IMO 2020: Edmund Hughes Talks Supply & Use Of 0.50% Sulphur Marine Fuel, Global Fleet Adaptation, Cost Efficiency, Compliance, Environmental Impact And Future Sustainability
Edmund Hughes is Head, Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency in the Marine Environment Division of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations specialised technical agency responsible for the regulation of international shipping.
A member of the IMO Secretariat since 2010, his responsibilities cover MARPOL Annex VI, the International Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships, including regulations on controlling emissions to air, energy efficiency for ships, and IMO’s work to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. In this role he has day to day responsibility for MARPOL Annex VI including the development and finalisation of the instruments on support the consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit (IMO 2020) and was responsible for the development and finalisation of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy adopted by MEPC 72 in April 2018.
The industry has had three years to prepare for IMO 2020. Is the Maritime Sector ready for 1st January 2020?
Yes, there is every reason to be confident the industry is ready. Major refineries and bunkering ports have confirmed that low sulphur fuel oil to meet the 0.50% limit is going to be available from now (last quarter of 2019). A great deal of preparation has been done. IMO issued guidance on ship implementation planning, addressing things like tank cleaning, in 2018. Various other sets of guidelines and guidance have been issued, including comprehensive 2019 Guidelines on consistent implementation of 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI. IMO has also issued guidance for port State control. A joint industry group has also developed its own guidance, Joint Industry Guidance on the Supply and Use of 0.50% Sulphur Marine Fuel, which IMO has shared with its Member States and international organisations in a circular letter. As well as the regular IMO meetings, which provide a forum for discussion, exchange of views and adoption/approval of guidance, IMO has also instigated stakeholder meetings and recently a pubic symposium on IMO 2020 and alternative fuels.
My view is that there has been sufficient time for preparation - you will recall that the 0.50% limit was adopted in 2008 and confirmed again in October 2016. The indications are that there is now a high level of awareness that the new limit applies from 1st January 2020 – and that the industry is ready.
What economic impact will this regulation have across Global Markets?
Of course, there is a cost implication. Refineries are producing new blends of low sulphur fuel oil (and some ships have invested in exhaust gas cleaning systems, otherwise known as scrubbers). There are forecasts that the price differential between the heavy fuel oil used now and the new low sulphur blends will be significant - and this could cost between US$30 billion per year and US$60 billion per year in additional fuel costs. Ultimately, these costs will be passed on, to consumers and end users of the cargo carried by sea. But shipping will still be the most cost-efficient way of transporting bulk cargoes. The increased cost to the public of a pair of shoes will be minimal.
The important point to make here is the environmental and human health benefits of this move. We all have a stake in cutting pollution. We all have to pay the costs. Putting the burden of cost onto shipping reflects the “polluter pays” principle.
What are the main benefits in reducing sulphur emissions from 3.5% to 0.5%?
We know from studies that there will be reductions in stroke, asthma, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and pulmonary disease by implementing the new lower limit for sulphur in fuel oil. This will be particularly true for populations living close to coastal and port areas. Reduction of impacts will reduce harm to the individual and present economic cost savings to wider society.
Furthermore, cutting sulphur emissions from ships will help reduce environmental damage resulting from the formation of acid rain.
The global fleet is adapting to this change by retrofitting technology to vessels, using cleaner LSFO or investing in LNG. What solution is expected to be more popular and why?
Studies suggest that most ships will switch to compliant low sulphur fuel oil. The refineries are responding to this predicted demand by supplying new fuel oil blends. The advantage is that these new fuels can be switched into fuel tanks (once they have been cleaned, to avoid contamination with heavy fuel oil residues).
With proper risk assessment, it should be a relatively straightforward process. Of course, ship engineers will need to be aware and there should be risk assessment, with ships being advised to assess potential impact on machinery systems with the use of distillates and fuel oil blends and prepare ships in consultation with chief engineers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The ship tank configuration and fuel system may require adjustments. A fully segregated fuel system for distillate fuels and blended fuels is recommended because they may require special attention. Ship tank configuration and segregated fuel system will also allow for better management of potentially incompatible fuels.
Some ship operators/owners are choosing to install scrubbers, so they will continue to procure and burn heavy fuel oil, but the emissions limit will be achieved through exhaust gas cleaning. Estimates suggest up to around 4000 ships will use scrubbers. But it is not so much the number of ships, as the type of ship and volumes of fuel oil they consume that will have the greatest impact on the market.
A smaller proportion of ships have switched to LNG as fuel and several ships are being built to use gas as a fuel alone or have dual-fuel capability. The use of gas usually requires a structural conversion, including creating space to store LNG on the vessel. The IMO has already developed the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) to enable ships to be constructed to make use of gas as fuel.
Ultimately the type of fuel to use is a commercial decision for the shipowner/operator.
What measures are in place to ensure the compliance of IMO 2020?
There is a long-standing system in place to ensure compliance with IMO rules, through flag and port State controls.
First the flag State is responsible for issuing the relevant certificate to the ship, confirming that they comply. For MARPOL Annex VI, which contains the sulphur limit, this is the International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate (IAPP) - issued to ships over 400 gross tonnage. Then there is port State control. Port States can inspect any flag ship in their ports. During the port State control and other enforcement activities, the port State should investigate whether a ship carries either compliant fuel oils or heavy fuel oils for use, based on the documents the ship carries, such as the bunker delivery note, and whether the ship is using an equivalent means of compliance i.e., an exhaust gas cleaning system ("scrubber"). When the port State identifies clear grounds of suspected non-compliance of a ship based on initial inspections, the port State may require samples of fuel oils to be analysed. Some States are using technology such as sniffers or drones to identify ships which may be in violation of the rules. Once identified, they then follow-up with more detailed inspections. To support consistent implementation by flag and port States, IMO has issued guidance.
Ships/operators are expected to take into account logistical conditions and/or terminal/port policies when planning bunkering. This could mean having to change berth or anchor within a port or terminal in order to obtain compliant fuel. They are also expected to prepare as far as reasonably practicable to be able to operate on compliant fuel oils.
IMO has also adopted a carriage ban on heavy fuel oil, which enters into force on 1st March 2020. This is the MARPOL amendment adopted in 2018 to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship - unless the ship has an exhaust gas cleaning system ("scrubber") fitted. The amendment is intended as an additional measure to support consistent implementation and compliance and provide a means for effective enforcement by States, particularly port State control. The specific provision requires that fuel oil used on board ships shall not exceed 0.50% sulphur limit. The amended provision to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil reads as follows: "The sulphur content of fuel oil used or carried for use on board a ship shall not exceed 0.50% m/m". So, carriage of fuel oil for use on board ships will be prohibited from 1st March 2020 if the sulphur content exceeds 0.50% - unless a scrubber is fitted (the provision does not apply to fuel oil being carried as cargo).
Are there long-term incentives for shipowners to invest in LNG?
This boils down to a commercial decision by shipowners as to the strategy they wish to employ for fuelling their ships, now and in the future.
In terms of environmental regulation, what does the future look like after 2020?
The sulphur limit is just one tool in IMO’s efforts to ensure a more sustainable and greener shipping industry – and in particular the decarbonisation of shipping.
In 2018, IMO Member States adopted an initial strategy for cutting GHG emissions from shipping and phasing them out entirely, as soon as possible. The strategy includes a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement, and clear levels of ambition – including at least a 50% cut in emissions from the sector by 2050, compared to 2008. Since global trade and maritime transport are expected to continue to grow in the coming years – last year 11 billion tons of cargo was carried for the first time - to achieve the specified targets, ships would have to reduce their emissions by more than 80%. The agreed reduction targets signify a tangible trajectory towards decarbonising shipping. Therefore, zero-emission ships should begin to be built well before 2050, hopefully by the 2030s.
We also have the phasing in of the so-called D-2 standard under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention). The treaty entered into force in 2017 and amendments to the BWM Convention adopted in April 2018 entered into force in October 2019. These amendments, among other things, brought into force a schedule for implementation. In essence, the schedule for implementation means that compliance with the D-2 standard set out in the Convention will be phased-in over time for individual ships, up to 8th September 2024. Over time, more and more ships will be compliant with the D-2 standard.
Of course, we should always remember that we are talking here about a global industry which provides a vital service to the world. Maritime transport is essential for sustainable development in the future. It provides a dependable, energy efficient and low-cost way to transport more than 80% of global trade, linking people and communities all over the world. It facilitates commerce and helps to create prosperity, supporting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Liberian Registry's Alfonso Castillero Talks: Port State Control, Safety & Quality Standards, Seafarers' Rights, Technology, IMO 2020 And More
Alfonso Castillero is the Chief Operating Officer of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based Manager of the Liberian Registry.
The Liberian Registry is the world's second largest registry, comprised of 4,400+ vessels aggregating over 170 million gross tons, representing 12% of the world’s ocean going fleet and, renowned for excellence, safety and innovative service. With more than 20 years' experience in the field of international maritime shipping regulation and operations with a deep technical expertise, Castillero has served onboard tankers and container vessels, and worked for many years at the Panama Maritime Authority, rising through the various ranks to become the head of the Panama Registry.
Following his time at sea, he became the Lead Port State Inspector, Lead Casualty Investigator and Flag State Surveyor for the Panama Maritime Authority where his successes led to his appointment as the Deputy Director General of the Panama Registry. During his time as Deputy Director, he became heavily involved at the IMO attending key committees and subcommittees; 4 years later, he was promoted to the position of Director General of the Panama Registry, the highest ranked person of the largest flag.
Today, as the Chief Operating Officer of LISCR, he drives the development of the Registry’s new, strategic markets and strengthens Liberia’s global presence and reputation as the world’s most innovative and successful ship registry.
Why should shipowners consider Liberia?
The Liberian Registry is known as the most technologically advanced flag, as such Liberian-flagged shipowners have access to industry-leading services and programmes that make life easier for them, their ships, and their seafarers. The flag’s role is to ensure that ships and shipowners are complying with international regulations, in a way that does not inhibit their ability to service the needs of global transportation; Liberia’s services truly help to alleviate many of the administrative burdens of compliance.
In addition to our innovative technologies and services, the Liberian Registry is constantly advocating for its clients’ best interests. As a member of the IMO Council, Liberia has permanent representatives at the IMO providing a full-time voice on issues affecting maritime safety, security and environmental protection. Liberia is not only present at the IMO and subcommittee meetings but is earnestly taking an active leadership role. Of the 174 member States of the IMO, Liberia is one of the handful in the room for many subcommittee meetings, which is where new regulations and standards are discussed. This means Liberian-flagged shipowners have access to the highest level of advice and assistance.
Due to many of these services and the support we provide, Liberia has been the fastest growing major open flag in recent years, while also maintaining its high safety and quality standards around the globe. Historically known for its high-quality standards, the Liberian Registry has once again been recognised worldwide for its Port State Control (PSC) performance with the inclusion on this year’s QUALSHIP 21 roster, Paris MoU White List and Tokyo MoU White List. Any flag, including Liberia, which consistently qualifies for inclusion on these PSC White Lists, while increasing its tonnage to record levels, must clearly be meeting the expectations of owners and managers in terms of both safety and commercial efficiency. This not only proves that these efforts make a difference, but it is also testament to Liberia’s quality clients, who put in the same level of effort in order to meet these exacting standards.
Furthering Liberia’s commitment to quality, we have added five new Regional Compliance Offices, strategically located in the major ports of the United States. These offices, led by experienced Regional Compliance Managers, provide 24/7 support for vessels entering their respective region. Other registries often rely on independent contractors who may have conflicts and other responsibilities, which does not allow for guaranteed availability, nor a quick response time and all without the ability to continously monitor and mitigate potential risks. However, this new Compliance Programme, presented by the Liberian Registry, will work in junction with Liberia’s predictive Detention Prevention Programme to ensure shipowners are ready to face PSC, and therefore avoid any unnecessary and unwanted detentions.
Our Registry's unique and innovative services have saved shipowners and managers significant time and money within a flexible system which keeps Liberian-flag ships operating safely and efficiently. It’s these services and features that prove that “all flags are not alike”.
How has the Registry evolved since the first registration of M/V World Peace in 1949?
Liberia registered its first ship, the World Peace, owned by Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Niarchos, in 1949. In response to its continued growth over the years, the Registry has opened 30 offices strategically located throughout the world’s major ports to support its worldwide shipowners. With its largest markets historically being Greece and Germany, Liberia has maintained strong relationships in those regions and all throughout Europe, while rapidly growing in Asia in recent years. In fact, Liberia has opened six offices in the Asia region since 2017 due to this fast-growing market.
Today, Liberia is the second largest and fastest growing major open Registry in the world, known for its top performance records and its industry-leading technological and data-sharing innovations. The Liberian Registry is white-listed by all PSC MoUs, including Paris and Tokyo MoU and USCG QUALSHIP 21. The Registry is a member of the IMO Council, and continues to be an outspoken voice for smart global regulations for the industry and its clients.
What aspects define the Liberian Registry as a leader in the maritime and shipping world?
As a founding member of the IMO, our organisation has taken a leading role in global shipping at a very early stage and continues to do so, holding a position on the IMO Council, which means the Registry has a full-time voice at the IMO and is able to lead the discussions while advocating for smart regulations that affect the entire industry.
Over the years, we have developed a reputation for proactive intervention on the part of owners whose ships fly the Liberian flag, making up 12% of the entire world fleet. Recently, the Registry called for the need for additional scientific studies for the Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), to provide more clarity around the impacts to the marine environment caused by washwater discharged, as to not penalise owners who were early movers.
Moreover, the Registry is known for its proactive nature, especially when it comes to investing in key industry technologies. Liberia was the first Flag Administration to offer electronic certificates, electronic seafarer documentation systems, and an online client portal for registry services and electronic oil record books, to name a few. In the following years, the industry began to see other flags and industry organisations follow Liberia’s lead with their own electronic solutions in these areas.
Liberia also has a history of establishing strategic global partnerships that benefit the industry at large. In September of last year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of Liberia renewed their historic maritime agreement, which further deepens and develops the close relations between the governments of the two countries, and strengthens their long-term co-operation in the field of maritime transport.
Liberia has earned international respect for its dedication to flagging the world’s safest and most secure vessels. The Liberian Registry is at the top of every industry ‘white-list’ including the IMO and the major Port State Control authorities such as the US Coast Guard and the Paris and Tokyo MOU regimes. Liberia has been and continues to be the world’s largest quality flag.
How are new technologies shaping your organisation?
In this modern digital world, everyone wants to accumulate data as a valuable resource that can be transformed into a money-making business. To achieve this, it is key for companies to withhold data and restrict any form of wide-reaching access. On the contrary, we are collecting data to share openly with global stakeholders who are seeking improved predictability, to avoid accidents and detentions, as well as seeking for the transparency of our fleet.
Leading Flag Administrations must increase their capacity and capability to provide information in a real-time, transparent, and convenient way to their fleet and to other stakeholders. Most flags are not investing in this important technology; however, we are and continue to do so.
In terms of seafarers' welfare, what measures are in place to ensure their protection?
The well-being of seafarers serving on Liberian registered ships is an important concern for us. Liberia has enacted and enforces the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions that protect the rights of seafarers. Liberia was the first country to ratify MLC 2006, and has consistently led the way in pushing for overall ratification. Seafarers can bring claims through the courts in any appropriate jurisdiction (including the US), and are not limited to the courts in Liberia.
The Liberian Administration is committed to ensuring that seafarers who serve on Liberian-flag ships have decent working and living conditions, a safe and secure workplace and fair employment. Recently, we learned of a crew abandonment situation where seafarers had not been paid in nearly 5 months. Upon learning of the situation, our investigation department quickly intervened and the crew was soon repatriated and paid. The Registry’s staff are trained to respond to such situations in an urgent and proactive manner so the nearly 300,000 seafarers that are certified by Liberia are treated fairly.
In your view, what challenges lie ahead for the industry over the next 12 months?
The effects of the 2020 regulation fall on the shipowners, who carry the economic burden for meeting this mandate. The maritime industry must do its part to meet global environmental pollution reductions; however, it is our long-standing position that discussions and decisions at IMO are centred on technical and scientific studies/data, not political agendas.
It is obvious that there is no one size fits all to comply with 2020 regulations. As we look at the different ways our industry has addressed the pre-2020 IMO sulphur reduction mandate, shipowners who invested in scrubbers as an accepted compliance method, should be able to operate in all waters without restriction in accordance with global emission limits. At the recent Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) meeting, the Liberian Administration stood with those who were early movers, calling for additional scientific clarity around scrubbers as to not penalise those owners. On the other hand, owners who switched from high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) to marine gas oil (MGO) or fuel blends must rely on the port States to report on availability, quality and safety of compliant fuel. Regardless of which method is chosen, it’s clear that shipowners disproportionately carry the economic burden of compliance.
We see the use of future fuels increasing, but are open to other economically feasible solutions. In addition, we attend and will continue to attend IMO meetings and help implement and guide as how to meet this mandate together.
How large is your network of auditors and representatives and, what benefits do they bring to the Liberian fleet?
Liberia is the first and only major open registry to have trained a worldwide network of over 450 lead auditors and inspectors. This global network has allowed us to launch harmonisation initiatives, which will save time, money and personnel resources. Due to the redundant and overlapping requirements of the MLC, ISM, and ISPS Codes, as well as the Annual Safety Inspection, all reviews can be combined and conducted during a single ship visit by our specially trained auditors. This harmonised structure reduces logistic expenses and frees up time for the crew as it eliminates the need for multiple vessel visits over multiple days. These inspectors, in conjunction with Liberia’s Detention Prevention Programme, also help to ensure vessel compliance prior to port arrival. These initiatives have proven to decrease the rate of ship detentions and helps to maintain the Liberian Registry’s high-quality standards.
We have also employed business development representatives around the globe, especially in regions without full-service offices, to provide proactive support to Liberian-flagged shipowners in that region. We are dedicated to growing our extensive global network of maritime professionals who act as 24/7 support for Liberian-flagged shipowners, wherever they may be in the world.
Please talk to us about the IMO's III Code and its implementation by the flag State:
Liberia fully supports the IMO III Code and its predecessors the 1993 and 1997 Guidelines to assist flag States in implementation of IMO instruments, which led to the 2005, 2011 and 2013 versions of the III Code.
The Liberian flag Administration has implemented an ISO 9001 quality management system since 2003. We believe our quality management system has assisted in effective implementation of the III Code, since the Code was modelled in part after the ISO 9001 standard, including understanding and consistency in meeting international obligations and responsibilities as a flag State are met; establishing the means to monitor and assess effective implementation and enforcement of relevant international mandatory instruments; and continuous review to achieve, maintain and improve the overall organisational performance and capability as a flag State.
