Beyond the Mega-Ship Revolution

Mega-ships are not new to the container shipping industry however this year saw records broken with the largest vessels ever to take to the seas entering the global fleet.

The events of 2020 have not discouraged carriers from investing in mega-ships and many have been inaugurated throughout the year. South Korean container shipping line HMM completed its fleet of mega-ships with the unveiling of the 24,000 TEU HMM St Petersburg in September, with the HMM Algeciras first of the new Algeciras-class taking to the ocean in April. Meanwhile, CMA CGM launched the first of 26 new generation Liquified Natural Gas (LNG)-powered conatinerships, the CMA CGM Jacques Saade. The first nine of the fleet will have a capacity of 23,000 TEU, the rest of the LNG-powered vessels will be of various
sizes and join the fleet by 2022.

It was feared that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could quash carrier’s appetite for these larger vessels and while it may be the case that large orders are being put on hold temporarily, these 20,000+ TEU vessels will continue to be brought into the fleet well into the future.

In this edition of the Journal we explore why these mega-ships are so appealing to the container trade and the economic viability of vessels larger than those we see today.

With these vessels visiting ports the Journal also looks at the impact that such large volumes of containers arriving at once has on port operations and the infrastructural considerations ports must take to accept the biggest vessels.

In addition, Navis provides experienced insight into both berth planning and vessel planning and how predictive visibility can support expert users to make better decisions. Planning for the future with the use of data at container terminals is key to improving operations as well as managing costs.
Finally, Kuenz explores automated equipment and its use in the hinterland at intermodal terminals.

Next-Generation Terminal Technology

Port and container terminals’ primary job is to move containers from ship to port and beyond as they keep the supply chain moving. Growing demand has seen many ports experiencing a surge in container throughput with many having experienced record-breaking months, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

To stay up to date and ahead of the competition, ports across the globe are implementing digital solutions to ensure container handling operations are kept reliable. This includes tracking the movement of containers, digital documentation and inspection for damage.

In this edition of the Journal the Port of Antwerp provides an example of how it is turning to a digital solution for the release of containers, ultimately saving time in the movement of containers through the port.

Meanwhile, the Red Sea Gateway Terminal is using its long-term investment of $1.7 billion to upgrade container handling and yard infrastructure, among other things, as it looks to its TEU throughput growing to 8.8 million TEU.

The demand on ports has led to suppliers and vendors creating new solutions to enhance container handling operations. In this edition ScanTainr talks about the issues surrounding container damage as containers are moved multiple times throughout their journey and how AI can help identify damage in a more efficient way, reducing both financial and time costs.

The physical movement of containers is also a key consideration and EagleRail offers up its solution of a monorail track with electrified carriers to safely move containerised cargo.

At the very beginning of all these types of projects is an innovative idea, a new concept or a solution to a problem and the Port of Tyne is looking to generate such ideas through its innovation hub which celebrated its first anniversary in 2020.

100th Edition

First established in 1995, the Port Technology International (PTI) Journal continues to inform and educate as well as analysing the biggest trends in the ports and terminals industry. The PTI team and I are delighted to present to our readers the landmark 100th Edition of the Journal.

This issue will see us explore the industry into three sections: ports in focus, thought leadership and tackling the issues of today and the future.

PTI would like to thank those who have supported this special edition of the journal: ABB, Aidrivers, Boxbay, Connectainer, HPC Hamburg Port Consulting, Inform, the Port of Rotterdam, the Port of Barcelona, Rajant and Solvo.

We look forward to continuing to support the ports and terminal sector for another 25 years as a media outlet to share ideas, experiences and developments.

If you are not yet a subscriber you can view the 100th Edition for a limited time via this link.

A New Era of Port Planning

As the industry emerges from what everyone hopes is the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, this edition of the e-Journal explores how port planning has been affected and how this will shape the future of port operations.

This includes the growing popularity of digital technologies to mitigate challenges to logistics and trade.

PTI also explores reefer shipping, one sector that is continuing to see growth throughout a period of significant downturn for the export and demand for consumer goods has otherwise been.

Finally, Inform delves into how a port’s legacy system can be upgraded, enhanced and made fit for purpose with a simple ‘how-to guide’ the software company has developed.

Automation Innovations

As we enter the second half of 2020 the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are now being realised across the global economy and the port industry.

For many, cargo throughput has been significantly decreasing compared with the same period for 2019.

