and onboard/onshore mobile applications.
This platform also enables ship-to-shore reporting and fleet performance management to reduce fuel consumption and vessel speed. FOS enables data flow for monitoring hull, propeller and engine condition.
“We are keen to leverage the advantages of the latest digital solutions to maximise the efficiency of our voyages and the performance of our fleet,” says Anglo-Eastern chief executive Bjorn Hojgaard. “We expect Wärtsilä FOS will further increase ship navigational safety, reduce crew workload, and improve fuel efficiency.”
Anglo-Eastern managing director of QHSE and training Capt Pradeep Chawla says adopting these smart marine technologies will “raise efficiencies, improve safety, and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping”. He adds, “we are excited to be bringing these benefits to the 600-vessel Anglo-Eastern fleet over the coming 12 months.”
Mitsui OSK and other Japanese shippers seek to remedy chronic crew shortages
November 28, 2019 03:45 JST
TOKYO — Japan’s SoftBank will work with compatriots including shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines on a fast maritime communications network that will open the door to remote-controlled ships.
The service will use a satellite constellation operated by U.K.-based OneWeb, which is roughly 50% owned by SoftBank. OneWeb anticipates speeds of 400 megabits per second — 100 times as fast as current maritime networks, which are a decade behind land-based telecommunications.
Such a sharp improvement in data speeds and capacity would make it more feasible to remotely pilot vessels from onshore stations. Crew requirements could be as much as halved depending on the type of ship — crucial for a shipping industry suffering from a worker shortage.
The project will be led by e5 Lab, a joint venture whose investors include Mitsui O.S.K., Asahi Tanker and trading house Mitsubishi Corp. The venture will provide antennas and software to shipping companies, while SoftBank will participate on the telecom side.
The companies expect to charge a monthly fee in the hundreds of dollars for use of the software. The plan is to supply receiving antennas to shippers around 2021, starting with all 5,000 or so of Japan’s coastal vessels.
The labor shortage in Japan’s shipping industry is set to only worsen in the coming years. Nearly half of the 28,000 people serving on Japanese coastal vessels are 50 or older, according to the transport ministry — a statistic that portends a dramatic drop over the next decade. And a growing number of graduates from schools that offer seafaring qualifications are opting for other jobs, according to a shipping industry insider.
With fully self-piloting vessels not expected to be operational until around 2025, remote operation can help fill the gap.
E5’s service will let vessels update their location once a second — compared with once per minute on current networks — and send and receive image data. This could allow for supplementary services, such as weather forecasts based on current weather and ocean conditions gleaned from satellite data.
OneWeb now has six satellites in orbit and plans to launch 30 to 60 a month starting in January, looking to make service available worldwide by 2022. E5 plans to expand its own service abroad in tandem with the satellite network.
The aim of the trial is to validate whether voyage data and vessel characteristics can be used to provide correct advice on berths. We shall also be assessing whether the skipper appreciates the advice provided. Running until the end of January 2020, the trial will include 500 port calls. If the trial proofs successful, the system could become a permanent feature within RiverGuide and other route planners.
Inland vessels visiting the port of Rotterdam sometimes have to wait a while before they are able to access a terminal and then look for a berth. Another reason why inland vessels need berths is so they can wait for a new cargo. A berth may also be necessary because a skipper is obliged to take a break due to the law covering sailing hours.
Port has 500 public berths
Spread throughout the port of Rotterdam, there are approximately 150 locations with a joint capacity of around 500 vessels. For some years, the Inland Shipping Berths Information System (BLIS) has been providing access to online information on whether or not berths are available. This functionality is also built into RiverGuide, the app for smooth, safe and smarter navigation, developed on behalf of the Port of Rotterdam Authority in association with eight other waterway authorities.
It has been shown that skippers regularly have to look for a place because their preferred public berths are either taken when they arrive or do not meet their requirements (e.g. the displaying of cones if dangerous substances are on board). It has also been shown that skippers do not always consult BLIS’s berthing function. We have also seen that in some areas of the port, there are rarely any vacant berths, whereas at other locations there is still plenty of available capacity. This causes unnecessary shipping movements and is therefore inefficient. The Port Authority is hoping that this trial will be able to help visiting inland vessels even more, by providing custom advice whenever possible.
For the first time, the ports of Antwerp, Barcelona, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Montreal and Rotterdam come together to showcase their most advanced digital transformation and sustainability projects at their dedicated ‘Smart Ports’ exhibit
The ‘Smart Ports. Piers of the Future’ event brought together six of the world’s largest ports and has turned Barcelona into the world capital of port innovation.