Liberia supports full transparency, including independent audits, of its implementation of the conventions to which we are a party. We supported and actively participated in the development of the IMO Member State Audit Scheme which makes use of the III Code for the conduct of mandatory audits of flag, port and coastal States. The audits provide an effective independent means by which States can assess their implementation of the conventions and receive valuable feedback on areas that may need improvement. The results should also be systematically fed back into the regulatory process at IMO to help make measurable improvements in the effectiveness of the international regulatory framework of shipping. The results of audits are anonymised and only a summary report is published, unless a State chooses to release its full audit report.
Liberia was the first large flag State to volunteer to be audited and published its full audit report and observations on its website. We believe independent audits should form the basis of a flags quality performance in implementing conventions and taken into account by port States and PSC MOUs.
Flag State performance is currently being measured primarily through deficiencies and detentions resulting from PSC boarding’s. The boarding’s do not take into account the results of independent IMO audits of a flag State’s effectiveness in implementing its responsibilities and discharging its obligations under the conventions and other instruments. We’ve had several instances where one of our inspectors is conducting a flag State inspection of a vessel, while at the same time one or more PSC officers are on board conducting a PSC inspection. While both flag and port State are on board for a similar purpose, the port State will issue a detention without first co-ordinating its findings with the flag inspector who is prepared to issue a flag State detention. This seems at odds with overall intent of IMO conventions.
We are enhancing our automated risk assessment system using risk-based targeting which analyses data and factors collected by the Registry. In addition, the system automatically adjusts vessel risk-scores to account of any unique port specific requirements and trends of the MoU jurisdiction which the vessel is entering. This allows owners and operators to take early and effective action to ensure their vessels remain in compliance with applicable requirements.
What initiatives will your customers benefit from in the future?
As Liberia’s fleet grows, its global network will grow along with it. With office expansions in key markets, we are able to meet the specific demands of the market while ensuring that quality of services is never compromised. Through the expansion of the Liberian Registry, our partners and clients will have greater access to full-service offices within their region and around the globe.
Liberian shipowners, managers and seafarers will be at an advantage, as we continue to participate in IMO meetings. Moreover, Liberia will lead the discussions to ensure consistent implementation of future mandates, and will maintain a presence representing the needs of its shipowners. Liberia holds a position on the IMO Council, which means the Registry has a full-time voice at the IMO, contributing to the international regulations that affect the entire industry. In doing so, we can constantly advocate for smart regulations that reflect the needs of the industry, with the interests of our clients in mind.
Furthermore, we will also continue to lead the industry in technological programmes such as our new data-sharing innovations linking vessel design, survey and certificate information from RO to various registry databases and systems, providing an enhanced predictive risk analysis that helps shipowners prevent detentions. This data exchange ensures vessel compliance prior to port arrival, while minimising inspection times, as inspectors will have access to the complete background of a vessel before going onto the ship. The Liberian Registry continues to offer solid, high-tech initiatives, to keeps its customers ahead of trends, not behind.
Victor Jerez is an independent artist and stevedore at the Port of Algeciras. After years working between cranes and containers, he would return home to practice his real passion until the early hours of the morning: painting cinema posters.
Shortly after, he considered painting live. He started at small parties and local events (in Algeciras and Sotogrande). Next he moved on to larger events and, soon in a very short time, he was painting George Clooney, Keith Richards or Carlos Jean.
The painting of sporting events came later to stay. From that point, he has had the privilege and responsibility of immortalising personalities such as Rafa Nadal, Sergio Garcia or Novak Djokovic—live! He is now known as "The Painter of Athletes".
What do you like most about being a stevedore?
Working near the sea in the open air with amazing views is a privilege that not everyone has at work, and it is something I really appreciate. I also like the dynamism of my role, where we work in different ships and a variety of situations, that keep you alert and motivated so that each day is as productive as possible .
What is it like to work in the container terminals of Algeciras?
It is a privilege to work in our terminals as they have the most advanced technology and machinery to service the largest ships in the world. It is very rewarding to be part of the workforce knowing that its terminals are the most important in Spain and Europe.
How do stevedores prepare for the arrival of a ship and the allocation of work?
With great professionalism and always ahead of each situation during the operation so that when the time comes, all the equipment is prepared so that the unloading or loading of the ship is as smooth and productive as possible. This collaborative work is done with the teams of each terminal to distribute the cargo or have it prepared so that the ship's call time is minimised.
Is ongoing development important in the stevedoring profession?
I believe ongoing development is very important as the world of stevedoring -and everything around it- continues to move very quickly and you have to adapt to new technologies and ways of working. This will enable the port to continue to be competitive.
Please talk to us about your interest in art:
My interest in art was born during my time at university, where I became interested in cinema posters that were hand painted. This sparked my curiosity, which later became a passion when I spent hours and hours trying to mimic those movie scenes, always in a self-taught way. That's how I started painting and I haven't stopped since, turning into my profession.
I Am An Artist By Vocation And It Is One Of The Things I Love Most In Life Therefore, I Consider Myself An Artist-Stevedore
Would you define yourself as a stevedore-artist or an artist-stevedore?
I am an artist by vocation and it is one of the things I love most in life therefore, I consider myself an artist-stevedore.
What are the topics you are most interested in painting?
Sport is the topic that interests me the most as it contains many of the important values that I believe in, such as effort, passion, sacrifice, enthusiasm and, above all, the joy achieved by the best athletes in the world when they reach their goals. In the past, they used to paint members of high society and the monarchy, considered the most influential and important people at the time, … today, the great athletes are the people who inspire new generations and have become world-wide icons.
My goal is to capture all those values and emotions in my paintings.
Painting has led you to meet many celebrities. Who has impressed you the most?
I have been fortunate to meet many top-level athletes and celebrities and they have all been very kind and friendly to me however, if I had to highlight one it would be former football player, former coach for Spain's National Team and Real Madrid: Vicente del Bosque. He conveys an incredible personal kindness and humbleness, and has managed to reach the top in world football and still comes across as a friendly down-to-earth individual, something that he is known for.
Jose Luis Garcia Lena, Director of Spain's Salvage and Maritime Safety Society (SASEMAR), Talks Maritime Traffic Strategy, Environment, Action & Prevention Procedures, Training And More
Jose Luis Garcia Lena is Director of Spain's Salvage and Maritime Safety Society (SASEMAR), known as “Salvamento Maritimo” (SM), mainly dedicated to the protection of life at sea. Created in 1992 by the Law of State Ports Authority and Merchant Marine, it became operational in 1993, recently celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Garcia Lena is a naval engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and holds a Masters in Leadership and Public Management, by the Menendez Pelayo International University. He has held the position of Deputy Director General of Safety, Pollution and Maritime Inspection in the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine, from May 2016 until his appointment as Director of SASEMAR. Previously, and since joining the body of naval engineers of the Ministry in 2006, he had held other positions of responsibility such as Deputy Director General of Maritime Inspection, Head of Technology & Technical Support Area and Head of Service and Marine Inspector. He previously worked outside the Administration in companies linked to the sector such as Spanish Shipyards.
In April 2019 you were appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Development, Director of SM. How has your past experience and knowledge helped you in your role?
Before I took on my current position, I would follow every step, every emergency and every marine rescue as I was Deputy Director General of Security, Pollution and Maritime Inspection in the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine, and prior to this I had been working in other positions in the same organisation for many years. As you know, SM is the operational arm of the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine, and salvage workers act in coordination with the officers of the General Directorate in all rescues and emergencies, so I knew and had already worked with SM on many occasions. I have also been part of the Board of Directors of SM since May 2016, so I was well aware of the impressive work done by the team. The organisation I manage is complex, as it covers both administrative issues and very technical matters. Ever since I started working, I have been backed by great professionals with many years of experience.
Please tell us about your main duties as Head of SM:
SM is an organisation that we hear about on a daily basis in the media, however it is a great unknown. Few people know that it belongs to the Spanish Ministry of Development. It was created by the current Spanish Minister Josep Borrell in 1993 and has just celebrated its 25th anniversary. Few organisations can say that they are dedicated to something as beautiful and important for people as protecting their lives when they are in danger at sea, working for clean seas and controlling the traffic of ships to ensure maritime safety. To understand what SM is really about, I invite you to close your eyes, imagine that you are in the middle of a storm at sea, your boat is sinking, and you fall overboard. And in the middle of that desperate situation, a friendly hand appears to rescue you and takes you back to your family — that is SM.
An organisation of which as a country, and I in particular as a Director, we can really be proud of, according to feedback received by seafarers and people that have been involved in rescue operations.
Years ago before this body even existed, the chances of mere incidents ending up in emergencies were much greater. Equally, it was less probable that a response/rescue operation would end successfully.
The increase of professionals, training, media, technology, designs, procedures, improvements…, it has been impressive in just 25 years. That has been and is SM, the guarantee of having the best possible response to an emergency at sea. And my role is to lead this organisation with great professionals in each field, from centre coordinators, maritime and air crew, specialised diving technicians, clerks, etc.
The maritime rescue area is very extensive, covering more than 1.5 million km². How do you manage the resources you currently have?
As you point out, Spain is entrusted by way of international conventions the search and rescue of a marine area of 1.5 million km². It is an enormous task, as the surveillance and rescue is actually equivalent to 3 times Spain. As for the management of resources, our provision is distributed throughout the national territory with the most advanced technology, to which we must add that of the collaborating agencies, as well as any vessel that exists in the area, which at any given time can become the fastest option to conduct a rescue.
SM in Spain is a global benchmark. We have a large number of resources deployed throughout the national territory, specifically: 20 rescue coordination centres, 87 sea and air units, 6 strategic bases with divers and response equipment designed for great depths in two of them; and I do not want to forget the Jovellanos Centre, located in Asturias, which is a reference in training for both our professionals and for external people interested in training in the field of maritime safety .
But the important thing -and what really needs to be valued- is the work of the more than 1,600 professionals we have: staff from control towers, the crews of our ships, planes and helicopters…, work to be appreciated, as these jobs require great professionalism.
What is the National Maritime Rescue Plan?
The Ministry of Development is working on the elaboration of an ambitious “National Plan for Special Services for the Rescue of Human Life at Sea and for the Fight Against Pollution of the Marine Environment”. Among the objectives of the Plan is to coordinate the actions of the different resources capable of carrying out search operations, rescue of human lives and the fight against marine pollution, belonging to the various Administrations, as well as public and private institutions. This Plan also includes the actions and investments planned for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021. It is currently in the process of being approved by Cabinet Ministers. The Plan is based on the new European Maritime Transport Strategy, focusing on three areas: effectiveness and efficiency, decarbonisation and digitalisation.
What are the action protocols following an emergency call at sea?
Every emergency must have a quick response to ensure success in its resolution. Although it is practically impossible for two identical emergencies to occur, which may be resolved by applying an identical response for both, we can establish an order of operations planning to serve as a general guide, as emergencies at sea tend to evolve following the same stages or patterns that are common to all incidents, and serve as a basis for organising the most appropriate response operation. This way, from the moment that the possibility of an emergency exists, the coordination centres must initiate a response process that can be established in several common phases.
The first stage would be receiving the alert, which can reach the coordinating centers in different ways, both traditional and automatic. Then, the next phase consists of the deployment of resources, air and sea, and the planning of the operation to achieve maximum efficiency. The coordination is carried out by the Rescue Coordination Centres, in conjunction with the Maritime Authority of the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine, and the maritime or aerial teams responsible for carrying out the search and rescue operations whose main objective is to safeguard human life, and secondly assisting to save the vessel if necessary. The operation continues until the rescue actions from the Coordination Centre are concluded and the units return to base.
Every Life Saved Is Our Greatest Reward
There are also operations in which, although the life of people is not at risk, there may be a risk of pollution of the marine environment. In those cases, SM acts in a similar way, with the aim of preventing the pollution of our seas.
What are the challenges in preventing and fighting against pollution of the marine environment?
Aerial surveillance of our seas is an essential tool to prevent pollution by ships in navigation. SM does intensive surveillance work with its airplanes and European satellites to ensure that ships do not pollute. Each year we monitor the equivalent of 250 times the Spanish territory. In addition to the surveillance work of our airplanes and satellites, which is a preventive task, we combat the pollution spills that are also detected by our air or sea resources. To this effect we count on collection vessels specially designed to address this type of pollution such as multi-purpose rescue and pollution control vessels, which are part of the maritime units distributed along the entire Spanish coast. These ships also act in the event of an incident or shipwreck, which may involve pollution.
Apart from this, we also carry out a number of activities by raising community awareness to preserve the environment, such as the activation of the #mareslimpios (“clean seas”) campaign. Please allow me to share with your readers, should they wish to apply, that we have just presented the ODS14 SM awards to reward all those initiatives that have or are contributing to the improvement and conservation of our seas. The prize conditions are available on our website.
What kind of training is provided by the Jovellanos Centre?
Firstly, let me highlight that it is a centre of reference at a European level as it covers maritime training, security, fire fighting, etc.. It is a centre for diversified training in many fields related to the safety of life at sea and the fight against pollution of the seas.
Designed from a comprehensive service perspective, it is equipped with modern resources and facilities and highly qualified technical and specialist staff. It has become a key part of support for the training duties of the National Maritime Safety and Rescue Plan.
The centre's main function is to provide comprehensive training in maritime, port and industrial security, prevention of occupational hazards and the fight against pollution, addressed primarily to the personnel of SM, as I mentioned earlier, and also to professionals in the maritime sector, and other groups with special security and pollution control needs. The rest of its activity revolves around the following specific areas: technical assistance for projects, studies and emergency plans; the development of tests and the homologation of personal protection equipment and rescue devices (life jackets, floats, rafts ...) and the organisation and participation in conferences and seminars as well as cooperation and research in European and national projects.
What advice would you give to those new sailors in order to improve their security?
New sailors have to be aware that the marine environment can be dangerous, especially if they don't have much experience. Taking all precautions is never an overstatement. In addition to having adequate training, try to achieve a position of "zero risk", with a focus on prevention.
New sailors have to be aware that the marine environment can be dangerous, especially if they don't have much experience.
On our website www.salvamentomaritimo.es and through our social networks we give simple daily advice to people who approach the sea in different activities. Anyway, when everything else fails, SM will always be alert to protect human life at sea, night and day, so knowing the protocols and ways to ask for our help is also a way of prevention.
What points would you highlight about the planning and strategy for the next 12 months?
We want to continue being a competitive service, guaranteeing the protection of the marine environment, focusing on digitalisation and innovation. We understand that we are, that is why we want to maintain our strengths, exploit the new technological opportunities that arise and correct the weaknesses that may emerge. The strategy to follow, defined in the National Plan Draft, is aligned with the EU Maritime Transport Policy, defined until 2020 in the Valletta Ministerial Declaration.
The strategy follows three axes, which are broken down into lines and initiatives:
Do you remember a particular rescue operation that you would like to share with us?
Recently, in June we carried out a complex rescue of the 5 crew members of a sailboat in the middle of a severe storm in Galicia. It happened 85 miles northwest of A Coruña. At the time in the area there were very rough seas with waves of between four and six metres and winds of 65 knots (120 km/h). In the midst of this severe storm, the Helimer 401 helicopter crew of A Coruña rescued these 5 people. The rescue was very complex as S/Y LoaZour was swaying spectacularly as it was completely adrift. Faced with this situation, the rescuer could not descend to the actual ship. Finally, the 5 crew were rescued one by one from the sea and later transferred to Alvedro in good condition. They publicly thanked our work and the fact that we saved their lives. Every life saved is our greatest reward.
This video recorded by our helicopter team shows how complicated the operation was:
Juan Ureta, President Of Propeller Club Algeciras, Talks About The Maritime-Port Community, Training, Infrastructure, Rail Connection To Algeciras And More
Juan A. Ureta is President of Propeller Club Algeciras, consisting of executives and active businessmen professionally linked to different industrial sectors and international trade, especially in the fields of logistics, transport and the maritime-port sector.
Ureta is also a professional in the logistics sector as Co-Inventor and Co-Founder of Connectainer & Intermodal Solutions, a company dedicated to the optimisation of empty container use. After 40 years in the Merchant Marine and extensive knowledge on logistics and especially the maritime container, we are pleased to learn more about the association Juan Ureta has chaired since 2013, Propeller Club Algeciras.
Propeller Club was founded in 2012. Please tell us about the association's journey to the present day:
Actually although the Propeller Club is founded in October 2012, the process starts two years before, when we are invited to participate in the I Meeting Of Clubs in Valencia (2010) and later to the one held in Barcelona the following year, it was from this year when we finally got the project going. It was presented 15th May 2013 at the Reina Cristina Hotel (Algeciras), with the presence of all the other clubs in Spain, and with the attendance of the civil authorities of Algeciras.
The lunches begin with the former Director General of the Port of Algeciras, José Luis Estrada Llaquet, in the month of April of that year taking place every month thereon, except in the summer months. Over these years we have made sure that the speakers were people of a certain prestige and that in a way they could transfer their knowledge to the partners, trying to see things from a different perspective. We can say that, although participants are from different backgrounds, business, political, etc., there has always been a common focus in developing logistics, maritime and port activities.
I will not give a comprehensive list of the guests, but as a summary, among others we can mention, in addition to our first speaker José Luis Estrada Llaquet, the following:
- J. Ignacio Landaluce, Mayor of Algeciras
- Antonio Padrón y Santiago, IMO Maritime Ambassador
- Óscar Bazán, Executive Vice President, Panama Canal
- Fernando González Laxe, President Spanish Ports (PE)
- Enric Tico, President FETEIA
- Joan Amorós, President FERRMED
- Manuel Morón, President Algeciras Port Authority (APBA)
- Antolín García, Coordinadora
- Jordi Aragunde, IDC Workers
- Javier Sánchez, President Confederation Businessmen of Cádiz (CEC)
- Salvador de la Encina, President Spanish Ports (PE)
- Manuel Jiménez Barrios, Vice President Regional Government Andalusia
- Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister Gibraltar
In addition to other leading private business leaders, Javier Lancha (APMT Algeciras), Alonso Luque (TTI Algeciras), Iñaqui Larequi (UASAC Spain), Joaquín Vidal (BEST Terminal), etc., naming everyone would be endless, given that we normally have between 8-9 lunches every year.
The Main Mission Of The Club Is To Promote The Maritime And Port Trade Of The Region
We have also been organising an event where the logistics community of the region have an opportunity to get together, the Logistics Gastro Party. This has been arranged now for two years and it has been a great success. We managed to gather 483 people in the one held last June, and we hope to reach 1000 people by 2020, which will be held on Friday, 12th June.
What is the main purpose of Propeller Club Algeciras?
The main mission of the Club, according to its statutes, is to promote the maritime and port commerce of the region, objectives that were already defined in the founding letter of the Club in the United States in 1927: promote and strengthen the Merchant Marine and the development of maritime commerce.