For example, the Port of Los Angeles handled 581,665 TEUs in May, a 29.8% decrease compared to 2019’s record-setting volume for the same period. According to the Port’s Executive director, Gene Seroka, it was “the slowest May since the great recession of 2009” for the US’ biggest port.

Meanwhile, in Spain cargo throughput fell by 10%, a total of 4.9 million tons, in April 2020 compared with 2019 and other European nations have been hit with similar downfalls.

However, despite these challenges the industry continues to evolve and innovate, not just to stay afloat but also to stay ahead of the competition.

In this edition of the e-Journal CSP Spain and Prodevelop explore how to successfully deploy a new TOS with the Cosco Shipping Ports Iberian Valencia Terminal currently in the process of migrating its existing TOS a new TOS.

The Algeciras Port Authority explores how container terminals can adapt to what many are calling the ‘New Normal’. During this time, the Port Authority is continuing to innovate and has been working in partnership with Prodevelop on the development of a Port Collaborative Decision-Making product (Posidonia PortCDM) that aims to optimize Port Calls.

This e-Journal also explores how best to automate the transportation of containers by rail and beyond the port. Now more than ever the entire supply chain has become key to keeping nations and economies running in the face of crisis.

Strengthening the Supply Chain

The supply chain is evolving, and the current COVID-19 pandemic is putting it under more pressure than it ever has been before.

It is therefore imperative that ports and the entire logistics chain is as efficient and flexible as it can possibly be.

One thing that many within the port and maritime industry have agreed upon is that this crisis will accelerate the adoption of new technologies throughout the supply chain.

Blockchain for instance has been touted as a key technology that could fix the disconnect that has been revealed because of the COVID-19 crisis, this according to the World Economic Forum.

The opportunity for innovation now extends beyond the port and in this e-Journal we explore how rail can play its part in meeting new customer demands, what TradeLens can offer the likes of the mega supply chain in India, and how the Port of Rotterdam leads the way in connecting ports across the globe.

In addition, A.P. Moeller-Maersk provides an evaluation of how its Intercontinental Rail Service is providing customers another logistics platform for the movement of freight beyond the port.

Connecting Ports With 5G

The fifth generation of wireless communications is coming. Known as 5G it is set to reshape our relationship with wireless connectivity. While 5G continues to make headlines for average consumers, from an industry perspective ports and terminals are now exploring how 5G can help enhance operations.

With a rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous equipment and other exponential technologies 5G will surely have an impact on operational prosperity at ports.

The use of 5G will allow ports to be more connected than ever and can find use cases across a number of terminals within the ports from RoRo to cruise.

This edition of the eJournal explores 5G and wireless connectivity within the port.

We also explore automation and other exponential technologies that are vital for any modern port going forward.

Automation’s Next Step

This edition of The Journal considers automation of container terminals and how the industry is delivering the next steps towards full and semi-automation.

With the inclusion of 28 brand new technical papers The Journal also explores terminal planning in the age of automation, environmental sustainability for ports, the impact of mega ships and other topics.

Automation continues to drive innovation across several industries, and there is no greater example of this than maritime.

However, implementation, technology and best practices continue to be a constant source of debate and analysis across the sector, as is shown in this edition of the PTI Journal.

The automation debate is not new, but it remains a booming market and a source of growth for the wider container terminal industry.

One thing is for certain, automation is here to stay.

E-commerce Evolution

The latest eJournal explores the E-commerce Evolution and how the likes of Amazon, eBay and Alibaba are changing the landscape of the logistics supply chain.

The eJournal looks at terminal planning in the ‘Age of Amazon’ and how the supply chain is meeting the growing demand for one day delivery.

INFORM provides insight into how new business models may be needed to cope with the demand e-commerce is placing on technology developments.

The E-commerce Evolution is discussed in depth further by thought leaders from the port and shipping industry and how the supply chain is dealing with the fast-paced changes.

Finally, CargoX explores how e-commerce, the supply chain and blockchain go hand-in-hand.

A Sustainable Future

One topic that will define the 2020s is climate change. Already this year we have seen the wealthiest people on the planet descend on Davos, Switzerland, to discuss climate change and the risks it poses for the global economy.

The World Economic Forum has, for the first time, included climate change in the ‘top five risks by likelihood’ in its Global Risk Report.

But what does that mean for the maritime industry, in particular ports? Global shipping is often cited as one of the worst industries for pollution, alongside aviation, however a concerted effort is being made by regulatory bodies to reduce harmful emissions produced by ships.

This edition explores these topics.