Battery Powered Container Ships: It’s Time to Get Serious

For small vessels such as ferries the battery age is already here with multiple boats running on battery electric power such as those witnessed in Norway. Battery powered containerships will begin at the small end of the scale, with projects such as the ‘Portliner’ electric inland barge in the Netherlands, and the Yara Birkeland project for dedicated factory-to-port shuttle runs in Norway using a vessel of 120 TEU capacity. This paper focuses on the other end of the size scale and investigates the possibilities to run large container ships via battery electric power.

One of the key complaints regarding the use of batteries from designers of cars, trucks, and especially aircraft , is that they are too heavy. Fortunately, when compared to other vehicles types that are currently working towards battery electric fleet deployment such as drayage…

The Purpose of VTS: Efficiency, Safety and Environmental Protection

After World War II the rebuilding of Europe rapid progress in shipping. The industrial demands for raw materials grew and the requirements on the supply chain to be efficient and reliable grew as well. One of the obstacles to be overcome was as ancient as earth: fog.

Traditionally, navigating in and out of ports was suspended in fog and vessels anchored nearby until visibility improved. This would often lead to congested logistic chains. It became clear that the and experts believed the solution was radar.   

The big challenge was radar’s costs,   but what if the burden could be placed on the shore side? What if the port could provide their pilots with radar stations that could be used to pilot all vessels calling at the particular port?

BOXBAY: The Future is Vertical

Port Technology is pleased to release an exclusive technical paper from the brains behind the new 'high bay' terminal planned by DP World and SMS Group. 

The paper offers an analysis of the composition of the terminal, as well as outlining how it can drive the industry forward by meeting future demands. 

DP World and SMS Group have teamed up to form a joint company 'BOXBAY', which is the driving force behind the innovation. 

The paper is authored by Mathias Dobner (BOXBAY), Volker Brück (SMS Group/AMOVA), Ronald van der Meer (DP World), Patrick Bol (DP World), who state: “We believe container handling technology is set to take a huge leap forward thanks to BOXBAY, an international joint venture formed by global trade enabler DP World and industrial engineering specialist SMS group.

“BOXBAY has been created to offer new solutions for container storing and handling through its High Bay Storage (HBS) system – a disruptive new technology that significantly improves operations at container terminals. Instead of stacking containers directly on top of each other, which has been global standard practice for decades, BOXBAY places each container in an individual rack, making each one directly accessible.”

The edition forms part of PTI's upcoming CTAC Edition, which is being published in line with PTI's upcoming CTAC Event. 

Maximizing Port Safety: Mission Critical Communications

Author’s note: Emerging trends in the global maritime transport industry are creating new risks for ports; this paper explains how mission-critical communication is helping to mitigate these risks, increase competitiveness and ensure safe, efficient and secure port operations.

The trend towards increasing the scale of operations is affecting ports worldwide, with mega-ships’ capacities exceeding 14,000 TEUs driving the requirement for port expansions covering vast areas, with massive infrastructure and machinery. With workers often dispersed over large distances in potentially hazardous environments, and mega-ships, which are calling at ports less frequently with larger volumes, generating surges and extreme peak pressure on port operations, gate congestion is becoming a key challenge…

Automated Mooring For Stabilizing Megaships

As the number of large and super-large container vessels in service grows, port authorities are scrambling to service these vast ships in ways that are safer and more profitable. Wider application of automated technologies is increasingly being applied to mooring – an area that has remained unchanged for thousands of years.

Ports that have introduced automated mooring are realising considerable operational and safety benefits. Automated mooring technology MoorMaster is being used in new applications helping container ports to optimise the management of mega-container vessels. Every year, ship and shore-side personnel sustain severe injuries, some of which are fatal, during conventional mooring operations.

With conventional mooring, the larger the vessel, the larger the number of mooring lines required to hold the vessel in position. The more lines you have, the greater the risk of serious injury to personnel, and the greater the risk of damage to equipment.

Using the technology can reduce the risk of mooring accidents as personnel are removed from hazardous working areas, and mooring lines are removed from the mooring process altogether. Vacuum-based automated mooring technology replaces the conventional mooring lines. Remote-controlled vacuum pads recessed in, or mounted on the quayside or pontoons, moor and release vessels within 30 seconds. To date, the technology has performed more than 310,000 mooring operations at applications worldwide including the ports of Beirut, Salalah and Ngqura. 

ABP: Keeping Mega-Ships On Course

Ultra Large Container Ships (ULCS) have become an increasingly familiar – and spectacular – sight around the UK’s coast as vessels continue to grow in size. When one of these mega-ships, the MSC Maya, made her maiden call at Southampton recently she became largest containership to visit the port so far at 19,224 TEU and 395.4 metres in length.

Mega-ships now represent well over half of the business at the new US$158 million SCT 5 berth operated by DP World at Associated British Port’s (ABP) Port of Southampton. Southampton is not alone as ports worldwide see the impact of the rapid acceleration in the number and size of mega-ships but it provides a good example of how best to handle the challenges and opportunities these super vessels bring.


Economies of scale in such areas as fuel and crew may allow shipping lines to transport more cargo at less cost on mega-ships but that is only half of the equation. A new breed of ‘mega-ports’ not only need to be able to attract and accommodate megaships, they also have to be able to deliver a swift and seamless service when these vessels arrive.