Today in the 21st century we continue with these same objectives, although adapted to the current situation, but basically they are the same and can be summarised in three main points: training, synergies and dissemination of knowledge. At a local level we have opted for training, and we are in the process of signing an agreement with the University of Cádiz (UCA) for this, with an economic provision aligned with our capabilities. It is not our intention to compete against existing associations for the promotion of the activity, nor we want to be a gastronomic society, our goal has been to create a discussion forum with a relevant guest, and why not, to become a new lobby in the region.
How many members are registered and what criteria should they follow to join the Club?
There are currently 49 members with the latest additions, a figure that we expect to increase year-on-year.
In these six years of activity, we have experienced slow constant growth, and we have practically not had any withdrawals, except for those due to the transfer of residence. Regarding the requirements to join the Club, one can become a member in two ways: express invitation from the Board of Directors and the other by proposal of two Club members. It is important to emphasise that the status of member is personal and unrelated to the company in which one works; this condition is the norm in all the clubs in the world.
What is the main challenge of the logistics sector in the next 12 months?
We believe that the main challenge is the rail connection to Algeciras. We do not understand the investment policy in this area by the Administration, something we promoted at the time when we attended the VIII Clubs Meeting, which was held in Algeciras, April 2017, a manifesto of support for the rail connection of Algeciras with France, in its two fronts, central and Mediterranean connections, and which was signed by all the Propeller Clubs of Spain.
An important point, at least in my opinion, is the design of a port today for the next 30 years. Maybe it is time for us to consider whether the design we have followed, which may have been the best at the time, is now the right one. The location of the Border Inspection Post (PIF), of the Maritime Station, of CLH and Vopak, in principle and according to a more rational criterion, does not seem to indicate that they are the most suitable, solutions should be sought if possible.
What initiatives have been developed in the last year that have produced positive results?
I think the initiative of the Logistics Gastro Party will definitely mark a before and after. Barcelona and Valencia have been organising it for years, the former more than 8 and Valencia more than 30, so they are many years head of us, however we are now there and I think as a senior manager of a terminal in Valencia told me and will attending our next event in Algeciras: “I sincerely believe that it is a good opportunity to network and share our day-to-day with the logistics community. It is something that we have started in Valencia and therefore nobody better than us to know the scope of it”.
What new projects is the Club developing?
In addition to completing the collaboration project with the UCA, which we may also expand in view of the result, another of the projects we would like to complete is the creation of a maritime newspaper, just like the ports of Barcelona and Valencia have. After the closing of the maritime section of the digital newspaper Europa Sur, something we have failed to understand, EED has emerged, and we believe that a weekly sheet -in principle- of information about our sector has its place.
Antimo Magnotta is an Italian pianist and composer based in London since 2013. He started his professional career in 1992, right after his graduation from the music conservatoire in Avellino, Italy. Antimo was resident pianist aboard the cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, when it tragically sank in 2012, claiming 32 lives. Miraculously surviving the shipwreck, which took the lives of some of his fellow musicians, Antimo Magnotta’s remarkable story serves as a reminder of the restorative powers of music and the resilience of the human spirit.
How was life onboard Costa Concordia?
As a resident musician and crew member life aboard the Costa Concordia was a combination of many elements (in the same way as with other large cruise ships, of course). Playing the piano and traveling has been the crowning of my childhood dreams, something I had been doing for almost 18 years of my life. I was the happiest man on earth but I discovered it was not an easy life though, despite the great excitement.
© Johan Petti
Such a very special environment requires a particular inclination and attitude: you need to be flexible, enthusiastic, resilient, strong and willing to treasure the bright side of being at sea, traveling the world, meeting people, being lightheartedly privileged, experiencing memorable moments, etc. There are downsides, of course. Your life will be incapsulated in a cabin for a relatively long time, a ‘shoebox’ you need to share, in most cases, with someone else.
No privacy, no natural light, no fresh air and the food on-board for the crew is something one would prefer to forget about.
Please tell us about how you became pianist on the ship?
The opportunity arose right after my graduation from the music conservatoire in Italy. One of my fellow musicians got a proposal he strangely refused. He was asked to sign a contract on a cruise ship as on-board pianist. The problem with this guy is that he was suffering from sea sickness, so he offered me the replacement. I accepted, successfully passed the audition and my adventure started. It was during the late ’90s.
Please talk to us about the night Costa Concordia ran aground off the island of Giglio:
On Friday, January 13, 2012 the Concordia had set out from Rome on the last leg of a seven-day Mediterranean cruise with 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew on-board. I sat down at the Yamaha baby grand in the Vienna Bar on aft deck five at 9.30pm to entertain a handful of well-dressed guests. I was fully immersed in my beautiful daily routine. It was a lovely starry night, the weather conditions were ideal for navigation, the sea was as smooth as a table. All of a sudden, at 9.42pm, the ship took a sudden swerve and started listing. I fell off the bench and the piano was torn from its safety locks and started drifting on the stage.
Costa Concordia at the Port of Barcelona in 2008 © Gibfran46
No sound of a collision was heard on deck five, although those on lower decks would later tell me of the terrible tearing sound as a submerged rock ripped a huge hole in the engine compartments, just off the coast of the Island of Giglio.
Along with other passengers and crew, I instinctively stumbled along sloping corridors to the huge dance floor at the centre of the ship — supposedly the most stable place — called the Grand Bar Berlin. As a crew member I had to avoid panic, but people were panicking because of the lack of information. There were very few announcements over the PA system about a technical problem, or a power failure, …then silence.
There were several blackouts and people started screaming and calling out names. I could hear children’s voices: ‘Where are you, Daddy, where are you, Mummy?’
Chaos took over and the nightmare began.
Darkness would engulf the dance floor and then the lights would suddenly come on revealing a scene of terrified passengers crying and reeling around the tilting room, holding broken teeth in their hands or bleeding from falls. They looked horrifying! The siren sounded the general emergency signal — seven short blasts and one long — and the mass of people began stumbling for the evacuation stations. I reached my muster station point, where, in line with my emergency training, I was supposed to take a roll call of 25 staff members. Four were missing. A passing technician told me the ship had a hole and was drifting. I realised that, because the ship was so close to land, I had a mobile phone signal, and I called my ex-wife. At first, I lied to her and said we had a technical problem. We got cut off. She called me back, having checked on the internet, and said, ‘You are in a shipwreck.’
Finally, when the order came to abandon ship I realised the lifeboat designated for my muster group was underwater. There were no more procedures or protocols to follow, so everyone scattered. By now the sound of people screaming in 60 languages was joined by loud metallic crashes as the ship — “a swan in agony” as I wrote in my book — tilted towards its final resting angle of about 80 degrees. If I were to use a musical analogy, it was a polyphony of horror. It was at this stage where I first felt fear. It seemed there was no escape for me, that I was hopeless. I had to abandon the ship, but I didn’t know how. I said my daughter’s name, I took two minutes to reflect about my life, and managed to climb — on handrails, extinguishers, pipes, wires, whatever — up to an embarkation point. It took a lifetime. I am not a sporty guy, but at these times you become superhuman. Once outside, on the flank of the hull that was tilted upwards, I knew I had to get close to the water. Jumping into the sea from any height is like jumping on to concrete and a life jacket can tear your head off in such an impact. I began sliding down the hull on a cable, a winch, from which another lifeboat had been launched. I could hear helicopters and see the lights of rescue ships, but the emergency lights on life jackets worked only on contact with water, so myself and others got them going by spitting on them, until a boat finally got a fix on us and eventually we were rescued.
© Drafinsub Slr
What was the first thought that crossed your mind when you finally reached safety?
When I jumped from the ship into a small lifeboat I felt I was literally jumping back to life. I reached the Island of Giglio around 3.00am. It took about 6 hours to abandon the Costa Concordia. No one would speak. We were all shocked, silent, not uttering a word, because of the tremendous trauma. When I touched the ground I suddenly thought I had to celebrate my second birthday from that moment on. I was alive!
How do you feel about the 32 passengers and crew, and the salvage worker that lost their lives?
It’s an immense tragedy. I lost two friends of mine, fellow musicians. The violinist of the Hungarian trio I shared the stage with and the main band’s drummer, a very friendly Italian guy. His body was found on the seabed, wearing a life jacket.
I felt so sorry for the salvage worker as well, a diver I think, who lost his life. It breaks my heart deeply.
© Drafinsub Slr
How has this life-changing experience influenced your music? How did music help you?
My music and my writing have been massively influenced by this experience and they turned out to be the best form of self-therapy. I was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and I unexpectedly started to write more than I played, at the beginning. I couldn’t play the piano after that accident. Every time I played, it would bring back memories of the shipwreck. I also decided to sell all my possessions and move from Italy to London. Whilst working, I wrote a book in my spare time about the disaster, which was published in Italy (“Sette squilli brevi e uno lungo” is the Italian title) and now about to be published in the UK in English. The English title will be “Seven short blasts and one long” – a reference to the emergency signal at the time of the disaster.
Distancing myself from my old life seemed to quell the anxieties, although I still get flashbacks to the terrible noise of screaming. Gradually, the urge to play again grew, and finally I started composing again. My album “Inner Landscape”, based on my introspective thoughts after the disaster, is a work for solo piano dedicated to those who died on the Concordia. In this album there’s also track called “32”. The main melody is composed of 32 notes, each one dedicated to the memory of the victims who lost their lives that tragic night.
If given the opportunity, would you ever go back to playing on-board a cruise ship?
Yes, sure. But only for a very short time or for a “one off” to perform my piano show.
For more information about Antimo Magnotta please visit antimomagnotta.com
Antonio Alcaraz is Reverse Logistics Officer in the chemical industry and a Maritime Photographer, with a genuine passion for boats, ports and terminals. Alcaraz has a special interest in the activity done by pilots at his home port of Valencia, and other terminals worldwide. His camera gives him the opportunity to travel the globe, always looking for the perfect photo. We met Antonio during his recent visit to Algeciras, whom was welcome to give Marine Strategy a zoom in on his work.
Please talk to us about your passion for ships:
My hobby starts very early in life, as a child, when I visited the port with my parents every week. Back then, one could access these areas whilst having a walk in the port, which gave us an opportunity to view the ships moored at the quay. I loved it because when I returned home I would try to replicate the boats with an arsenal of pieces of Tente, construction game of that time similar to Lego®. What I liked the most were the manoeuvers of docking or undocking with tugboats, pilotage and mooring. Then I moved on to the construction of first static and then dynamic scale models, successfully building a tugboat with Schottel propulsion. Back in 2004, I met Manuel Hernandez, Boluda tugboat Base Manager, who inspired me with photography by first capturing ships and participating in a boat website (that unfortunately no longer exists). In 2012, I began to photograph the pilots from a small boat and then had the opportunity to embark with them, discovering the images that have driven me to carry out my own project.
Is it essential to have good photographic equipment?
I think you have to have good equipment and goals that fit your needs. I would however discourage multi-purpose lenses (or also known as “all terrain”). I prefer a short and medium range lens combined with an optical zoom.
What are the keys to making a good photograph?
In my experience, digital photography allows us to make several shots with a chance to give it my own perspective at the development stage. I add my own character in the framings, cropping, contrasts (etc.), without fear but with respect. I do not intend to bend the rules however, I am not afraid to defy or personalise them.
My hobby starts very early in life, as a child, when I visited the port with my parents every week. Back then, one could access these areas whilst having a walk in the port, which gave us an opportunity to view the ships moored at the quay.
I guess your interest in photography has taken you to many ports across the world. Which would you highlight and why?
I would outline Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp, Shanghai and Algeciras. Rotterdam is a giant terminal and perfect to photograph as everything is visible from land. You have cruises in the centre and one can visit the great terminals of Maasvlakte. There is also public transport that accesses the entire port. I thank Loodswezen, Rotterdam pilots, to allow me to spend a day with them, which was unforgettable experience. Hamburg and Antwerp are also very large and have tours, facilitating good photography of the terminal, ships and facilities. I went with a Chinese photographer to Yangshan terminal (Shanghai) where we hired a boat for the visit. This is a mega-terminal that ships everything we buy worldwide, from the cheapest of goods to the most chic. Of course, Algeciras is a great strategic port together with its terminals, refinery, bunkering, …a great bay.
Which other ports do you plan to visit?
In September 2019 I will visit the port of Odessa (Ukraine) and by 2020 I am planning to visit an Asian port.
What are the challenges when starting a photographic project?
The first item on the list is the budget, especially when everything you do is self-financed. However, leaving that aside, a very important challenge is to be clear about your work and be open to improvement. One must bear in mind that public entities (port authorities) are quite strict in issuing permissions. I can only be grateful to private companies, as they have made this project possible by giving me support and permits.
What is your favourite ship?
I like them all because they are all manned by teams of people. I really like Heavy Lift ships or those vessels transporting special loads.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Boluda Corporacion Maritima, Amparo Valero, Gerardo Alvarez, Amador Gutierrez, Corporation of Pilots of Valencia, Algeciras Pilots, Valencia Pilots, College of Harbour Pilots and all the people who give me their support and permits to make this project a reality: www.harbourpilot.es
René Kolman Talks Dredging: Policies, Techniques, Training, Environmental Sustainability, Equipment And More
René Kolman is Secretary General at the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC), the global umbrella organisation for contractors in the private dredging industry. With over one hundred main and associated members, IADC is dedicated to not only promoting the skills, integrity and reliability of its associates, but also the dredging industry in general. Kolman takes a leading role in promoting the industry’s long-standing commitment to environment and sustainability. He studied at the Nautical School in Rotterdam and holds a degree in Economics from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
What are your main responsibilities as Secretary General at IADC?
I am in charge of developing and managing the dissemination of information about dredging and its positive role in society. Through seminars, publications and presentations at conferences, IADC offers support to port authorities, developers and stakeholders on a diversity of subjects such as technology, environment and climate change. I represent the international dredging industry through collaborations with the International Association of Port and Harbours (IAPH), The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) and the World Dredging Association (WODA). I am a member of several IAPH and PIANC committees as well as PIANC’s Permanent Task Group Climate Change. I am also responsible for all activities organised within the association such as educational activities for employees of member companies, multiple working groups at sister associations and the Annual General Meeting.
What are the main functions of IADC and how do members benefit from the Association?
IADC has five core functions: informing, promoting, educating, networking and connecting. The publication of the “Terra et Aqua” journal is the most prominent activity with regard to informing. It is the only near scientific journal on the subject of dredging. In addition to this, there is a very extensive knowledge base on our website. If you can’t find the answer to your question, just send an email or give us a call and we will get the answer for you from experts in our network of members.
Promotion is done through articles in different magazines as well as by giving presentations at conferences. There is lot of outdated ideas still circulating about the dredging industry and its methods, and our goal is to update these outdated perceptions. The book “Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure” (DfSI), published with CEDA, demonstrates that the dredging industry is the frontrunner thanks to its sustainable attitude. IADC organises seminars on dredging to inform its participants about what dredging is really about. For example, what environmental footprint does a dredging project have? And what types of equipment can be used? Based on the DfSI book, we are developing a new course which explains the new design philosophy. Instead of focusing on compensation and mitigation of negative impacts we try to maximise the value of a marine infrastructure work in a sustainable way. We are convinced this will be the way forward in all kinds of dredging projects.
We have a lot of interaction with related industries. We are a small sector but with a large economic and social impact. Our activities will have much more impact when we team up with other organisations. For this, we participate in working groups by PIANC and IAPH. Recently, we organised a workshop at the Global Session of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment in the lead up to the Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly together with PIANC and CEDA.
IADC has 11 members which are all privately-owned companies who work all around the globe. Their employees meet in working groups to work on the “Dredging in Figures” publication, the cost standards for dredging equipment, the development of safety standards or during educational activities.
What are the main points to look out for before initiating a dredging project?
The recently published DfSI book introduces a new design philosophy. When initiating a dredging project, you have to look at all three pillars of sustainability. It is important to consider nature-based solutions for your infrastructure demand. It is not only more sustainable but projects with nature-based solutions are easier to finance. How do the impacts of the project interact? And how can the overall value be maximised? It is necessary to identify all stakeholders upfront and have them at the table from the very early beginning of the project. It will cost an extra effort at the start but you will benefit from it in all stages of the project. Execution will be smoother as risks have been identified and discussed properly, and the support of the public will increase.
What is adaptive management in a dredging project and what are the benefits?
Dredging and placement projects are often permitted with license conditions based on an extensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This may result in strict thresholds to assure environmental performance with levels deemed to be acceptable, based on the findings of impact assessments.
In other cases, less clear environmental limits are specified. This is sometimes due to the level of uncertainty about effect on and responses by nature caused by inability to fully appreciate and judge environmental conditions (sensitivity of receptors) and potential project effects (vulnerability to changes), or for other reasons such as sharing responsibilities and risks. Effects on the environment can be both negative as well as positive and monitoring of both outcomes is sometimes required, although monitoring of potential negative impacts is more common to ensure protection of the environment.
For those dredging projects where the outcome is less certain, or accompanied by a low confidence in the prediction of effects, a sequence of more intense and targeted monitoring, impact assessment and management actions might be implemented. Where this is the case, there may be benefits in adopting an adaptive management strategy whereby the management of the project can be adapted based on the ongoing findings of the monitoring programme. This approach can benefit the sensitive receptor as management can be adjusted to ensure full protection. The project owner can also benefit as overly conservative mitigation measures can be downsized during the course of the ongoing monitoring. This sequence of activities is jointly understood as ‘adaptive management', although interpretation and ways of implementation may vary considerably between projects, and even between different stakeholders on any project. Adaptive management helps to achieve desired goals by addressing uncertainty, incorporating flexibility and robustness into project design, and using new information to inform decision-making as the project develops. Goals include an efficient project design and streamlining implementation protocols to minimise waste of resources which, when holistically viewed, could decrease the project's overall environmental footprint. For more information about the subject in the DfSI book. https://www.sustainabledredging-book.com/about-the-book.html
What are the most common dredging techniques?
The characteristics of the dredging process change considerably from one project to another.
However, a number of different phases that are common to almost any dredging process regardless of the type of equipment used for its execution, can be identified. These phases are:
The first phase of a dredging cycle is dislodging of the in-situ material. This dislodging process is essential as removing the whole volume en-masse is impossible. The excavation process can be relatively simple in the case of soft sediments but sometimes, where the removal of hard rock is concerned, it can be difficult. Dislodging is generally carried out by a cutting device such as cutterhead, draghead or the cutting edge of a bucket. Sometimes water jets are used for this purpose.
During the second phase of a dredging cycle, the dislodged material is raised. This can be done either mechanically or hydraulically. Using the mechanical alternative, the material is raised in a grab or bucket (e.g. backhoe or bucket ladder dredgers). In the second case, hydraulic dredgers (e.g. suction, cutter suction, trailing suction hopper dredgers) use a suction pipe. The dislodged material is then sucked into the suction mouth by means of a centrifugal pump. The material is further raised through the suction pipe towards the pump and, from there, through the discharge line to the deck of the dredger.
