Simulation Proves ULCV Safety at NY-NJ Ports


A state-of-the-art computer simulation has confirmed that both new classes of ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) – those handling 14,000 and 18,000 TEUS — can safely navigate the Port of New York and New Jersey (NY-NJ).

Critical components for the transits will be communication and coordination among the various port stakeholders, said officials in the Port Department of the Port Authority of NY and NJ.

Members of the Port Authority’s Port Department are planning to establish a working group to develop a set of procedures and protocols that all port constituents will be asked to agree with in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of all waterside activities.

The simulations also established some important parameters for the handling of ULCVs at the Port of NY and NJ. For example, there will be limitations on which part of the tidal cycle these vessels can transit, as well as speed, visibility and maximum wind conditions.

Simulations were conducted in two phases during the second half of 2016 at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Linthicum Heights, Maryland.

The MITAGS simulators are capable of providing the most realistic presentation in the world as the theatre projection area is more than 24 meters wide and 12 meters high. This provides unsurpassed depth perception and visual accuracy.

A full mission ship simulator was operated by pilots from the Sandy Hook Pilots Association, Metro Pilots, and McAllister Harbor Pilots and integrated with one assist-tug simulator operated by an experienced tug master. Additional tugs were operated from the console. The finidngs, shown below, can be found in a full publication from the Port of NY and NJ.


The port’s major stakeholders – specifically a partnership between the NJ Office of Maritime Resources, New York Shipping Association (NYSA), and the port’s three vessel pilot organisations — felt it was vital to conduct a full-mission ship simulation study to identify best practices for the safe and efficient handling of ULCV transits to the port’s major container terminals.

Simulations factored in the new controlling depth of 50 feet for the port’s major navigation channels and the new working height of the Bayonne Bridge once the Port Authority of NY and NJ completes its 'Raise the Roadway' Program in 2017.

APM Terminals is increasing its Port Elizabeth investment plans from US$70 million to $200 million in preparation for ultra large container ships (ULCSs).

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