Technical Papers - Environment, Health & Safety
Seaports – the nexus of trade, logistics, and production – are hugely important in facilitating both national and international trade. Recent decades have witnessed a spectacular increase in freight transport worldwide, 90% of which crosses the sea after loading in seaports. Container transport in particular has been influenced by this increase in global sea transport. For example, the maximum capacity of containerships used to be 10,000 TEU, but this increased over a 10-year period to 22,000 TEU. There are, of course, knock-on environmental effects from these developments that must be addressed by the seaports that have to accommodate incoming, outgoing and transiting trade.
Slops and sludges are hydrocarbon-rich shipping industry waste, produced in ship engine rooms through purifying fuels, bilge waters from mechanical systems, oily ballast water and tank cleaning waters from tankers. MARPOL Annex I, Regulation 12 defines slops as "the residual waste oil products generated during the normal operation of a ship, such as those resulting from the purification of fuel or lubricating oil for main or auxiliary machinery, separated waste oil from oil filtering equipment, waste oil collected in drip trays, and waste hydraulic and lubricating oils." Millions of tonnes of maritime hydrocarbon residues are created every year, and it is estimated that they account for between 1% and 2% of maritime bunker volumes consumed annually. All of this waste needs to be disposed of in line with IMO and EU regulations, and Ecoslops presents a way to refine the waste into valuable fuel.
Conventional Rubber Tyred Gantry cranes (RTGs) consume 2 to 2.5 liter diesel per container move. Consequently a container terminal with a throughput of 1 million TEU consumes 2 million to 2.5 million liters of diesel per year. This drives many operators to look for suitable power supply alternatives for this type of crane, in order to reduce diesel consumption and thus emissions. Conductix-Wampfler has been converting RTGs into electrified RTGs (E-RTGs) since 2006. The converting process involves shutting down the diesel genset and powering the RTG with electric power directly from the power grid. E-RTGs typically use 2.5 to 3.5 kWh electrical power per container move.
Port Everglades, Florida’s top container port and one of the three busiest cruise ports in the world, readily accepted a challenging opportunity with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality (EPA) to partner and coordinate research and modeling for covering port-related operations, technologies, and growth scenarios.
As part of its objective to better understand and manage the impact of shipping activities on at-risk whales throughout the southern coast of British Columbia, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s initiative, the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program launched a trial in which ship operators voluntarily reduced vessel speed.
Shipping lines are also increasingly operating in global alliances, giving them scope to optimize their services and increase their buying power. For container terminals this has resulted in noticeable reductions in handling rates, larger operational peaks and more idle time in waterside operations.