The third phase of the dredging cycle is the horizontal transport of the excavated and raised material from the dredging area to the site for further treatment or final relocation. This can be achieved mainly by one of three methods:
The final phase of a dredging sequence is the relocation of the excavated material to its final destination or to an intermediate site for further treatment.
There is a current overcapacity in the dredging market. Do you foresee this to continue in the medium / long term?
The IADC’s members have invested a lot in modern equipment dedicated to their specific tasks in the last 10 years. IADC members are very engaged in reducing their environmental footprint. The first dual fuel hopper dredgers are already on the job. On the other hand, the “Dredging in Figures” shows a decrease in the market over the last couple of years. China and the United States are closed markets for dredging companies from outside these countries, so a large 'piece of the pie' is not accessible. The drivers of the industry are world trade, coastal protection, energy, tourism and urban development. Over the long-term, the signs for these drivers all show green.
What markets have more potential over the coming years?
History shows that the focal point of the industry’s activities shift all over the world. In the early 2000s, the Middle East was the centre of activities while ten years later, it was Australia with port development projects to export resources like iron ore and LNG. Looking to the drivers, one might expect more coastal protection projects due to sea level rise and subsiding land in low-lying deltas. An increasing number of people are living in urban areas near the coast. To accommodate all these people, urban development projects are necessary. The UN predicts an increase of the population in Africa, resulting in an increase of imports and exports through ports. An increase in the size of vessels makes deeper ports necessary. This will result in work for dredging companies.
How is the dredging industry renewing the technical skill sets of their crew and develop new people?
The dredging industry spends a lot of time and effort to keep their crew and staff well-trained. As for job training, the crew is trained on simulators for different types of equipment like a hopper, cutter or backhoe. This is not only done at the headquarters but also with mobile simulators on large projects. Several members of IADC have started to use Virtual Reality for training purposes. There is hardly any other production industry that has approximately 50% of its staff educated at a Bachelors or higher degree level. It is not uncommon to have PhD-level colleagues within the dredging industry. Developments in digitisation happen quickly, and with state of the art equipment, crew and staff have to be trained continuously to keep companies in a leading position in the market.
Better-trained crew reduces risks which leads to better results and less accidents. Training is not only done for professional competences but also for safety. The overall culture in the industry focuses more and more on safety. Personnel is the most valuable asset of dredging companies and they can make all the difference among competitors. The importance of safety has long been recognised by all IADC members and has resulted in a large reduction of ‘lost time injuries’.
Please talk about the safety and environmental regulation standards applied to the industry and if there are any challenges:
The current safety culture was sparked by the oil and gas industry some 20 years ago. The dredging companies were only allowed to do work for the oil and gas industry when they complied with the sector’s safety standards. Today, safety is paramount in the entire dredging industry. Safety culture and standards of the larger dredging companies are sometimes ahead of those in the offshore industry. IADC recently started a working group to set minimum standards for maintenance yards. Members in the association share experiences to learn from each other with the single aim of making the working environment safer and reducing the number of incidents. Every year, IADC grants a Safety Award to an organisation increasing safety in the dredging industry. Conceived by dredging companies or suppliers, nominations include projects, vessels, safeguards or innovations in other working environments. IADC believes there are many exemplary innovations to make the process safer and its award recognises their benefits to the industry as a whole. The deadline to submit nominations to compete for this year’s Safety Award is 1 July 2019.
IADC recently published the book “Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure” in collaboration with CEDA. In the past, the dredging industry’s focus was on mitigating and compensating for a project’s negative effects. In this book, a new design philosophy is presented which focuses on creating as much added value as possible. A marine infrastructure project has to create value in all three pillars of sustainability: economic (which is very often the main purpose of the project), social and environmental.
Contractors were at the cradle of nature-based solutions which perfectly fit into this new philosophy. Nature can support in realising new infrastructure for a win-win situation. Major environmental issues include emissions, sound and turbidity. To assess the influence of the work process on these three elements, it is necessary to understand the natural system in which is operated. A zero-base impact assessment is evident and the use of adaptive management makes the environmental monitoring efficient and relevant. It provides essential data to adjust the work process to meet environmental regulations.
Technology plays an important part in dredging. Please tell us about any recent innovative ideas that members of IADC have applied to the industry:
Most of the innovations are developed in projects. The contractor has to adjust his or her way of working on a project to meet environmental regulations. Involved parties have to discover how processes and equipment can be adapted to meet the requirements which are already set. This will result in incremental innovations. You don’t see real game changers in the industry. Dredging means loosen the material, lift it out of the water, transport it and deposit the material. This has already been done for centuries in a mechanical way and since the last century, in a hydraulic way. The size of hoppers has increased over the past decades. Today, we have two cutters which are being built with more than a 50% increase in capacity compared with the present largest. But there is no real difference apart from the size.
A lot of scientific research has been conducted and this has resulted in a better understanding of the process and a lot of small changes in equipment. The impact of the dredging process on the environment is better understood and we know how to reduce the impact. The newly designed overflow and green valve have resulted in less turbidity and air entrainment. Crew can sleep on board of cutters because the accommodations are protected from vibrations with an air isolation. These may seem small but they are very important improvements to both the equipment and process. On the other hand, innovative ideas share a common fate: innovations are typically kept secret until they eventually become common knowledge. So maybe we can expect a real game changer in the near future.
For more information about IADC please visit https://www.iadc-dredging.com/
Kris Kosmala Talks Smart Ports: Ideal Port Ecosystem,Transformative IT, Machine Learning & AI, Terminal Bottlenecks And Future Disruptive Technologies
Kris Kosmala is Director of Smart Port Operations Digital Solutions at Royal HaskoningDHV, an independent international engineering and project management consultancy dedicated to leading the way in sustainable development and innovation. Royal HaskoningDHV has over 6,000 employees based across 100 permanent offices in more than 30 countries on projects in some 150 countries.
Kris is a recognised professional of applied technology in the area of transport and logistics, with an eye for optimisation and digitasiation. As an experienced conference speaker, Kris travels the world talking about advanced innovation in the supply chain.
What would the ideal port ecosystem look like?
It would be always accessible for unloading/loading operations to vessels no matter if a vessel arrives on time or out of schedule. It would collect all the data from its grounds, machinery and people and determine right execution of its operations with minimal human intervention in the decision making process. It would process and expose information to port’s/terminal’s partners in the format that is useful to them, or ideally, directly to their own automated systems. It would be always self-improving by removing waste from its operations and achieving this by thorough use of and reliance on self-learning algorithms. It would operate with minimal impact on the environment surrounding the port. It would perform rain or shine producing the same, consistent in time and quality, output as expressed in time-to-complete cargo end-to-end (door-to-hold/hold-to-door) move.
What are the main challenges for ports when considering a digitisation project to transform the supply chain?
While the ports are at the intersection of maritime supply chains, those supply chains are not the only ones that the companies might be operating. Thus, we cannot really talk about transformation of the entire supply. The ports don't have a good sense of what needs to happen and when in each supply chain, relying on shipments arriving or departing on ships. The second problem is that ports face competition from carriers and freight forwarders who have the same desire of shaping and enhancing productivity of the supply chains of their customers. What the ports could definitely do is to work with the shippers/beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) to match data of shipment arrivals/departures with shippers’ transit time information or some other critical dates by when the shipment should arrive/leave the port. The data does not have to expose carrier or handler (freight forwarder) information, just the anonymised and aggregated data facts allowing shippers/BCOs to manage their own planning.
Generally, what transformative IT solutions have the greatest impact on the company's "bottom line"?
There are two levers related to profit: increasing revenues and/or decreasing costs. Increasing revenues relates to better understanding of what port resources are valuable to carriers/logistics companies and differentiating pricing for those services based on typical and atypical scales.
This is called price discrimination and typical pricing schemes used across many industries leverage mathematics and statistics and are quite complex. Ports typically employ very simplistic price discrimination method, often based on the heuristic experience of their commercial managers. Instead, they should look at revenue optimisation tools that would be more efficient in uncovering revenue leakage and help the commercial team in carrier negotiations. The cost side is a bit more complex. Landside infrastructure represents long-term capital outlay both for the purchase and maintenance of the fixed and moving equipment. These big expenses don’t show up very often and it is pretty hard to save money on the initial purchase, but switching from predictive maintenance to prescriptive (condition-based) maintenance has proven to be a real money saver. Power consumption (electricity and equipment fuels) are another good area of spend optimisation. Advanced engine controls on moving equipment cut energy and/or fuel consumption, if supported by data analysis of the movements of the machines in relation to the tasks performed and, possibly, human driver behaviour. Another big area of savings is electricity used to light the terminals. Leveraging concepts from smart buildings, supported by their digital twins, allows differentiation of electric light intensity throughout granularly defined zones of the terminal area. The last area relates to cost of workforce. While workforce reduction may not be possible, better scheduling based on demand data analysis using machine learning has shown possible reduction in workforce costs of between 5-15% without actual reductions in workforce, often a very contentious area of negotiations between ports and labour unions.
It appears that everyone has an idea of what a "smart port" should be however, is there a clear roadmap on how to get there?
Hardly a detailed map exists and unfortunately, the ports were sold the story that only information technology and equipment automation projects make the port smart. It seems that every vendor of some form of automation or information technology has some idea of what the smart port could be, but that smartness is only limited to the actual area addressed by the solutions of that specific vendor. Ports don’t work like that. There are always knock on effects on areas/silos adjacent to the one being “smartened”. The projects done by IT departments could cause wobbles in operations, while operational improvements can cause disconnect with inflexible IT solutions. If there is a need to have an independent implementation party that holistically considers impacts of all changes and properly sequences implementations of agreed program of improvements, it is right here in the area of making the port smarter. That type of advisor can determine the trade-offs between technology and engineering solutions, be more precise about detailing the bottlenecks, understanding how solving one bottleneck may create another one upstream or downstream in the processes, and much less biased about which approach can allow faster extraction of the benefits, something that purveyors of automation and IT technologies might never be able to offer.
Please talk to us about the latest artificial intelligence (AI) trends and which applications you consider more practical:
AI is not one thing. Major branches of AI include machine learning from existing data, algorithm learning on its own (deep learning), natural language processing, and image classification. They are all useful to ports and terminals. Today, AI is used on land in container stack planning, equipment routing within port/terminal boundaries, ship-to-shore (STS) trolley movement management, container classification, berth allocation, mooring decisions support, and lighting management. On water, we use AI to recognise and instruct vessels’ movements, as well as, monitor vessel behaviour (a.k.a. surveillance). When it comes to deciding where it is most practical to apply AI, I always ask what the port is trying to change about itself. For example: do they want to be accessible to vessels? This area consists of preventing the need to drop anchors while waiting for berths, reducing the need for unnecessary vessel manoeuvers, getting the lines fast in the shortest time possible, and servicing the vessels in the shortest time possible. This calls for extensive use of AI to determine right timing and sequencing of the visits and then using mathematical optimisation to tune the allocations of necessary resources to achieve those expectations in real time.
What are the capabilities of predictive capacity AI?
AI, or specifically speaking machine learning branch off AI, has nothing to do with predicting anything. Predictive analysis uses the data that the company already has to predict data that the company does not yet have. In that sense, the predictive analysis does not predict anything. It simply applies theory of probabilities and statistics to derive what might happen, with the probability the analyst or planner suggests based on their human experience. Sound machine learning is predicated on detailed, reliable and cleansed data, something that many terminals or ports may not have. Thus, an off-hand answer could be “capabilities are unlimited”, yet reality of predictive analytics often fails to meet the expectations. I would recommend reaching out to experts and trialing predictive analytics in some areas of business planning where accuracy of the predictions could be easily compared with the actual results.
In your experience, where are the usual port terminal bottlenecks?
There are throughout. From mistiming operations and speed of STSs with availability of the ground equipment moving the cargo after/before STS; container stack disorganisation requiring more time to get the container from the stack onto the ground moving equipment; methods of transferring containers from the grounds onto the next mode (rail car, truck chassis, or barge); and traffic conflicts within the container grounds causing equipment movements that are not fluid. Last but not least are the scheduling conflicts between the equipment needed and the workforce that is required to operate it safely and consistently. Removing those bottlenecks may not only require assistance of advanced IT solutions, but also changes to operational processes and re-engineering the terminal's design.
Terminal operators have an operational and commercial drive whilst complying with customs regulations that at times can slow down the supply chain. How can digitisation & optimisation assist bridging this gap?
This is very hard. We can think of port community systems which inform all the parties touching the cargo where that cargo is and making sure it moves in correct sequence between those touchpoints. Ports and terminals can collect and distribute that information, but ultimately, the slowest touchpoint and its operator will determine the total time between the landing of the cargo and handoff to the shipper. Single window solutions integrated into the port community systems would have the highest impact making sure that documentation necessary for cargo to arrive/leave the port are electronically lined up and ready for actions at each touchpoint. Obviously, for automated operations using electronic documents we need all documents to be in digital form. Even one party insisting on using non-digital media will cause consistent delays to cargo processing. Mathematical optimisation will not play a significant role here, as a well implemented workflow system can handle the tasks of moving data and information in correct order between the touchpoints.
What is the next technological disruptive idea that could impact shipping?
All disruptive technologies of today, including blockchain, are really technologies of yesterday for which we finally found good use in shipping. Image recognition and classification used natively in terminal operating system (TOS) would have positive impact.
Natural language processing would positively impact port customer services including communications with the vessels and with the operators of land transport modes. Last but not least intelligent robotics – land machines operating on the grounds of the terminals being able to communicate with each other and make decisions on work handoffs thus removing centralised optimisation would provide something really impactful, but that’s probably far off as we need to sort out universal interfaces between AI’s implementations of various equipment vendors.
Is the future all about fully automated processes or will humans and manual labour still have a role to play?
Humans will play a role in terminal operations for yet long time. We have too many gaps between elements of all port & terminal processes that can be fully automated and made autonomous in their thinking and execution. Sometimes, fixing a problem or a bottleneck in terminal operation requires human ingenuity and situational awareness that is impossible to translate into an algorithm. I would expect the machines to fill all positions of decision advisors, sounding boards if you will, in situations in which the human beings would try to speculate a bit, or a lot. Call it by the old-fashioned term “decision support”, but we are not talking about a dashboard or a report tool, we are talking about the machine/robot being coordinated with the human and processing infinitely more information faster to derive the right answer, something that the human mind is not capable of achieving. That change in how the advice will be generated and given requires a different level of sophistication from the workforce co-habiting in the same workspace with machines. That in itself will be a big adjustment, something that the ports/terminals considering full automation have to plan ahead for.
For more information about Royal HaskoningDHV please click here.
Sinclair Browne, Chief Executive Port Of Inverness, Talks Port Operations & Technology, Scottish Economy & Maritime Sector, Brexit And More
Sinclair Browne is Chief Executive of the Port of Inverness, situated in the city of Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. It is operated as a Trust Port under the control of Inverness Harbour Trust which was constituted by an Act of Parliament in the 19th century. Ships have been calling at Inverness for hundred's of years, dating all the way back to 1249 making it one of the oldest continuous businesses operating in the Highlands.
The port is one of Scotland’s most sheltered natural deep water harbours, lying seven miles south-west of Chanonry Point in the Inverness Firth. As a major facilitator in the distribution of goods throughout the wider Highland Region, the port continues to attract new business across all sectors, including freight, renewables and cruise ships.
What are your main responsibilities as Chief Executive of the Port of Inverness?
I head up the Executive Team at the port to oversee all aspects of its operation. I sit on the board in an executive capacity and am also responsible for ensuring that we meet all our statutory obligations. The Port of Inverness is run as a Trust Port and its enabling legislation was laid down by an Act of Parliament in 1847, although we can trace our records back to the 12th Century. This makes us one of the oldest businesses in the North of Scotland and I am conscious of the heritage and reputation that the port has built up over all these years.
I am also responsible for our main business development activities seeking out new opportunities to expand the port’s business whether working with existing port users or seeking to attract new opportunities.
There is a board of eight non-executive Trustees who meet regularly throughout the year and are responsible for setting out the strategic direction of the port.
What is your port's main trades?
Main trades include the import of fuel – Inverness is the main distribution centre for fuel in the Highlands and the fuel is offloaded from coastal tankers to the adjacent depot for ongoing distribution. We also import packaged timber, road salt (for use by Highland Council), carbon blocks and round logs. Over the last few years we have been very busy handling onshore wind farm components, typically tower sections, blades and nacelles as well as other supplementary machinery. This summer alone, over 60 complete wind turbines came through the port for onward delivery to site. We also handle the export of wood pellets and Sterling Board as well as other specific one-off project cargoes. Agricultural products are also handled, typically grain and barley.
Being the Capital City of the Highlands, Inverness is a popular destination for cruise vessels. This year, 2019, we are due to welcome over 800 passengers to the Highlands via cruise ships. The port is not only well placed for access to all the main tourist attractions – it is the closest port to Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle as well as Cawdor Castle and the Speyside Distilleries. The world-famous Castle Stuart Golf Links is within 15 minutes’ drive from the port. This year we will also be used as a turnaround port where the cruise company can take advantage of the excellent communication links as well as the variety of quality suppliers on the doorstep.
Cruise vessels can either berth alongside or alternatively anchor and have a tendered visit. A major attraction of a tendered visit is the opportunity for passengers to see and experience the famous Moray Firth Dolphins, a major tourist attraction.
Your port is one of the most sheltered and naturally deep in Scotland. Please tell us about this competitive advantage:
This is an advantage in that it means we are normally open for business irrespective of the weather. Once entering the Inverness Firth, ships are sheltered from the worst of the weather in the wider Moray Firth area. Ships generally have a sheltered approach to the Port which means deadlines can be met.
How many port calls do you receive per year and what is the maximum vessel size you can service at present?
Vessel visits vary year to year but on average over the last few years we can expect around 225 visits. Typically, these vessels tend to be normal coastal vessels seen throughout the UK and Europe undertaking short sea shipping routes. Vessels tend to be from all parts of Europe although we have occasional visitors from Russia and Turkey.
As regards restrictions, commercial shipping to/from the port is normally carried out from two hours prior to High Water up to High Water. The maximum vessel dimensions are for dry bulk vessels 100 metres though we can take up to 125 metres on occasions. For fuel oil tankers the restriction is 93 metres. Maximum air draught at MHWS is 29 metres to clear Kessock Bridge. Larger cruise vessels can anchor in the Inverness Firth and tender their passengers ashore.
What role does technology play in port operations?
Technology is playing an increasing role in port operations. We have a safety management system that was introduced three years ago which has been a considerable benefit. We are currently looking at several other technological advances across both our maritime and non-maritime operations.