The SCT 5 berth at Southampton, which opened in March 2014, is 500 metres long with a depth of 16 metres, and the potential for 17 metre draughts. It was purpose-built to handle the world’s largest ships, predominately from Asia and the Far East, such as the MSC Oscar class, among which includes the MSC Maya mentioned above, and Maersk’s Triple E-class vessels. The terminal now welcomes at least…

The Electric Future of Transportation

Recently, nearly 200 nations adopted an historical climate agreement at the COP21 conference in Paris. The agreement aims to help the world abandon fossil fuels this century and move toward cleaner ecological sources of energy expeditiously.

A greener energy mix means an increase in the integration of decarbonised sources of energy in the contemporary age, which is directly linked to an increase in the use of electricity as the source of energy for more and more applications. In other words, switching coal-based or fuel-based applications such as heating, cooling or transport to power from renewable energy sources will lead to an increase in electricity consumption, an increase that will, ironically, mean a more efficient and sustainable use of energy. Therefore, proper KPIs need to be established to correctly measure and encourage the progress of this key transition in the world economy.


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This global electrification trend is directly impacting the maritime transportation despite the fact that this industry was excluded from the scope of the COP21 climate conference agreement. The future fuel for transportation is electricity, not only for road transportation, but also for the shipping industry. Initiatives are flourishing to promote and incentivise the switching over to electricity for vessels when docked, a reality today thanks to the current maturity of shore side electricity solutions and standardisation. While vessels are sailing, the technology is not yet available for the necessary batteries to have electricity as their only source of energy. However, a few limited pilot projects are progressing nicely on the use of battery-powered small ferries on short-distance lakes or fluvial itineraries in the North of Europe.
In summary, the electrification of maritime transport,

Whitepaper: Container Weighing Explained

There are now less than six months remaining before the implementation of the amended Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) rules requiring that any container to be loaded onto a vessel to which these regulations apply, must have its gross mass determined in advance through weighing – there are no exceptions. While the onus is upon the shipper to fulfil this obligation, the most practical location at which weighing can take place is at the ports and terminals, where lifting is a part of the existing cargo handling process. Two years ago in a previous white paper Strainstall set out the technology options, costs and opportunities for container verified gross mass (VGM) determination, as a contribution to the debate on the impending regulation. With the rules now confirmed and just months remaining before the 1 July 2016 deadline for compliance, we now offer our views on the options for fast, cost-effective and accurate compliance.

In developing the new 2016 SOLAS amendment on container VGM determination, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has kept things simple. From 1 July 2016 onwards, in order to protect the safety of ships, workers both on board and ashore involved in the handling of cargoes, and overall safety at sea, the verified gross mass of any packed container must be declared prior to stowage on board the vessel. This is not an optional requirement or an indication of best practice, but rather a legal obligation for all vessels affected by SOLAS regulations visiting any port in any IMO member state



Bollard Safety Innovation for Ports and Terminals

Jeff Main, Managing Director of PTI Preferred Partner BLT, makes a convincing case for the testing of bollards in ports. As the size of ships increases, so do the dangers, unless bollards are correctly monitored:

An oft overlooked area when it comes to the safe mooring of vessels in ports, shipyards and harbours is testing the safe working load (SWL) of bollards. With the size of vessels ever-increasing, the time has come to focus and raise the issues that have been experienced with bollard failure, as well as the challenges faced in testing the SWL of bollards.

This article aims to raise awareness to a significant contemporary problem and the certain increasing future problems that have been identified with relevant people in the marine industry through ongoing research and discussions. Information of a Patent Pending innovative product and method of testing bollards has been provided, and for the first time, we can recommend a practical, cost-effective and easy-to-use solution to test the safe working load of marine bollards.

The problem

Bollards and fixings may suffer from corrosion, fatigue and other effects which may weaken the bollard or supporting structure over a period of time. Such damage may not be immediately apparent and may have serious consequences on the ability of a bollard to withstand the force being exerted upon it. Bollards are anticipated to have a long life, with many being in quayside use for 40, 50, or even 60 years plus. However, bollards with such a long life-span were not always designed to moor the new generation of mega-ships.

The forces experienced by bollards…

To read the paper in full, please download the PDF

Navigation simulation for megaship handling

Due to the rapidly increasing demand for simulation in port and waterway development projects, navigation simulators have been considerably improved in the past decade, and they have now become essential validation tools for engineers in charge of such projects. Stakeholders have recognised the benefits and tremendous added value of navigation simulators. Sensitive development projects presenting new challenges to navigation or the environment have caught the attention of official bodies such as Transport Canada, which now strongly recommend the use of simulators for any such project.

Click here to view MSRC's Real-time Simulation Facilities on PTI's Supplier Directory

Modern simulation

A tremendous initial step forward can be made when there is the possibility of calling on a modern simulator capable of virtually representing all existing environmental conditions for any area, adding or modifying buildings or relevant structural elements, and using models identical to the ships that will most likely be calling at the proposed facilities. All manoeuvres, ship movements, winds, currents, interaction between ships, the sea and channel banks, squat and so forth can be quantified, measured and recorded to produce comprehensive reports for such purposes as discussions, validation, compulsory official control stages, and presentations to various authorities, for instance, at public hearings. Well conducted simulations will reveal limitations, establish or confirm operational limits, help in assessing the risks involved and in establishing procedures for safe operations…

To read full article, download PDF.