Enabling Efficient Tanker Operations

Most of the debate associated to port-call coordination and optimization is related to container transport. As the nature of non-container port-calls differs, the characteristics of non-container segments need to be understood. The tanker industry largely offers a tramp service (like a taxi) with fixed, semi-fixed or unfixed routes without a pre-fixed timetable like in a liner service (like a bus).

This means unknown or unpredictable port visits until a freight contract is made by traders who decide load date and destinations depending on factors like oil prices. Due to fluctuations in prices and availability, there are often last-day changes of schedule which put pressure for port-call actors and resources to respond on time and create financial & environmental benefits to all involved.

We Are Smarter But Are We Safer?

Captain Richard W A Brough takes a closer look at the safety of port operations in an age of increasing technological development.

At CTAC 2018, I told the audience that for a port or terminal to fulfil its needs and be futureproof it needed 5 things all beginning
with “S”. That is to be ‘Safe’, ‘Smart’ (and there is much focus on this at the moment), ‘Secure’, ‘Sustainable’, and ‘Skilled’.

At present, IoT is connecting billions of sensors, pieces of machinery and data points, and that means there are billions of opportunities for cyber-attackers. On top of that, the physical security of goods and data is just as important.

In an ever-changing world of energy efficiency, reductions in GHGs and so forth, we need to be sustainable and move ever closer to zero emissions and the circular economy.

Many ports and terminals will also be focussed on financial stability as investment decisions become ever more complex.

A Path Towards Zero Emission Maritime Shipping

In this paper, Senior Researcher Bryan Comer assesses the moves being made by the shipping industry to become more sustainable. 

Emissions from the international maritime shipping sector were not explicitly included in the 2015 Paris Agreement, leaving the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop its own climate strategy.

About this time last year, IMO member states adopted an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy that aims to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping to at least 50% below 2008 levels by 2050, with a vision to completely eliminate them as soon as possible this century.

Eight months later, Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, announced its intention to achieve ‘net’ zero emissions by 2050 – holding open the possibility for using biofuels (which may not be emission-free during their lifecycle), but clarifying that they will get to ‘net zero’ without buying carbon offsets, which have a poor track record of delivering real-world reductions.

As governments and industry set a course for decarbonization, how do we get there?

A Fresh Look at Shore Power: The Benefits for Containerships

Mark Sisson highlights the increasing amount of focus on ship emissions in today's industry, and the options available to operators in a more environment-conscious age.

In the first few decades after the Ideal X ushered in the container shipping age with its first voyage in 1956, emissions from ships and container terminals were not a big concern.

This began to change in the 1990s and early 2000s, as evidence mounted that communities living near container terminals were breathing in air that contained far more pollutants than the regional averages.

In 2002, the Port of Los Angeles lost a lawsuit for lack of mitigation measures regarding the expanded China Shipping Terminal. As a result of this event, the shore power era for containerships was born.

Emissions typically fall into two broad categories: greenhouse gas or local health risk. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emission.

Russian LNG facilities: an emerging Baltic infrastructure

Proliferation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) has recently been celebrated for two reasons. Firstly, its flexible logistics allows diversification of gas supply sources, and what with the escalation of political tensions between the EU and Russia – prompted by the Ukrainian crisis – the issue of energy independency has become particular relevant, as has the desire for gas supply diversification in the BSR.

Since LNG takes up only about 1/600th the volume of natural gas, greater volumes can be stored at smaller facilities and delivered on-demand by ship, truck or train. Therefore LNG is conceived as an ‘ideal candidate’ to improve European energy security.

Secondly, used as a bunker fuel, LNG significantly reduces SOx, NOx and PM emissions in shipping exhaust fumes, making it an attractive compliance option for operating in the Baltic sulphur emission control area (SECA). Due to a diversity of potential uses (including maritime) and environmental characteristics superior to oil-based energy sources, natural gas has been envisaged as a primary means to succeed in one of the most prominent contemporary challenges: energy transition.

LNG facilities in the BSR

The availability of LNG in the BSR has been limited due to the absence of adequate import infrastructure. Sweden’s (and the Baltic’s) first LNG terminal in Nynäshamn was opened in 2011, and in Autumn, 2014 import terminals in Klaipeda (Lithuania) and Lysekil (Sweden) followed. Now we observe a boom in LNG facility construction…

Free Paper: The Operational Philosophy of Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a port of pioneers. It always has been. It has a long tradition of applying ground-breaking technologies and processes. From the 'crazy' plan of Pieter Caland in 1862 to construct the New Waterway, to the high tech Euromax Terminal and the world-leading information exchange system Portbase. Innovation flows through the Port of Rotterdam like the water of the New Meuse which runs through the city.

Innovation has done us well. The port has grown to become the largest in Europe with an annual transhipment of some 450 million tonnes per annum and nearly 30,000 vessels mooring per year. This is the result of the constant effort to find how things can be done more efficiently, better and more sustainably. We want to stay ahead of the pack and be able to make a difference; this is why Rotterdam remains the ‘smartest’ port in the world.