Please talk to us about the importance of the maritime sector and the Scottish economy:
The maritime sector is extremely important to the Scottish economy as it is responsible for the movement of goods to and from Scotland. On a wider basis, an economic impact study shows that collectively the industry employs 101,000 people, handles almost 500 million tonnes of freight and contributes £7.6 billion to the economy. In total UK ports handle 95% of all UK trade.
The Port of Inverness is also a 50% stakeholder in Inverness Marina, a purpose built 147 berth marina that has been full since it first opened in 2010. The marina offers comprehensive facilities not only for berth holders but also visiting craft.
Overall the marine leisure industry is a significant activity at several UK ports and smaller harbours. The sector has a revenue of over £3 billion and over 1.1 million marine leisure craft, with over half privately owned by individuals. It is also estimated that each year over 14 million people participate in yachting and marine leisure activities.
What are your thoughts on Brexit and the potential impact on the import/export of goods?
Brexit is in everyone’s thoughts currently. The position seems to change daily and until we get clarity then we will have to plan accordingly. Speaking to a wide range of businesses it would appear that there will be opportunities for some whilst others are uncertain as to how it will impact upon their businesses. The major ports on the south coast will be impacted though measures are being to be put in place to mitigate any delays and impacts.
With just over a month to go to the withdrawal date businesses are seriously considering the impact of a “no deal” scenario. Our senior executive team are meeting regularly to monitor developments.
What is the port's main future growth prospects?
There are a number of opportunities that we are keen to expand upon. Given our close proximity to a whole range of tourist attractions we are keen to promote the port to the cruise market and in particular the smaller expedition type cruise ships. The appeal is that we can offer an exclusive berth and a bespoke personal service that has generated a positive response from visitors so far.
We are also keen to work and support our existing port users wherever possible to grow and expand their businesses. In addition, we are actively promoting the port and our services to potential port users capitalising upon the green credentials of shipping as well as its cost effectiveness. There are several largescale infrastructure projects schedule for the city where the port can offer unrivalled access and storage facilities for contractors.
We are also looking at developing our non-maritime assets for the benefit of not only of our stakeholders but the wider Highland Region. We have a large landholding where there is the opportunity for redevelopment with the ability to capitalise on the extensive water frontage.
For more information about the Port of Inverness please click here.
Mark Dickinson, General Secretary Nautilus International, Talks Seafarers' Pay, Working Conditions, Connectivity & Technology, Criminalisation, Gender Diversity And More
Mark Dickinson, is General Secretary of the trade union Nautilus International, with members in waterborne transport sectors all over the world – from deepsea oil tankers to river cruises. Mark has spent over 40 years in the maritime industry, which began when he joined the British Merchant Navy as a Navigating Cadet in 1978 at the age of 16. In 1983, having secured his Officer of the Watch Certificate he moved ashore to study and gained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Maritime Studies from the University of Wales. In 1992, he gained a master's degree with distinction in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics.
Mark joined Nautilus International in 2000 (then known as NUMAST) as an executive officer. He previously worked for the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) in two spells from 1987 to 1991 and 1992 to 2000, from 1995 he was the ITF's Assistant General Secretary with responsibility for maritime activities. During his time at both the ITF and Nautilus International, Mark was heavily involved in the development of the Maritime Labour Convention – the seafarers' Bill of Rights, from the initial concept to its adoption in 2006.
Amongst other successes, our work over the past year has included securing improvements in pay and conditions for seafarers, influencing discussions at the highest level including the IMO and governments on issues that affect seafarers including, fatigue, maritime safety and connectivity for seafarers at sea. We also negotiate collective bargaining agreements to protect and enhance the working conditions of thousands of maritime and shipping professionals.
What does the Merchant Naval Medal award mean to you?
It is a great honour to receive the medal and I am humbled by the support I’ve received from both my colleagues and peers across the industry.
Whilst I’m delighted to be recognised alongside many esteemed recipients past and present, I want to show my appreciation for the support I’ve received from those I work with at Nautilus, our members and my family, who have all made significant contributions that made the award possible – without that support my mission is impossible.
How would you describe the working conditions of seafarers?
Since the launch of our jobs, skills, the future campaign in 2015, we’ve been lobbying the government and industry to secure improved working conditions for our members which has resulted in some real improvements for those working in maritime – just check out the our award winning publication the Telegraph and our website for evidence of those wins. Despite this, there’s still a lot of work to be done to bring the conditions faced by seafarers, and others in the maritime and shipping industry, in line with workers ashore.
Physical fatigue and mental health not only impacts on individuals, but also on the vessel and wider economy. It’s a very serious issue which must be addressed, and measures taken for the issue to be alleviated. At Nautilus International we have a 24/7 helpline, a worldwide network of lawyers and are part of the Nautilus Federation – a family of global maritime trade unions, this ensures that our members can always find the support they need, when they need it, wherever they are in the world. We are also developing a new mobile app which will give members instant access to advice and guidance following an incident.
I also find it shocking that in this day and age, access to the internet at sea is not viewed as a basic requirement. At home we take this for granted and being able to contact anyone in the world at the touch of a button with devices in our pockets is fantastic. But why shouldn’t seafarers also be able to do this when they’re working away for months on end? We’re working hard to improve this situation, allowing seafarers to feel less isolated when working at sea.
Generally, is it fair to say pay is aligned with the role of being a seafarer?
Being a seafarer is a unique profession, of which there are few parallels and often is a labour of love. Pay is just another area in which there is often a discrepancy with on-shore roles, despite the challenging and critical nature of the job.
Regulations allow seafarers to work over 90 hours a week on contracts that stipulate that they could be away from home for up to a year at a time. Despite these sacrifices, unfortunately many seafarers are still not paid a fair days wage for a fair days work. Flag states continue to allow employers to import cheap labour to undercut their own nationals and, in recent years unfavourable market conditions have placed further downward pressure on wages in shipping. This makes pay negotiations very difficult.
In November, I led the seafarers’ delegation on behalf of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) at talks within the ILO Joint Maritime Commission to call for a raise in the global minimum wage which applies to seafarers (specifically for ABs). Around 1,650,000 seafarers crew the world’s ships, with many of these working very long hours, in dangerous conditions. And for some, this work is in return for a pittance.
Although not many European seafarers will actually be paid the ILO minimum, it is the floor upon which many other pay bargaining agreements are built. Therefore, it is vital that it rises in line with the general rise in the cost of living and in real terms too.
I am pleased that we managed to secure an increase in the minimum - it will rise to USD 641 per month over the next two years. However, shipowners need to remember that wage agreements like this outline the minimum amount of pay seafarers should receive – not the maximum. When you consider what seafarers endure at work and the efficiencies that the Merchant Navy has achieved in recent decades, as well as the importance of shipping to the global community, it is clear that this increase is justified.
What more can the industry do to support their well-being?
Despite seafarers bringing us 95% of everything we consume as a nation, sadly there are still a number of areas of improvement to ensure professionals in the industry have the opportunity to work, progress in their careers and feel protected, safe and happy in their jobs.
A simple bullet list of easy-to-implement improvements would be:
¨ Arranging working patterns so that they are not detrimental to physical and mental health.
¨ Improving standards of accommodation.
¨ Providing adequate leisure and exercise facilities.
¨ Providing a nutritious diet.
¨ Reducing stress by providing adequate resources
¨ Removing the culture of blame and finger pointing.
¨ Reduce administrative burden and unnecessary interference often imposed from ashore.
Are IMO/ILO Guidelines of Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident fully adhered to in practical terms?
No, Nautilus’ recent survey on criminalisation showed that 87% of seafarers still fear being criminalised whilst carrying out their work. The fair treatment of seafarers is one of our biggest priorities at the moment as we are continuing to see people disinclined to embark on a career at sea due to the danger of criminalisation.
The criminalisation of the maritime profession has a damaging impact on not only the individuals who can suffer unfair treatment, but also on the recruitment and retention of skilled and experienced personnel. Sadly, seafarers remain at high risk of being treated as scapegoats after accidents at sea, and through our campaign, we hope to highlight the issue at the highest levels of government and within the industry, in addition to providing practical support to ensure that members’ rights are protected.
How will Brexit affect the UK maritime sector?
Brexit is going to have an impact on the maritime sector, as it will with the vast majority of other industries. Given the huge contribution shipping makes to the economy, the government needs to place the maritime industry at the heart of discussions.
The real frustration is the lack of understanding of how things will look after the UK’s departure and in the years that follow as we are still with less than three months to go staring at the possibility of a no deal exit from the EU. Britain depends on shipping and we need clarity and certainty for the years ahead, to ensure that Brexit does not create new barriers to our members continued employment. This is why Nautilus has led efforts to ensure that UK issued CoC’s will continue to be recognised by EU member states post-Brexit.
UK seafarers will need support to ensure they have the best chances of securing training, decent jobs and career progression at sea and ashore, both within the UK maritime cluster and beyond. Whatever your views on the merits of the EU, it does uphold and enforce significant worker employment and social rights and standards including working time and paid leave and has been responsible for introducing legislation covering minimum standards and workers’ rights. These rights must be protected and guaranteed once we leave the EU.
Technology; threat or complement to seafarers' jobs?
It is absolutely vital that people are not forgotten in the scramble to bring smart ships onto the seas. The debate so far has concentrated too much on technological and economic factors. Properly introduced, automation and digital technologies could transform shipping in a positive way – making it more rewarding, healthier and safer and of course more efficient – but managed poorly, they could undermine safety and erode the essential base of maritime skills, knowledge and expertise. This is no kneejerk opposition to automation, but rather a genuine desire to see it used in a way that improves the safety and efficiency of the shipping industry and the working lives of all within it.
Is gender diversity at sea a reality?
I think the industry understands that there is a problem in attracting women into considering careers in the maritime industry. Accepting this is the first step but we must work together to address this. At Nautilus, we are keen to work to support female maritime professionals and encourage more women into the profession.
Through Maritime UK, we recently teamed up with almost 40 leading UK shipowners and maritime industry groups to launch a new initiative to increase the number of women in shipping, signing a pledge to improve fairness, equality and inclusion in the sector.
Women currently account for just 3% of the seafaring workforce and we need to increase this. Given that many other similarly traditionally male-dominated industries have managed to turn this around, I see no reason why the maritime industry can’t as well.
For more information about Nautilus International please click here.
Adolfo Utor, President of Baleària, Talks Innovation, Efficiency, Social Responsibility, Free Trade, LNG And More
Adolfo Utor is the President and main shareholder of the Baleària, Spain’s leading shipping company in the transport of passengers and cargo between the Balearic Islands and the Iberian Peninsula (through the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Denia). Baleària are one of the largest operators in the Strait of Gibraltar connecting Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands with the ports of the Peninsula. Internationally, Baleària have an ambitious expansion plan, with operations extending to Morocco, Algeria, US and the Caribbean.
Utor, always linked to the shipping industry, also chairs the Commission of Regular Lines of ANAVE (association of which he was president from 2009 to 2015) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Valencian Association of Employers (AVE), among other high-profile positions. He is also the Academic Director of the Chair of Business Culture of the University-Business Foundation (ADEIT) of the University of Valencia.
Our success is a result of our own convictions, in the clarity with which we approach our transcendent mission each day, and our ability to adapt to change by being innovative.
What are your main objectives for Baleària?
Baleària has two main objectives; firstly, respond to our stakeholders’ expectations by ensuring competitiveness; secondly, to fulfil our transcendent mission in a sustainable way: unite territories by sea and facilitate free trade, the mobility of people, goods, knowledge and culture, and thereby contribute to the progress and welfare of citizens of the territories in which we operate. Therefore, our objectives are to deploy a fleet that is increasingly eco-efficient and to provide excellent services to our customers, generating resources to continue doing what we like the most, building ships and opening new lines.
We are one of the pioneering shipping companies worldwide in the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), applied to maritime transport. We have been promoting these types of projects for over six years now;
Baleària’s new LNG fast ferry, currently under construction
a few examples are that we are currently building two ferries powered by this clean energy with an investment in excess of €200M, engine re-fitting for six ferries of our fleet and the commissioning of the first gas generator on-board a passenger ferry last year. In addition, we have strategic alliances with other companies that also work in this area, namely Naturgy, Wärtsilä o Rolls Royce.
It is one of Baleària’s strategic goals is to grow the group’s business project by focusing on and expanding in foreign markets. Passengers coming from the North African lines – where we have an ambitious expansion plan, both in Morocco and in Algeria – have increased by 17% over the last year.
We also work on the implementation of social responsibility policies that allow us to contribute to the development of the territories where we operate. In this respect, we have reinforced our commitment to sustainability by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, in order to continue innovating and generating wealth in favour of people and the environment.
How is Baleària different from the competition?
Our competitiveness is based on innovation and high capacity to adapt to new market demands, such as the quality of services and actions in terms of sustainability and the environment. We have a clear desire for continuity, we work thinking long term – we appreciate and look after of our image and reputation as a reference for great value. We believe and comply with our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which encompasses social responsibility actions, which are carried out in part through the Baleària Foundation dedicated to culture, environment and solidarity.
We are dedicated to maritime transport, a millenary activity, which has always been present in society. If it grows sustainably, our company will also do so. Our commitment to the well-being of society and the environment is absolute and unconditional. It is our duty to do this together. We consider our main strength to be the degree of commitment and cohesion displayed by our teams, attributes that result in our ability to be competitive.
You offer a variety of services, which have more demand?
The most mature market is that of the Balearic Islands; it is more stable and more predictable. On the other hand, the routes covering the Strait of Gibraltar are more volatile and subject to many changes depending on the season, partly due to the entry and exit of operators and in part by the strong interventionism of public administrations on both sides of the Strait. Regarding the Caribbean, despite being an emerging market, it has great potential for growth and is in the process of development. We also have a wide margin to increase market share and achieve stability with reference to new routes in the last two years – Melilla (Spain), Nador (Morocco) and Mostaganem (Algeria).
Finally, we are looking forward to our partnership with Fred. Olsen Express in relation to the new routes between the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands.
What other aspects would you highlight about these services?
We have increased our presence in the Port of Valencia; we are the first operator in terms of the volume transported of passengers, vehicles in regime of passage and ro/ro cargo, as well as number of annual port calls. In addition to the daily connections to Ibiza and Mallorca, we added the route to Mostaganem (Algeria) in 2016 – service provided with four weekly calls.
The Strait of Gibraltar is an area of significant importance for the company due to the traffic volume of the Ceuta and Tangier lines from Algeciras, where we are also the leading shipping line in passenger and vehicle numbers.
In your view, what the main challenges facing the maritime sector and in particular the movement of passengers?
I believe that governments should pay more attention to the maritime transport sector and the strategic importance of having large local operators that will promote business. In order to achieve this, it is essential to obtain a more competitive Special Registry; specifically about the hiring of 50% of foreign seafarers, we would like to see these procedures simplified and without limitations, or the possibility of homologation of recognised companies in the processing of flag certificates, as it happens in most countries with important fleets.
These two measures would align the Spanish Registry to the rest of the European registers and would facilitate the growth of our fleet, and generate wealth and employment for our territory. On the other hand, passenger transport by sea has great potential for growth, everything is about improving the quality of ships and services, increase their frequencies, incorporate all the innovations that are available with new technology.
Excellent, frequent, comfortable, entertaining and punctual services. For short distances the maritime alternative is the best alternative.
What new markets do you plan to explore in the next 5 years?
We currently operate in five countries (Spain, Morocco, Algeria, USA and the Bahamas) and we all have an interest in expanding our services. Between the United States and the Bahamas, for example, we operate with the island of Grand Bahama, but we are studying adding new connections with other Bahamian islands. We are also assessing different projects in the Caribbean region; Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
We are also interested in being able to expand services in Europe with new ports in North Africa. We are also focusing on the “motorways of the sea” promoted by the European institutions, a space of growth with a lot of projection.
William P. Doyle, CEO & Executive Director of Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), Talks U.S. Dredging: Legislation, Infrastructure Investment, Digitisation, Jones Act And More
William P. Doyle is CEO & Executive Director of Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), the national trade association for the U.S. dredging and marine construction industry. With a Degree in Law and Marine Engineering, Doyle initiated his career at a shipyard in Quincy (Massachusetts) breaking out and laying-up ships during the first Gulf War. After he graduated he sailed as an Officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine, in both the domestic and international trades for ten years, gaining valuable experience at sea. He then moved on to serve as Chief In-house Counsel and Director of Government & Legislative Affairs and later as Chief-of-Staff with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and Co-Counsel for the American Maritime Congress. In 2008, Doyle was appointed under the George W. Bush Administration as the Director of Permits, Scheduling & Compliance for the Office of Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects where he managed the pre-filing and permitting activities of 24 federal agencies including the Army Corps, NMFS, DOT and DOI agencies.
William Doyle was nominated and appointed twice by President Barack Obama, and unanimously confirmed twice by the U.S. Senate as a Commissioner to the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) where he served under the Administration for four years. He remained onboard with the Donald J. Trump Administration for an additional year, taking on his current role at DCA.
Please talk to us about your role and responsibilities as CEO of DCA:
Right now, most of my day is consumed with partnering with US Army Corps of Engineers, educating congressional leaders, advocating for funding for beach nourishment, harbor deepening, and coastal restoration projects, and interacting with the private sector companies.
I am the face and voice of the association. When taking on this job, I promised to raise its profile and that’s what I am doing. We have a great story to tell.
The private sector U.S.-flag dredging industry is amid a USD1.5 billion dredging fleet rejuvenation. Our new investments include four large cutter suction dredgers, two large hopper dredgers, and approximately 50 barges built in shipyards across the U.S., including Eastern Shipbuilding, C&C Marine Shipyard, Corn Island Shipyard, Conrad Shipyard, and Halimar Shipyard. In addition, one of my companies recently began the design phase on a self-propelled large hopper Glenn Edwards Class dredge, and another company has begun the long-lead time equipment procurement process for two 6,000 cu yd. hopper dredges.
As Chief Executive of DCA, I also serve as Co-Chairperson with an Army Corps Executive on the Industry/Army Corps Hopper Dredge Management Group (ICHDMG) discussing national dredging policy and coordination of assets for dredging harbors, channels, ports, waterways, beaches and coastal regions of the U.S. . I am also the Chairman of the Pipeline Task Force (PTF), Council for Dredging & Marine Construction Safety (CDMCS) which focuses on the best means to find the exact location of natural gas and oil pipelines buried in the seabed before dredging commences. Further, I serve as a Board Member for National Waterways Conference (NWC) promoting common sense policies for the Nation’s water resources - public safety, a competitive economy, national security, environmental quality and energy conservation. Finally, I am on the Board of Directors of the American Maritime Partnership (AMP)- the broadest, deepest coalition ever assembled to represent the U.S. domestic maritime industry, i.e., Jones Act.
