Historically, port infrastructure has been designed to accommodate a certain size and type of vessel. However, with vessel sizes steadily rising, many have had to reassess and ultimately upgrade their infrastructure, and many are still in the process of doing so. Trelleborg’s (TMS) 2014 Barometer Report found that, when it comes to upgrading port infrastructure to accommodate larger vessels, 52% of people surveyed feel the industry is only keeping up reactively well. When the report was carried out in 2013, the majority of respondents believed that increasing vessel sizes meant ports would need to upgrade infrastructure. It’s clear that the new era of mega-ships brings with it a new set of challenges in the design of port infrastructure, and marine fenders are a key component in this evolution. Far from being the commodity products they have been perceived to be in the past, highly engineered solutions are required to berth this new breed of ship efficiently and safely. As vessels continue to grow larger and more diverse, so too do the demands on fenders.
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