Family, friends and future

Recently, we started 'The Smartest Port’; a robust, cohesive, border-expanding programme. Through The Smartest Port we facilitate, initiate and spur on innovation, together with businesses and knowledge institutions. Besides that, we want to ramp up innovation within our own Port Authority; therefore the programme has three mainstays: family, friends and future.

Innovation Forum

Through our ‘family’ initiative we innovate together with companies that are based at the Port of Rotterdam. The most concrete part…

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The New Era of Mega-Ports

Ports have been ever-present throughout human civilisation, yet only in recent times have we witnessed the emergence of mega-ports. Mega-ports can be considered truly indispensable nodes of the current globalised economic system. But what are mega-ports, who needs them, how does a port become one of them, and should we be glad about them; these are the questions that this paper seeks to address.

What is a mega-port?

There are three dimensions to a megaport: the cargo volume it handles, the economic value it represents, and the land and water surface it utilises. Therefore, a mega-port can be ‘mega’ because of large throughput, economic force or sheer physical size. These dimensions can go together, but do not necessarily. For example, there are ports that handle a lot of cargo but do not generate that much economic value, because they do not have trade clusters (such as Singapore), industrial estates (such as Rotterdam) or thriving waterfronts (such as Barcelona) connected to the port. A mega-port has the power to contribute up to a third of a regional economy. There is a large variety in the size of port areas; some ports have large logistical and industrial areas integrated in or connected to a port, and some mega-ports take up to a third of the land surface of the city they are serving. I would suggest that only the ports that combine these three characteristics could be considered true mega-ports…

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Silo fires: preparation for the safe handling of biomass

In the last few years there has been a huge increase in the amount of biomass handled at ports and terminals. This has involved many large new handling and storage facilities,
most of which incorporate large silos. A relatively common problem has been fire. This article looks at how to be prepared for when a fire strikes in a biomass facility.

Self-heating and fire

This is one of the biggest challenges that has caused major incidents and losses at biomass handling terminals. The principles of self-heating are fairly well known – either direct oxidation (reaction of the particle surfaces with interstitial air) or biological action producing heat. Very different rates of self heating have been found, from a few hours in the case
of moist materials with high starch and oil like spent brewer’s grain, to months for dry lingo-cellulosic materials such as wood pellets. The period depends on the size of the store volume as well as the material; large stores self-heat faster than small ones.

The established ‘basket test’ for self-heating rate has been extensively used but experience has shown this to be unpredictable in its accuracy. In particular regard to wood pellets,
newer pellets are a greater hazard, and mixing of batches also appears to increase the danger for reasons not well understood.

Fighting a silo fire

Quite a few silo fires have occurred and the level of success in fighting these has been variable. In many instances the silo and its contents have been a total loss. The value of inert gas in…

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Ports and the energy transition

The petro-chemical sector and the port sector are closely interlinked. Oil and oil products are important commodities for ports and many of the largest ports have reserved considerable parts of their port area for the petro-chemical industry. Refineries and storage facilities are located in or next to some of the world’s largest ports, such as in Singapore, Rotterdam and Houston.

Global oil sector

A global restructuring of the industry is ongoing. Refineries are increasingly located in oil-producing countries and refineries close to consumer markets are being rationalised. Refineries in OECD countries have to deal with overcapacity and competition from other parts of the world where energy costs are lower. Ports are impacted by these developments. Refineries in many port areas have closed in ports such as Rotterdam, Marseille and Milford Haven.

This is a trend that will continue. According to the World Energy Outlook 2035 of the International Energy Agency (IEA) refineries will be confronted with a complex set of challenges, with nearly 10 million barrels per day of global refinery capacity are at risk, with refineries in the OECD countries, and Europe in particular, among the most vulnerable.
This restructuring of the industry has clear economic impacts on port regions. Our analysis of ports in North-West Europe indicates that the economic linkages between the petro-chemical sector and ports are stronger than the linkages of any other sector, as illustrated by the inter-industry linkages apparent from multi-regional input-output analyses that
we have undertaken for various countries. In some ports, the petro-chemical cluster provides strong cluster effects with many industrial interlinkages within a port region. Therefore, a lot of economic value has been added and jobs are at risk from…

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Training seafarers: nautical studies for the development of LNG terminals

LNG operations at ports are made viable by the interaction of three main factors:

• The vessel (with propulsion and steering characteristics, capacity, onboard equipment, sensitivity to environmental agents, etcetera)

• The physical environment (vertical and horizontal dimensions of fairways and basins, meteorological and maritime conditions)

• The human factor (masters and officers, pilots, tug masters, VTS operators)

Therefore, in the design process of port infrastructure, or in definition of operational conditions, all three elements must be taken into account. It will only be possible to reach an adequate safety and operability level if all three factors are integrated. Nowadays, advanced simulation tools are available and allow for a precise assessment of these aspects.
Among them there are moored ship dynamic models, ship-to-ship interaction models, traffic flow simulation models, and real-time manoeuvring simulators.

Terminal design

The design of an LNG …

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