At the Smart City Expo World Congress, held from 19 to 21 November at the Fira de Barcelona events center on Gran Via, the ports of Antwerp, Barcelona, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Montreal and Rotterdam joined forces for the first time to set up their dedicated smart ports exhibit booth in which each port showcased the most advanced projects they are currently working on.
This first ever ‘Smart Ports’ event, that was extremely well attended, was an opportunity for participating ports to share their strategic plans to address present and future sustainable development and digital transformation challenges. This is what the representatives of each port had to say about the success of the event:
Piet Opstaele, Innovation Lead, Manager Innovation, Port of Antwerp: “The whole industry is facing challenges. Collaboration, like this worldwide network, is the key. Continuous investments and innovations are necessary to keep the edge. Therefore, the focus of Port of Antwerp for the future is on digital and energy transition. We ‘walk the talk’ by sustainably investing in the development of hard, digital infrastructure and processes in view of building the port of the future.”
“As community builder we aim to be pioneer smoothening the path for innovation while investing in those areas in which the market has not developed yet. In these turbulent times it is our mission to act as a lever for stakeholders that spot innovative opportunities. Therefore, we strive to be an open innovative platform that allows new technologies to be introduced. Innovation with a purpose,” Opstaele added.
“The ‘Smart Ports’ conference made it clear that the digital transformation is leading to a data rich environment that can benefit every link in the maritime supply chain,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “In collaboration with other forward-thinking ports, we envision leading the way in securely using big data to improve the reliability, predictability and efficiency of seaborne trade. We thank and congratulate Port of Barcelona President Mercè Conesa i Pagès, Deputy General Manager Santiago Mila and the entire conference team for hosting such a well-organized and insightful event.”
“It is important to come together as an industry to demonstrate how ports are contributing positively to maintain a sustainable balance with their respective surrounding cities by leveraging digital solutions”, said Daniel Olivier, Director, Business Intelligence and Innovation at the Port of Montreal. “That’s why the Port of Montreal is acting as a North American leader in smart solutions in harbor trucking among other initiatives.”
In het regeerakkoord dat de Vlaams nationalistische N-VA, de christen-democratische CD&V en de liberale Open VLD deze week hebben gesloten, staat het voorzichtig geformuleerd: ‘Samen met de loodsen worden de voorwaarden onderzocht waaronder de dienst afzonderlijk beheer loodswezen kan evolueren naar een bedrijfsstructuur in eigen beheer van de loodsen’.
Sven De Ridder, voorzitter van de Beroepsvereniging van Loodsen, de organisatie van Vlaamse rivier- en kanaalloodsen, reageert niet direct afwijzend. ,,We wachten de eerste stap van de Vlaamse regering af en zullen dan eerst de voorwaarden onze algemene ledenvergadering voorleggen.”
Het voorstel tot verzelfstandiging komt niet uit de lucht vallen. Vlaamse loodsen willen nogal eens tot actie overgaan, als hen iets niet zint, dit tot grote ergernis van de Antwerpse haven. Als de loodsen baas in eigen huis zijn, zullen zij wellicht minder snel geneigd zijn naar het stakingswapen te grijpen. Een lastige operatie zal het zeker worden. In Vlaanderen bestaat nog een groot verschil tussen enerzijds zeeloodsen en anderzijds rivier- en kanaalloodsen.
Het Nederlands loodswezen is al veertig jaar geleden verzelfstandigd. In eerste instantie voelden met name loodsen in het Westerschelde-gebied daar weinig voor. De ervaringen zijn sinds 1989 overwegend positief, ondanks dat later nogal wat financiële plooien moesten worden gladgestreken, vooral op het gebied van pensioenregelingen.
Rotterdam – The port of Rotterdam has introduced a new online tool for reserving berths. “The agent simply has to enter the date of arrival, the duration of the stay, the name and length of the ship in the system, after which he or she is automatically provided with an overview of the available buoys and dolphins,” explained Port of Rotterdam’s ship to ship operation business manager Amanda de Bruine.
“This reduces the risk of vessels losing cargo during heavy weather, for example. And it facilitates quick and efficient loading, unloading and bunkering,” said de Bruine.
Named KING 3.0, the new system, says de Bruine, is comparable “to picking a hotel on a booking site, and it’s just as accessible in terms of ease of use.” Another advantage “is that it makes the planning process far more efficient. In the old set-up, agents couldn’t enter their own bookings – which occasionally resulted in ships having to queue up before they could be processed.”
With a total of 29 berths with buoys and dolphins out on the water, spread across multiple locations – from Maasvlakte to Dordrecht – the port of Rotterdam is a unique facility.