What are the key objectives of DCA for 2019?
A key objective for 2019 is to work closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers on dredging schedules. The Army Corps has an aggressive two-year and five-year work plan. There is more funding now for dredging than there has been in decades. This means that dredging assets and equipment must be scheduled appropriately, and this includes a balancing of beach nourishment work with harbor and channel maintenance dredging while at the same time being ready for the annual cresting of the Mississippi River.
Another important objective is reducing the frequency of striking submerged pipelines. I am the Chairman of the Industry-Government Pipeline Task Force. The primary focus of the Pipeline Task Force, first and foremost, is to prevent injuries and save lives in the dredging industry. We are first addressing Army Corps regulated dredging projects in federal navigation channels. The types of pipelines for this phase include natural gas and liquid lines. Finally, the task force is focused on finding industry solutions and best practices rather than implementing regulations or enacting laws. The task force includes U.S. dredging companies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the State of Louisiana Pipeline Safety Division, the Coastal and Marine Operators Pipeline Industry Initiative (CAMO), and representatives and member companies of the American Petroleum Institute, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, and the Louisiana Mid-continent Oil & Gas Association.
How important is the Jones Act for the American dredging industry?
I am a big supporter of the Jones Act. I began my career in the maritime industry at the age of 19, as a cadet breaking out ships for the first Gulf War at the old Beth-steel, General Dynamics Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts.
The dredging industry is an integral part of the 500,000 jobs supported by the U.S. maritime industry. Investment decisions are reliant on the perceived permanence of the Jones Act – the single, most fundamental domestic maritime law that has enabled the overall U.S. maritime industry to generate $100 billion in annual economic output, $30 billion in annual employee compensation, $11 billion in annual tax revenues, and $46 billion in value-added. A strong and vibrant U.S. Merchant Marine is integral to America’s national and economic security, of which the U.S.-flag dredging industry plays a vital role. I believe in my companies and their business models of building ships and vessels in U.S. shipyards, registering their vessels in the United States and staffing them with American officers and crew. I intend to vigorously defend their investments by helping to preserve the Jones Act into perpetuity.
Dredging workload is increasing in the US to give way to post-Panamax vessels. Is the industry prepared for the uplift in production?
We are prepared. And, we are building more dredges, scows, crane barges, tugs, tender boats, pipelines and other equipment to meet all the dredging needs of the United States.
What does the Senate's vote in favour of WRDA 2018 mean for DCA?
With President Trump’s signing in October of America’s Water and Infrastructure Act / Water Resources Development Act (AWIA/WRDA) it closes the loop on a hugely successful bipartisan legislative year. It is not just WRDA though. This has by far been the most consequential year of infrastructure related legislative activity that I have ever seen or been involved with securing. It’s huge.
Although infrastructure improvements for the United States was not addressed in a single bill, much was taken care of in several individual and wipe sweeping legislative measures enacted into law including - FAA Authorisation; Minibus - Energy & Water, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch, 2017 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Bill, Bipartisan Budget Omnibus Act. All these laws combined provide for billions of dollars for dredging activities.
What role does digitisation have in dredging operations?
Digitalisation is here. The hopper dredges, cutter head suction dredges, tugs, dump scows, survey boats, you name it … they are all equipped with digital technology or moving in that direction. Here’s one specific example: recently, I had the opportunity to visit the start-up operations for what is commonly referred to as Phase II of the Boston Harbor deepening project. I was particularly impressed with the new technology that Cashman Dredging has designed and implemented to prevent inadvertent placement of dredge material in non-authorised ocean disposal sites. Cashman Dredging set out to find a solution to the human error problem of accidentally discharging dump scows outside of the designated dump sites. What they came up with is the Scow Geofence System (SGS). The system itself is comprised of a small computer and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver that is connected to the scow controls. SGS utilises a relay that connects it to the scows programmable logic controller (PLC). The PLC controls the communication, engine start and stop and the sequencing of the hydraulics for the split hull scow. Basically, the SGS does not allow a scow to dump its dredge material unless the barge is inside a predetermined geographic zone, or so-called “geo-fenced” area. Even if a crewmember activates the scow’s dump switch, the barge will not split open if the vessel is not within the geographically fenced area. The vessel must travel into the geo-fenced area for the dredge material to be discharged.
More to the point, SGS locks the PLC control of the scow-opening process within seconds of the GPS antenna transiting outside the predetermined geofence ocean dump site. Notably, there have been no accidental discharges of dredge material since implementation. This is all good for the operator, regulator and the environment. It’s quite likely that geofencing for dump scows will become an industry standard.
Where do you see DCA in 5 years?
The dredging industry is going to thrive. We have enough work and construction projects for the foreseeable future and that includes outwards of five years. We’re going to make sure projects are completed, working closely and partnering with the Army Corps. The DCA is also going to help eliminate striking submerged natural gas and oil pipelines. Our pipeline task force is going to develop a best practices manual over the next year related to dredging in areas where buried pipelines exist. The U.S. is turning its attention to the beneficial use of dredge material. And we’re serious about it. We’ll be spending a lot of time advocating for the beneficial use program. Finally, the DCA is going to continue highlighting the capital expenditures and investments that the U.S. dredging companies are making through building new Jones Act vessels.
For more information on DCA please click here
Peter Sand is Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO, the world's largest international shipping association, with 2,000 members in more than 120 countries (comprised of shipowners, operators, managers, brokers and agents).
Peter has worked for Statistics Denmark, compiling public accounts and doing international statistical work in relation to the European Union and United Nations. He then joined D/S NORDEN and during the rise and fall of the dry bulk markets, Peter gained experience in the fields of executive assistance, caretaking of investors and the art of transforming financial data and shipping statistics into analysis, presentations and reports. Later on he worked with CSR with a focus on sustainable shipping. Peter left D/S NORDEN as Senior Analyst and member of the Corporate Social Responsibility Board and joined BIMCO in 2009. He holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Copenhagen.
BIMCO do not expect the trade war to end any time soon. This means that “disruptions” like what we have just seen may be repeated at any time. There really is no ‘likely’ scenario for 2019 when it comes to US exports of crude oil to China. A trade war moves business beyond ‘as usual’. Watch out for the policy developments.
BIMCO is monitoring the trade developments closely – and will report to BIMCO members and wider industry interests on the impact of the elevated barriers to free trade have on the global shipping industry.
US vs China trade war - what are the most probable opportunities for seaborne trade?
Overall it depends on whether you focus on liner shipping or tramp shipping as well as the implications for the short, medium or long term. For liner shipping we have seen US retailers stock up, prior to the implementation of the tariffs. For Chinese importers we have generally seen demand go down. As the latter is the backhaul leg, the impact on the shipping industry is not that important. But for the frontloading of goods to the US, a more quiet off-season is expected to counterbalance that effect. We are going to see that over the coming four months, leading up to the Chinese New Year in early February 2019. For the longer term, in case the trade war goes on, other far eastern manufacturing hubs may emerge. But making changes to existing supply chains is absolutely not what most people want in the industry – not to mention that it's far from straightforward doing it.
For tramp shipping (mainly dry and wet) the most probable opportunities are changes to trade lanes that causes sailing distances to go up. We have not seen much of that yet. The upside must also be considered in relation to trading potentially bringing shipping into a much different position than ‘normally’ expected. This may also add to the challenges of the shipping industry. Of course this only goes for all other dry commodities such as raw materials which are dug out of the ground. That is why agribulks are at the centre stage. For the longer term, land designated to produce for instance soya beans may change. Farmers in today’s key producing countries may decide to produce more or less.
Additionally, importers that may have the option to outright reduce imports – as they may have used too much of a given product (like soya, which may be the case for Chinese pork farmers).
It easily becomes quite a complex matrix to keep track on which commodities may be substitutes for one another.
The flip side of the coin is that seaborne shipment of commodities may go down. When the price for a normal good becomes more expensive, the demand for it goes down. Seaborne shipping is all about normal goods.
The main challenge is still “uncertainty”. What if your ship is carrying a cargo that the cargo owner suddenly decides not to discharge – as the conditions for the imports have changed. A new tariff may have been added in between buying the cargo and the intended discharge of it. Another challenge is that globalisation -as we know it- may cool down somewhat, because high tariffs (general barriers to trade) makes production of a commodity viable at home – making imports redundant.
What long-term adverse effects do you foresee if the trade "crossfire" intensifies?
The cool down of globalisation is most critical. It will make us all poorer, as we will produce and consume sub-optimally. No one are winners in a trade war, we are all losers in straightforward economical terms.
What do you anticipate will happen with freight and bunker prices?
The freight rates are a function of supply and demand – that will remain. If demand is growing at a slower rate going forward, the fleet growth must adjust too – to avoid the negative impact of overcapacity.
For bunker prices – I don’t see much impact from the trade war yet. IMO 2020 may add a cloud of extra uncertainty to it, but for the time being, bunker fuels are not a hostage of the trade war, not official – not unofficial.
For more information on BIMCO please click here
Poul Woodall, Director Environment & Sustainability DFDS A/S, Talks Emissions & Carbon Footprint, Environmental Regulations, And LNG
Poul Woodall is Director, Environment & Sustainability at DFDS A/S, with over 40 years of international shipping experience, Ro-Ro and passenger segments. Poul specialises in environmental compliance, ensuring the conformity with the changing laws and regulations, with a focus on meeting and exceeding industry standards for DFDS.
How far is the gap between political intent and actually reducing CO2 emissions in shipping?
This is a very difficult question to answer, as in reality we do not yet know what this gap is. IMO decided both for the 2030 ambition of minimum 40% reduction in CO2 per transport work and the 2050 ambition of minimum 50% reduction of GHG emissions to use 2008 as the base year. We have however yet to see what this base line actually is. The 2050 ambition of absolute reduction, will probably be relatively easy to agree on. The IMO 3rd GHG study contained such data for 2008, unfortunately there were two figures, one based on a top-down calculation and one based on a bottom-up calculation. On this target we are rather fortunate to only have two figures to choose from, so I foresee this will be relatively easy to agree which one to use.
A lot more discussions on the 2030 ambitions may be foreseen. First of all, with this target we are only talking CO2 not GHG, but more importantly it introduced the term “transport work” which is not well defined in IMO. The discussion on this will have to centre around two topics. What is a realistic measure for this that can be agreed upon and do we have the 2008 data for this? Data that will enable us to establish the 2008 baseline? During the MEPC discussions on the “IMO fuel oil data collection system” (DCS) it was not possible to agree on a metrics that included actual cargo work. Therefore a proxy for this, in terms of the vessels DWT, had to be chosen. This tells me that consensus at MEPC cannot be reached on any measurement that includes actual cargo data. This will be unfortunate and erode any meaningful onward discussion. Should I be proven wrong and MEPC actually agrees to use actual cargo work, then the next question arises – can we establish a reliable figure for this for 2008? I doubt it.
A topic that has largely gone unnoticed so far, is the true effect of these IMO ambitions. By nature, IMO regulates shipping and with respect to GHG we are specifically talking about international shipping. If we were to take in the full impact of shipping’s environmental foot print, we would need to look at a lifecycle scenario and not least the upstream element of the fuel supply. Let me give you an example. Some biofuels have a very low GHG impact, but the positive element is in the upstream part of the chain. GHG from the combustion of biofuels is not much different from that of fossil fuels. So if we end up only measuring and legislating on a “tank-to-propeller” basis only, we miss out on an obvious opportunity.
In your view, what measures are needed to meet the IMO's CO2 emissions target?
We need to distinguish between the 2030 and the 2050 targets. Here, clearly the 2050 target will be the most challenging. We will not reach this unless there is a major shift away from fossil fuels. This also means that within the next 10-15 years we have to start building ships on a bigger scale with non-fossil fuel propulsion. With regards the 2030 targets, it will as mentioned, depend on the metrics that can be agreed upon, but I am relatively confident that existing technologies may get us there – in fact we may already be beyond the 40%.
In terms of Sulphur Oxide (SOx) emissions, is the industry on target for 2020?
They better be. I am not among the ones who believe there is even the slightest chance the date will be moved or the compliance terms “relaxed”. The carriage ban on non-compliant fuel is due to come in to effect in Q1 of 2020 and this will provide flag and port state authorities a valuable tool in policing this. Perhaps not all countries will be equally prepared to police by 1.1.2020, but those countries with existing experience will be looking at a vessels recent history - also outside of national waters. This should ensure a high degree of control. We will not see 100% compliance and the FONAR system may be misused by some. Overall I am however confident that the system will work and compliance level will be high.
A big unknown here remains what will the 0.50% fuels look like. How to we handle these onboard the ships and not least what are their commingling features that we need to take in to account. We know very little about these produces as of now and I expect that a large portion of the compliant fuel post 2020 will be regular 0.10% gasoil.
Can the environmental goals of the IMO be achieved whilst maintaining competitive freight prices?
The answer to that question will depend on the specific segment. 100,000 tons of ore cannot be moved from one side of the planet to the other unless by ship and the transport cost represents a small fraction of the total price, even if fuel cost increases. On the contrary when moving a container or a trailer in shortsea trades or indeed small parcels of liquids and bulk, one may be competing with road or rail transport. However let’s not fool ourselves, in 2050 the main competition for some transport products may come from a source we do not even know today.
What are the main three actions the maritime sector should implement to improve on carbon footprint?
If you look back over the past 10-15 years you will note vast improvement in efficiency within the industry. I admit this has mainly been driven by aspirations to reduce cost, but it has had a positive effect on GHG as well. The efficiencies have been achieved by a series of small improvements combined with building ever larger ships. The efficiency improvements will continue, but have certain vessel segments reached their maximum size? … and don’t forget large ships are only efficient if they are fully utilised.
What is really needed is a lot more research into renewable fuels and/or CO2 capture. This cannot be done on the company level, but needs to be driven by governmental institutions preferably the IMO.
As a fuel alternative, is LNG the solution?
LNG offers a lot of benefits, depending of the problem one needs to solve. With its low SOx and NOx emissions it may be beneficial to combat air pollution in and around urban areas. I do not see LNG as a viable long term fuel for climate reasons. Methane is a potent GHG and when looking at the entire logistic chain only a small slip can generate more GHG per energy unit than coal. We also need to look at this in a time perspective. Normally we talk about global warming potential (GWP) over a 100 year period. Here methane is a factor 26-32 more potent than CO2. If we however are concerned about GHG emissions over the next 20 years, the multiplier for methane is more like 86.
Please name one objective you would like to achieve in 2019:
That we can agree on a GHG measurements, that considers the wellbeing of the planet and not only satisfies a more or less artificial mathematical formula.
For more information on DFDS A/S please click here
Hans Hederström is the Managing Director of CSMART Academy, Center for Simulator Maritime Training, the state-of-the-art international maritime training centre for the world's largest cruise company, Carnival Corporation & plc Group.
Opened in July 2009 and located in Almere, Netherlands, CSMART Academy established itself as a world-class training centre for safety, sustainability and operational excellence in maritime operations. It features the most advanced simulator equipment, technology and instructional tools and is aimed at training 6,500 Carnival deck and engineering officers every year.
Hederström has over 50 years of maritime experience and is the principal architect in brining the Academy to life, by writing the simulator specification and getting a team of professional instructors together responsible for the delivery of the course work.
Why was the Carnival Corporation CSMART Academy founded?
In 2007, four groups of nautical educators travelled on eight ships from P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises – part of the Carnival Corporation family of brands -- to evaluate bridge and safety management practices, report on their findings and recommend potential improvements. The educators agreed that each ship operated to a high standard of traditional navigation, but with today’s evolution to operating large cruise ships in ports with minimal operational margins, they believed it was essential that navigation and manoeuvring be carried out with high precision using all available resources, and that bridge practices should be adapting with the times. Recommendations included officer understanding of bridge navigation equipment, new bridge organisation and procedures and simulator training.
To meet these recommendations, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises established a training centre with actual bridge equipment and a layout identical to ones onboard their most modern vessels. In July 2009, the CSMART facility opened, forming the foundation for today’s Arison Maritime Center.
Why Almere, Amsterdam?
The vast majority of our trainees are located in Europe, flying them into Amsterdam was the most attractive option as a central point in the continent. Almere provided us with sufficient space for our center and easy access to the air bridge of Schiphol airport.
Please talk to us about the facilities and services available at the campus:
The Arison Maritime Center, a spectacular, state-of-the-art campus featuring the CSMART Academy and a 176-room hotel. The CSMART Academy, features the most advanced bridge and engine room simulator technology and equipment available today, with enough space to complete rigorous annual professional training for the company's 6,500 deck and engineering officers. With its scale, technology and equipment, and continuous training approach, the new facility is the most progressive maritime centre of its kind in the world for training and continually improving industry-wide safety and excellence.
The CSMART Academy features four full mission bridge simulators with separate bridge wings, 8 part task bridge simulators, 12 voyage planning stations, 7 ship stability training stations, 4 full mission engine simulators with 12 virtual engine rooms, 36 engine desk top simulators, 2 high voltage training simulators, 1 environmental training lab, 16 class rooms and 8 debriefing rooms. At nearly 11,000 m2, the new CSMART Academy has doubled the capacity of the original centre, enabling Carnival Corporation to train more officers more often, spend more time training on simulators and provide more real-time feedback to officers.
Why is simulation training important and what are the key benefits for participants?
Just as in the aviation industry simulator training is required to develop and maintain skills to deal with critical high risk operations. It would impose a too high risk to train for those situations in the real world. A simulator creates a safe environment to train and continuously develop and improve proficiency with an emphasis on critical thinking, decision-making and problem solving.
Today’s ship simulators are technologically advanced. How developed are the visual and operational features?
The operational features as well as the layout of bridge and engine control room are replicating the latest new-build ships. The visual features are the most advanced in the industry providing the same field of view as on the ships with real bridge wings featuring the same equipment as on the real ships.
Please tell us more about the Continuous Development Program:
The CSMART Academy’s faculty is hosting the cruise industry’s first Continuous Development simulator-based appraisal program. It is a new continuous development program for deck, engine and electrical officers, inspired by the aviation and nuclear power industries’ approach to recurrent training and validation of competencies.
Completing the weeklong course as part of the company’s Continuous Professional Development matrix is a mandatory requirement for every maritime officer from each of Carnival Corporation’s nine cruise line brands, exceeding regulatory requirements.
What benefits do port studies bring to the development program of your participants?
During a port study captains and pilots create a joint passage plan which is tested under challenging conditions in the simulator over a five day period. This means that the bridge team and the pilots can have a shared mental model of the upcoming operation even before pilot board the ship. It also reduces the time for the master pilot information exchange as most topics are already agreed upon and only dynamic topics such as weather and traffic need to be discussed.
The port study report also provides evidenced based guidance in case of "go" - "no go" situations, as simulator based operational envelope and agreed/proposed passage plan is available.
This program also provides our cruise lines with the option to send a whole bridge team for specific training in a particular port with local pilots. This is a common procedure when a new build ship is about to enter into service. The new Aida Nova, which will enter into service in October/November has been available in the simulator since last year. We have done many port studies with this model and the bridge and engineering teams are expected to come to CSMART for thorough training before delivery.
This is how CSMART is creating safety through proactive resilient processes by anticipating and planning for unexpected events.
In terms of safety and sharing best practices, how important is the team-based approach on the bridge?
Looking into incident and accident reports you will find that the most common contributing factors are: poor planning, poor communication and one person error not detected and leading to negative outcomes.
“Human errors” are present in all industries and cannot be eliminated, but in a well-functioning team with overlapping tasks and responsibilities, errors are expected, detected and managed before they cause any negative consequences.
Working as a coordinated team is essential in all time critical high risk industries, be it Nuclear, Hospital, Aviation etc.
How do you keep up with changing regulation and maintaining the simulators up to date?
Regulations state the minimum requirements for safe operations, but we always aim to exceed those requirements to set a high industry standard for operational excellence and safety. CSMART training courses all go beyond statutory requirements in order to keep up with increasing operational complexity. Just on the job training is no longer sufficient for developing and maintaining skills to operate ever-increasing size of ships with a high level of complexity both on the bridge and in the engine room.
Twice a year, there is a maintenance period when new software is integrated into the computers running the simulators. This is also the time when new equipment, which is about to be installed on ships are installed in the simulators. We aim, as far as possible to replicate the working environment on ships in the simulators in order to make the training realistic and efficient.
Where do you see the Academy in five years from now?
For 2019 we are fully booked, there is not a single simulator slot available and with an ever increasing demand for training at all levels there will be a need to expand the facility and utilise more of our plot of land. In five years from now I believe this expansion has taken place and that CSMART will provide an even wider range of training and research.
For more information on CSMART please click here
Jeffrey Owen is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lightning Technologies LLC, the company that has revolutionised the pallet industry. Smart TV's, smart phones, self-driving cars, ...why not a “smart pallet”?
Millions of pallets are used each year to transport goods across the supply chain, with an ever-growing importance to control and monitor shipments. Suppliers are expected to have and provide customers with real-time data for each of their consignments. No data is not an option in today's fast-moving and competitive logistics industry. This pallet is light and durable, designed to service the needs of all parties in the supply chain.
Please talk to us about your “smart pallet” and the benefits it brings to the logistics supply chain?
We consider the pallet to be a hybrid/hybrid design utilising an engineered, sustainably sourced, plywood substrate that is robotically coated during production with a proprietary hybrid polyurea/polyurethane coating developed specifically for this application. It became a “smart pallet” because we have taken PalletChain™ very seriously and have embedded an active Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID), making it possible to track exactly where the pallet is and to monitor temperature, humidity and any physical impact the pallet may experience.
The fact that the pallet features a hermitically sealed surface, which is critical in pharmaceutical and food transportation safety to protect against bacteria, mold and other harmful organisms. We feel the opportunities for food safety and the ability to track and monitor the pallet through its logistics chain is disruptive and a game-changer.
What are the costs per pallet and how does this compare to other models in the market?
We typically do not discuss the cost of the pallet due to its many variations, tailored for each customer, but to put things in perspective in the pooling world our turn rate is competitive. In some cases, our cost is less than today’s traditional wood pallet or plastic pallet.
We also provide a lease-to-own option that allows the client to expense the investment as opposed to making a capital expenditure.
How is the pallet manufactured?
We currently use three variations of substrates, with two being utilised as a one-way, multi-use pallet with our third variation being a sustainably sourced plywood-type substrate traditionally used for pooling. We are promoting that pallet design for the produce, protein, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. We also provide an option to include our active RFID in this design. The operations are currently located in Oxford and Lake Orion, Michigan, and feature highly automated robotics operations in all aspects of the production process.
In terms of productivity, has this reached economies of scale?
We currently have the capacity to produce approximately 300,000 pallets per year but are ramping up monthly and be capable of producing 300,000 pallets per month by December of this year after new equipment is fully installed.
What are your future growth plans?
In terms of growth, we are anticipating three facilities in the United States by the first quarter of 2020 with two additional facilities being built in 2021. In Europe and Asia, we anticipate five facilities being fully operational by the first quarter of 2021. Each of these facilities will have a capacity of three to five million pallets per year.
What feedback are you receiving from customers?
We have received very, very positive reviews and feedback from a wide range of global clients. We have partnered with Rex Lowe and GARD Pallet, which is our partner company managing the leasing and pooling of our pallets - and they have received rave reviews in all cases.
Jeffrey, please tell us more about your background. Why pallets?
I grew up in a small town in Kentucky and had an agriculture education. I then moved to Detroit, Michigan, in the early 70’s and international business opportunities were realised.
Prior to Lightning Technologies LLC, I was the majority Shareholder and CEO of a company that produced over 11 million plastic pallets for another pooling company in the United States.
What role does innovation and creativity have at Lightning Technologies?
We use four words when we discuss Lightning Technologies: Passion, Innovation, Creativity and Disruption. The importance of each individually is immense, but together they create our mission to market the “One Thing That Changes Everything™.”
Can we expect more exciting products from Lightning Technologies in the future?
We are working every day to avoid fragmentation, but we have several projects which will utilise our proprietary polyurea polyurethane formulation and these will be announced the first quarter of 2019.
For more information on Lightning Technologies LLC please click here
Why is London considered to be a main arbitration point?
London is the most popular venue for commercial arbitration generally and maritime arbitration in particular. In the recently published White & Case survey carried out by Queen Mary University 64% of those interviewed gave London as a preferred choice of arbitration venue or “seat”. In the field of maritime arbitration (based on another report published recently by international law firm HFW) it is apparent that some 80% of international maritime arbitrations have their seat in London. Almost all are conducted as “ad hoc” rather than institutional arbitrations under the Terms or Procedures of the LMAA with a small number conducted under the institutional rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).
What are the benefits of opting for arbitration with the LMAA?
Generally as above, particularly the number of experienced maritime arbitrators and the maritime law experience of Commercial Court judges.
Specifically in the maritime field, the availability of a right of appeal to the Commercial Court from arbitration awards on points of law. This is available almost nowhere else and is generally welcomed by the international maritime community (if not others, for example in engineering or construction cases, who often exclude the right of appeal by choice).
How flexible is the arbitration process in adapting to each case?
Arbitrators have the right and duty under the English Arbitration Act 1996 to devise procedures suitable to the case. They are not bound by the more rigid rules applicable in the Commercial Court, for example regarding evidence and disclosure of documents. Nevertheless the LMAA Terms and Procedures set out procedural guidelines. These are flexible and are regularly updated.
What does an LMAA panel look like and what criteria are used for its formation?
It is up to the parties to decide if they want a panel of three arbitrators or if they can agree on a sole arbitrator. 80% of cases are decided on documents only without a hearing and if the 2 party-appointed arbitrators can agree on the result, it is not necessary under the LMAA Terms to appoint a third.
In many cases the arbitrators appointed will be members of the LMAA (full or aspiring) but, in general, there is no restriction on whom the parties may appoint. Sometimes though there will be qualifications built into the arbitration agreement such that the arbitrators appointed must be members of the Baltic Exchange or “commercial men or women” or “regularly involved in shipping operations”.
Please describe the types of arbitration and what factors determine which one is used in each case:
The LMAA has three principal sets of procedural terms. The choice of which one will apply will normally depend on the amount in dispute (including the amount of a counterclaim). The Small Claims Procedure which mandates a sole arbitrator and eliminates the right of appeal is particularly popular for claims of up to USD100,000. For larger claims, over say USD400,000 the main LMAA Terms provide that there will normally be 3 arbitrators and make provision for more formal submissions and evidence, and possibly an oral hearing. The Intermediate Claims Procedure sits in the middle and is generally considered suitable for claims of between USD100,000 and USD400,000.
What are the elements of an arbitration agreement?
An arbitration agreement is normally included in the body of the main contract but may be considered separately if there is an issue as to whether the main contract is itself valid (for example because of fraud or some other illegality). The arbitration agreement should ideally provide for the number of arbitrators and how they are to be appointed and within what deadlines. It should also identify the place or “seat” of the arbitration an ideally the procedural rules to be applied (e.g. LMAA Terms, Intermediate Claims Procedure or Small Claims Procedure).
Is arbitration costly?
This depends very much on the procedure used and the way the case is conducted by the parties and their legal advisers. In the case of the Small Claims Procedure and the Intermediate Claims Procedures there are fixed caps on the fees which can be recovered by the successful party and the arbitrators’ fees. Hearings tend to add significantly to the cost of the 20% of cases which involve an oral hearing. All the indications are that London is competitive with or cheaper than many other jurisdictions.
Are there any cases whereby arbitration is not recommended?
There are some types of cases which are not regarded as arbitrable, such as family cases but otherwise disputes under virtually all commercial contracts are regarded as suitable to be decided by arbitration. There are sometimes issues about consolidation of arbitration or the binding effect of arbitration on third parties who are not directly parties to the arbitration agreement but in most maritime cases these can be handled by orders for concurrent conduct, as for example in cases involving chains of charterparties of the same ship.
What impact might Brexit have on London arbitration?
Brexit, whatever form it eventually takes, will have no impact on the way London arbitration is conducted nor on the international enforceability of London arbitration awards. International enforcement depends on the New York Convention, not on any EU legislation or Conventions.
For more information on the LMAA please click here
Ben van Scherpenzeel Talks Container Throughput, Port Planning & Infrastructure, Blockchain, Brexit And More
© Port Of Rotterdam
Ben van Scherpenzeel, Director Nautical Developments, Policy & Plans at the Port of Rotterdam, is passionate about continuous improvement with a focus on ports and shipping in every aspect: nautical, logistical, economical and social.
What are the challenges of Marine Spatial Planning in the context of the Port of Rotterdam?
For traffic approaching the Port of Rotterdam we’ve worked hard together with our national authorities and all stakeholders at sea to create sufficient space for safe navigation and wind farms. In the port passages we’ve concentrated on deepening the river towards the Botlek area.
Overall it’s a challenge to use the existing infrastructure as efficient as possible by better planning – not only of ships but also related to maintenance like dredging.
© Port Of Rotterdam
Port call inefficiencies result in unnecessary delays costing billions in lost revenue and CO2 emissions. How has the Port of Rotterdam optimised vessel calls to maximise efficiency?
This will be achieved by working on maximum cargo on board by online depth information, available as of 1st June 2018. This will mean taking into account “Just In Time” arrivals by exchange of ship planning – platform to exchange has become life: Pronto. Fundamental for both data exchanges is to have standards that work for shipping port to port worldwide, so parties do not build in unnecessary safety margins as they fully understand and trust the information provided.
Please talk to us about the importance of information exchange between all parties in the logistics chain:
The departure time is the cornerstone to port logistics. Most departure time dictate the arrival time of another vessel, and that arrival time is key for planning resources for nautical services (pilots, tugs, linemen), cargo services and vessel services (bunkers, waste, etc.).
However, departure time depends onmany parties: most of all terminal operations, but certainly also bunker operations or any other critical service a vessel needs to complete before departure, e.g. delivery of medicines.
What are the three key elements that define productivity at a port terminal?
Swift exchange of vessels, production per hour, and avoiding idle time when commercial operations have finished.
Severe weather conditions can impact port operations. How do you minimise the down-time at the terminal?
ShoreTension is available in Rotterdam, allowing ships to remain alongside safely under adverse weather conditions.
High-impact is therefore to be expected within the domains of supply chain finance and cross chain collaborations – especially when chains are decentralised and involve numerous stakeholders and transactions. BlockLab puts Blockchain technology into practice. The Lab develops the use of cases with alliances of engineers, developers, system players and end users.
Is the port fully aligned with the demands of the ocean supply chain?
We’re working together with GS1 to connect to the supply chain standards, allowing better resource planning in warehouses and factories.
How is the increasing size of ships shaping your plans for the port?
Ten years ago we already designed the Maasvlakte for the ships we have today. We already applied more and stronger bollards, based on the new IACS guidelines which will enter into force this year.
In your view, how do you see Brexit affecting the Port of Rotterdam in terms of capacity?
We all agree that Brexit will have its challenges however, the Port of Rotterdam is treating this matter as a top priority and is fully committed in talking to all stakeholders (Dutch Government, Customs Authorities, local businesses, etc.) with a focus on contingency plans to ensure that the transition will go as efficient as possible.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority invests 150 to 200 million euros per year in its port infrastructure. Important investments for the coming year include the development of the Hartel Tank Terminal and the changes to the port railway via Thamesweg, eliminating the clash between transport by rail and ocean-going vessels.
For more information on the Port of Rotterdam please view the following introductory video or visit the port's website here.
Oscar Pernia At Navis Talks Port Terminal Automation & Digitisation, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Ocean Supply Chain And More
Oscar Pernia is Vice President Applied Innovation at Navis, a part of Cargotec Corporation, and a leading provider of planning solutions across container flow. Navis specialises in helping terminals to maximise their investments in advanced technology solutions, new business processes and operational optimisation initiatives by aligning them with the terminal's highest level strategic goals. Oscar is a Telecommunications Engineer and holds a doctorate in Industrial Engineering, with 17 years of experience on system integration and operational processes optimisation at ports and container terminals. His focus is to empower innovation at Navis portfolio strategy execution, which is determined on making global trade smarter, safer and more sustainable for everyone.
Are terminals currently aligned with the demands of the ocean supply chain?
Ocean supply chain demand is no longer just about time and cost. The new logistic models like the ones executed by Amazon or Alibaba, and differently by Inditex or Tesla, have a common denominator on the need of an integrated network from product manufacturing to product delivery and from customer experience to market analysis hence fundamental requirements on reliability, transparency and predictability across the cargo flow.
But terminals are subject to planning changes / exceptions, suffer serious data quality constraints from the supporting information, and perform ‘ad hoc’ as most of the processes are not standardised: so the perception on terminals being the only bottleneck is not completely fair.
Equipment lifecycle: with automation equipment moves are better controlled when executed, producing important improvements in the stress level and lifecycle of equipment structure and components. The whole superstructure is becoming more reliable and controllable, and KPIs as overall-equipment effectiveness (OEE) and mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) are used.
Manhours / Move: normally our industry uses cost / move and revenue / move as the fundamental drivers to profitability, but when comparing globally between terminals it is really difficult to use for benchmarking. Automation is bringing effectiveness in terms of how much manpower is needed to produce every billable transaction at terminals; the manhours / move KPI is increasingly utilised.
This is a difficult question anyhow, as implementation of automation differs by region, and the industry itself is lacking on standards for productivity measures as well; we tend to use GPMH and in my humble opinion a terminal performing 40 GMPH in Asia is maybe not doing better than another one performing 25 GMPH in Europe or US.
Other important KPIs that are not utilised enough are the ones related with safety and sustainability areas, in those the improvements in terms of accidents and user ergonomy, or in terms of energy consumption and pollution emissions are significant; which at the end are illustrating how automation helps our industry not only on being more efficient and smarter but also for creating a better planet.
In terms of innovation, what challenges are you faced with when introducing and implementing change at a terminal, especially with those individuals that are resistant to moving away from their comfort zone?
One important challenge is the clear definition of processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs). If you don’t have your processes defined and under control upfront, to overload those with additional technology and IT will simply not work, and will produce no return, even not improving the original situation.
I also found difficult to work with terminals on defining exceptions and contingency procedures without a predominant manual intervention, and letting the system find the recovery path; at terminals the user experience is exceptions-based and so far we didn’t get to augment human, machine and software to manage uncertainty at exceptions scenarios in an integrated and proactive manner.
Another fundamental one is the mindset change. We tend to position automation against people or employment and I see this the other way around. The more advanced on technology a terminal is the more we rely on the human brain; new jobs and profiles are created, and the existing ones have a better working environment. With additional economic activity generated as volumes grow, additional human brain power will need to be hired.
Please talk to us about how competitive advantages can derive from automation and digitisation:
The way I see it, it is about redefining the way terminals are serving the ocean supply chain. Sometimes I feel we are just accepting that our industry works in the way it does and we can’t change it. I believe automation and digitisation are here to stay and will be fundamental actors on that shift. More concretely:
Performance Consistency: terminal business is 24/7. Automation enables capabilities for terminal performing consistently in a reliable and predictable manner. That is of enormous value for the terminal operator when serving vessels of different sizes and traffic patterns.
Operational Control: this industry always needs a ‘plan B’. The mentioned planning changes and inherent cargo flow dynamics establish several challenges for terminals to stay in control. To be able to manage operations from performance, capacity and cost perspectives is fundamental.
Asset utilisation: equipment and space utilisation can be improved significantly by using automation technologies; as well as making equipment allocation more effective across vessel operations, and enhancing equipment life cycle with better preventive and corrective maintenance.
Customer Experience: automation creates a better scenario for a better and more transparent Service-Level-Agreement (SLA) to shipping lines. To be able to customise SLA by vessel service or by customer is of great potential to terminals; including a more open and data-driven real-time customer engagement.
Beyond efficiency for terminals and ports, at the end it is all about competitiveness, and in my opinion, automation can make terminals far beyond more competitive.
What key elements do you focus on when taking on a new project?
Being a believer on what I call the ‘Automation Promised Land’, with all these years of hard work and lessons learned, I am very careful on my assessments and advice about new automation projects for container terminals. Having said that, there are some key elements I consider on my recommendations:
Terminal Design - the different operational components and its interfaces needs to be connected with infrastructure, equipment and software requirements. Modeling techniques (simulation) improved design methodology significantly, but still our industry needs to improve its utilisation to realistically utilise modeling technology, for terminal specification and throughput expectations.
System Architecture - proven and standard solutions are consolidated in many industries. At container automation there is concerning trend on ‘reinventing the wheel’ making it more complex in every iteration. Systems architecture will always be complex but they need to enable simple operations and the related features on automated decision making, user experience, data analytics.
Technical Integration - the way software supports the related interactions is key and the number of applications supporting operations is increasing with automation. How mature is the integration between the fundamental applications and terminal testing infrastructure to enable effective deployments and upgrades are key factors.
Control Room Organisation - with automation, control room organisation and related job descriptions evolve. The team needs to perform cohesively, and the use of technology is embedded within the workflow and interactions between users and departments. Training is a fundamental need but also the cultivation of a customer (ocean supply chain) oriented culture.
Use of Data - automation opens opportunities for continuous improvement as equipment and software are providing a system of record, to enable continuous improvements by improving the learning loop from operations. The way the terminal uses data to create a data / driven methodology and culture is important for producing smart evolution on performance and SLAs by customer.
Are there any limits in terminal automation?
In terms of technology state-of-the-art I think the current state provides a framework to go far beyond the current impact of automation at terminal operations and also in the way terminals serve the ocean supply chain. I also see the industry today at an inflection point to leverage all learnings during last decades, to produce consolidation but also change in order to push current boundaries out. Limiting factors in my opinion are:
Modularity: terminals are all different and systems providers need to provide flexibility through modular automation blocks that can be combined in different ways depending on the specific terminal design requirements regarding productivity, capacity and cost parameters within its business case.
Standardisation: covering different aspects at processes and IT architecture levels, the need of better ways of connecting products and systems from different vendors. We need global institutions to be more active, including open standards that enable terminals to build an automation ecosystem from multiple manufacturers.
Augmentation: at automated terminals it is fundamental the operator conceives equipment, systems and people performing as a whole, and the need on augmenting each elements capability for optimising operations; robots on execution reliability / consistency, software on decisions intelligence / learning and humans on proactive control / assessment.
IT vs OPS: automation implementation is highly on people, a mutual empathy between technology and operational experts is fundamental as with automation, boundaries between traditional IT and OPS departments need to be removed. The joint effort philosophy is a fundamental driver at projects and it should persist far after the go-live.
Simplification: unfortunately with all the emerging IT platforms offering, the solution ecosystem scenario is becoming really complex, in my opinion really confusing. Strategies implementing enterprise architecture should be catalysts for IT solutions better supporting business and operational processes.
When thinking on the AI capabilities we can leverage I see huge potential as those are really matching with some of our constraints:
- Self-learning, and understand the reality in front,
- Adaptation when something is not according to plan,
- Prediction and pattern recognition to be able to ‘look ahead’,
- Deep analysis and recommendations to the user.
Our focus at ATOM Labs is always on understanding the problem better, and using data for doing so. Now with the problem defined upfront and an iterative rapid prototyping methodology we are able to produce input to Navis roadmaps faster and more accurately; the introduction of AI in our solutions is an important goal we have, and we see terminal operators and shipping lines strongly investing on leveraging AI capabilities.
I think in our industry it will take some time as we need to establish the core foundation for enabling those algorithms providing the expected capabilities and helping to solve the problems that our industry faces to get smarter and intelligent.
We cannot expect magic from one day to another, but I find Mr. Stephen Hawking’s quote on ‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change’ really applicable to our industry and pointing on the potential of leveraging AI capabilities to take the ocean supply chain to the next level.
Collaborative information sharing between stakeholders is important for port operations to take place. Is Blockchain the solution?
Our experience with XVELA as many-to-many digital collaboration platform is being really a confirmation process for the need of jointly achieving following goals across our industry:
¨ Lower uncertainty within shipping stakeholders' interactions, eliminate middlemen actors
¨ Transform collective distrust into collaboration and change behaviors
¨ Simplify relationships and workflows, enabling network reach and personal control
And we see the evolution at shipping lines, terminal operators and ports regarding digitisation and the continuous investment in technologies like Blockchain to enable the required evolution across processes and relationships between shipping stakeholders. From a conceptual point of view everything makes sense. Through a decentralised, shared and well-structured database, stakeholders will be digitally identified, registered, qualified and evaluated and transactions will be secure, tracked, historically recorded into an immutable and unforgeable blocks of data. But technology is recognised by experts as still in its infancy, and still we need to identify specific relevant use cases and execute experiments with key actors to find out what Blockchain will mean for our industry.
How Blockchain will get there? I believe Blockchain, or any other coming technology in the near future, will realise the vision to enable increasing, faster and more open collaboration across the container flow, and it is not just an economic evolution but innovation in computer science to articulate at the end a distributed, secure and autonomous supply chain.
What will the container terminals of the future look like?
I am a dreamer but will keep my explanation really simple. I imagine a terminal readjusting itself to produce the required SLA for the next vessel in operations, performing in an ecosystem that helps vessels in and out from the port and providing visibility and predictability to the whole ocean supply chain. But we really need to focus on solving problems at present; and while terminals implement automation in order to become responsive and proactive agents in the ocean supply chain, we need to keep the bigger picture in mind and have a holistic approach to drive change. The existing paradigm is reinforced through interlocking beliefs, practices and processes, so trying to fix one item in isolation will not bring the maximum benefits, as other pieces can hold us back. We must not revert to old approaches when a change fails to produce immediate results. Changes in terminals must be accompanied by changes in the whole ocean supply chain: altering only one part of the ecosystem will not be effective.
There is a long way to go to get there but I truly believe we are towards that future, and automation and digitisation, and all the different aspects we mentioned in this interview, are fundamental drivers to enable step by step that dream coming true.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience and your favourite ship:
All-in-all during my career I was lucky so far I could apply my knowledge and expertise to drive execution and to empower impact in really meaningful projects at container shipping industry, but being involved in more than 30 terminal automation projects so far, the first one is always special and it was in my home port, Algeciras, so TTIA was for me one in a lifetime experience.
I will always remember our first vessel in operations on 5th May 2010, Cosco Oceania, and our pioneering sentiment at TTIA, getting the first semi/automated terminal in the Mediterranean to go live. I have recorded every moment of that night: that vessel had to discharge 202 containers, we made the equipment available, ready and assigned; 2 quay cranes, 4 shuttle carriers and 7 yard blocks with 14 automatic stacking cranes; and a bunch of young and enthusiastic people behind and celebrating a the end of the operation the achievement of our 22.86 GMPH and the starting of a new chapter at the Port of Algeciras. All of us in less than one year got the terminal beyond 30 GMPH and to full capacity, capturing more than 15 shipping lines as customers.
After all these years learning I got to understand the dimension of the frontiers that Cosco Oceania, and all the work before and after, opened in my mind; the importance of having witnessed the impact of what you do at work, strongly determined on being a humble and small part of the evolution at our industry. I learned so much from and with fantastic people; I cultivated a strong sense of purpose and got to understand how combining knowledge, passion and commitment a team can accomplish a lot. That spirit is what I keep bringing to work every day.
For more information about Navis, please visit www.navis.com
Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive Officer At Sailors’ Society, Talks Maritime Welfare, Coaching, Innovation, Global Crisis Response Network & Piracy, Gender Diversity And More
Stuart Rivers is Chief Executive Officer at Sailors’ Society, an international Christian charity working in ports across the world. Stuart joined the Society in April 2013 bringing his previous experience as Executive Director of Enterprise at the Bible Society where he took a strategic role in developing a group of commercial businesses. Prior to this, Stuart worked for some years in The Salvation Army as a Church Leader and Community Service Director, managing business affairs and community outreach programmes. Earlier in his career, Stuart worked with Ericsson Enterprise UK, starting in 1989 and finishing in 2002 when he was Global Commercial Director.
2018 is an important year for Sailors’ Society as it marks its foundation 200 years ago in London to minister to the needs of destitute seafarers who had returned home from the Napoleonic Wars. We could not miss this opportunity to talk to Stuart about their bicentenary celebration year!
My responsibilities extend far beyond the job description and I consider myself a disrupter in the welfare sector, someone who encourages great ideas from staff and an advocate for seafarers and their families around the world who need support. In practical terms this means building and maintaining a strong head office team and supporting them to succeed. It means working with our fundraisers to help secure the income we need to run our projects, communicating with frontline staff, speaking with seafarers and their families and feeding their comments back. It also means getting in front of the trade and general media to promote the work of the Society and the challenges seafarers face.
Some might think that leadership is a lonely place but I see it as an immersive experience where my role is to facilitate the charity’s vision.
Your charity has been helping seafarers and their families since 1818. What has been your focus for this bicentenary year?
To celebrate our 200th anniversary and still be ahead of the game is truly astounding. We wanted to make this a year of celebration, honouring all of those who have contributed to making the charity what it is and offering a chance for everyone to get involved with this special anniversary.
Sailors’ Society has always been a brilliant innovator. The charity’s first act back in 1818 was to convert one of Nelson’s former warships, Speedy, into a floating chapel for seafarers. Affectionately known as the Ark, it became one of the many homes from home, from church halls to seafarers’ centres – where seafarers could meet and receive practical, emotional and spiritual help from the Society’s chaplains.
"The Speedy" - Image Released With Permission Of Sailors’ Society
We continue to innovate and are always looking to the future, exploring new opportunities to expand our global services and enhance the support we offer through new digital platforms. Alongside that, we continue our core work and last year reached more than 375,000 seafarers and their families, to help them in times of need.
What are the most common challenges faced by men and women at sea and how do you support them?
Many of the issues faced by the seafarers that the charity supported in our fledgling years are the same today. Our chaplains – now working in 29 countries around the world – are still there for those facing financial difficulties, isolation, dangerous conditions and separation from loved ones.
The latter is a daily issue for every seafarer, as communication with friends and family can be severely limited and can compound the feelings of isolation that many experience.
Society chaplains take phone cards and Wi-Fi on board thousands of ships so seafarers can speak to their loved ones. There was even a case where our port chaplain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Regina Borges de Paula, introduced a new father to his baby for the first time over video call. As technology evolves, so do the means through which seafarers contact us for help. Seafarers stranded on abandoned ships send SOS messages to Sailors’ Society using Twitter and Facebook and chaplains communicate with them and their anxious families on WhatsApp. We have even built our own app to help chaplains share information, better measure the impact of their work and provide continuity of care from port to port. The technology has been licensed to the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) and is available to 28 member organisations globally.
Away from home for months at a time, seafarers are often unable to access facilities due to tight security and quick turnaround times. So each year, Sailors’ Society chaplains transport thousands of seafarers to shops and vital medical care.
We also recognise the psychological impact that life at sea can have. It is why we set up a global Crisis Response Network, which offers a 24-hour support service to seafarers who have suffered trauma, through incidents such as piracy or accidents at sea. The network has already helped many, including the crew of anti-piracy vessel MV Seaman Guard Ohio, who were acquitted of weapons charges, having previously been handed a five-year prison sentence.
Our crisis responders have been working closely with the Indian and Ukrainian crew and families from the ship, offering counselling and support to reintegrate into their communities. Our chaplain in Chennai, Manoj Joy, provided welfare and financial support for the crew and their families throughout their ordeal, as well as helping the seafarers’ lawyers prepare their appeal.
We also created our Wellness at Sea coaching programme in response to the impact that everyday seafaring can have on seafarers’ health. The programme comprises of a variety of tools including a coaching course, surveys, a free app and e-learning platform. It aims to promote on board fitness and well-being and in turn help minimise poor health or incidents at sea. Since its launch in 2015, more than 2,000 have benefited from the programme. From individual givers to large organisation, our work would not be possible without the incredible support of our donors.
What would be your advice to those younger generations looking to develop a career at sea?
A career at sea can be incredibly rewarding and for many offers a route out of poverty. However, we have noticed that although the training seafarers undergo prior to going to sea is excellent, it often concentrates on the traditional hard skills required, which can leave new recruits underprepared for some of the harsh realities that life at sea brings – such as isolation. That’s why we created our Wellness at Sea coaching programme and app, which help equip seafarers with some of the softer skills.
We hope that graduates of the course, which explores five aspects of wellness – social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual – will be able to recognise and pre-empt signs of physical or mental ill health for both themselves and crewmates.
The course can be undertaken in a traditional classroom setting or online and I would strongly recommend anyone considering a career at sea undergoes this, or a similar course, to prepare them for life at sea.
Likewise, if finances are an issue, it is worth looking at what scholarships or grants might be available – such as Sailors’ Society’s nautical grants programme.
Is gender diversity at sea a reality?
Shipping is changing and what may traditionally be viewed as a male only environment is no longer; that said, the industry still has a fair way to go. It’s great to see initiatives such as the recently formed Women in Maritime Forum which aims to address fairness, equality and inclusion within the maritime sector.
What more can the industry do to support seafarers?
Countless investigations into disasters at sea have proven that anxiety and fatigue can take a terrible toll on the decision-making abilities of crew. We are looking to ship owners to prioritise crew wellness and invest in training - such as our Wellness at Sea programme - in order to help prevent disasters like the El Faro tragedy.
Our Wellness at Sea Conference (16 March, London) aims to address crew wellness and how this impacts on the health of the ship - and ultimately the health of the ship owner’s balance sheet - and we are expecting a high turnout from forward-thinking companies.
We’ve been heartened to see so many industry leaders collaborating with us on our wellness work, but so there is still so much more to be done.
Seafarers are subject to piracy attacks at sea. How do you deal with these stressful situations?
Sadly, piracy is a dreadful reality of seafaring, its threat hangs daily over many seafarers’ heads. We’ve also seen a growth in terrorist attacks particularly in the Philippines.
Our Crisis Response Network now has more than 50 specially trained responders who are able to offer front line and ongoing support, counselling and welfare to survivors of incidents such as piracy, as well as to family members and any others affected.
The network operates in Africa, Asia and Europe and cases are referred to us either directly by an individual or company or we might make an offer of assistance. All cases are treated confidentially and our responders develop a programme of support tailored specifically to each service user.
The caseload is growing daily and includes seafarers such as Adi who received support and counselling to help return to ‘normal’ life following his release from five years held captive by pirates. I continue to be truly humbled by the strength of those we assist.
Anyone in need can contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org, +44(0)23 80 515950 or via any of our social media accounts.
How do you see new regulation affecting seafarers over the short and medium term?
The introduction of MLC (2006) was a key moment for seafarer welfare, even though some would say that it doesn’t go far enough. My view, for what it’s worth, is that it is less about the particular clauses and what they mean for seafarers and more about the fact that we have set the minimum standard and have something to build upon globally.
As we pursue greater protections for seafarers, our representation at the IMO as part of the ICMA delegation is key. Through this delegation we can directly influence future changes to the convention that will positively affect seafarers.
The current challenge, I believe, is to get more nation states signed up to the convention so that the minimum standard can be expected everywhere. It is interesting that such a high proportion of abandonment cases relate to vessels flagged in states that have not ratified MLC (2006) and I believe this is a campaign trail that we should be pursuing through our advocacy work to raise global standards.
What charitable events are planned over the coming months?
We kicked off the year with our 200th anniversary launch drinks reception at Trinity House, London, joining together with many of our closest industry supporters. We will continue to celebrate with a variety of events throughout the year including our Wellness at Sea Conference (16 March, London), an Anniversary Service (24 April, Southwark Cathedral, London) and challenge events to raise funds for our work around the world. The latter includes two new events, a Great Wall of China trek in May and the Loch Ness Challenge, a canoe expedition in the wilds of Scotland. You can find out more about all of these and how to sign up at www.sailors-society.org
In addition, we’ve used our remarkable archives to produce a quality, coffee-table-style book, aptly titled ‘200 Stories from the Sea’. It features a whole host of stories from our history, taking readers from desperate times at London docks following the Napoleonic Wars to the missionary eaten by cannibals, through World Wars, HMS Victory, Titanic and the tunes played on our centre piano by none other than The Beatles. It’s a fabulous read and will be available to purchase from late April.
We’ve launched a special blend of coffee, HMS Victory, in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, in honour of our 200th birthday and to raise funds. The coffee is one of seven great blends that we offer and is available to buy via www.bysea.org
Sailors’ Society is also fortunate to have some excellent companies and individuals running or taking part in events in our aid, from charity golf days to marathon running to canoeing on open sea!
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience:
Only last year, I discovered that my grandfather, William Ross, was one of 34 men lost when the trawler he was on board, HMS Ullswater, was torpedoed in the English Channel. He was just 43 years old.
We’d never discussed the circumstances of his death and it only came to light when my cousin in Canada sent me details of the tragedy. While it is very sad to have never met my grandfather in person, I feel that I am now starting to understand what a great man he was through his service to King and country.
Because my work involves supporting those affected by trauma at sea, it has given me greater insight into how devastating my grandfather’s loss must have been for my grandmother and mother as a child.
Robert Kessler, Program Manager (Maritime) At Oceaneering International Inc., Talks Maritime Intelligence, AIS Technology, Terminal Optimisation, Safety, Emissions, ROVs And More
Robert Kessler is Program Manager for Maritime Global Data Solutions at Oceaneering International Inc., a leading global provider of engineered products and services. Oceaneering concentrates primarily on the offshore oil and gas industry, with a focus on deepwater applications, and the use of applied technology expertise to serve the defense, entertainment, material handling, aerospace, science, and renewable energy industries.
In your view, what is Oceaneering's competitive advantage in the industry?
From the perspective of the Global Data Solutions group that I represent, Oceaneering offers a unique combination of products and capabilities that are increasingly important for oil and gas operations upstream, midstream, and downstream, as well as a broader set of both wet and dry bulk cargo shipping operations.
Additionally, we can extend our solutions with a variety of additional Oceaneering capabilities, including our OMV (Oceaneering Media Vault) solution for archiving, retrieving, and analysing media footage from any location at any time, so users can more easily make decisions on day-to-day problems or on questions about assets and operations.
In general, our solutions solve some of today’s most difficult challenges through the collection, transmission, integration, analysis, and display of crucial data that help improve efficiency while enabling collaborative process monitoring, reporting, decision making, and key performance indicator (KPI) tracking and process optimisation.
What is PortVision 360?
The PortVision 360 Marine Asset Protection solution is an extension of the Oceaneering PortVision service, so that it now also includes the company’s shore-based AMIC, which gives owners of remotely operated fixed structures a round-the-clock “virtual watch team” for assessing threats posed by vessels to their multiple remote assets or large areas of subsea infrastructure, anywhere in the world.
The AMIC provides operators with a holistic view of what is happening around their global assets – they can protect their rigs and platforms from vessel collisions and unauthorised encroachments, and comprehensive vessel and location snapshot reporting provides information about each vessel, point-of-interest, or user-defined zone. GPS positions from AIS transmitters, radar targets, and other sensors are ingested into the AMIC data centre, and integration with satellite AIS delivers a complete offshore picture, enabling the PortVision 360 software to filter out false-negative alarms and send alerts about vessels’ interactions with the identified assets. Throughout the process, the collected data is also used to optimise operational efficiency and emergency response.
Our PortVision 360 service builds on 10 years of proven success for the company’s collaborative web-based vessel-tracking product line, extending its capabilities to make it even easier to answer questions and share information about vessel movements and events anywhere in the world. Key features include our patented Insight analysis engine, which gives users a better understanding of dynamic vessel tracks; a Vessel Intelligence feature, which provides access to over 50 additional data attributes on 10,000 workboats and offshore support vessels; and expanded reporting against a data warehouse of 100 billion vessel arrivals, departures, passings, and individual vessel movements.
How has AIS evolved over time, and, applying today’s technology, how do we utilise this information?
When our PortVision service debuted a decade ago, it quickly proved its worth for enhancing vessel, port, and terminal efficiency, while reducing costs and improving safety and security. Leveraging real-time and historical AIS data and, later, radar and other data inputs, PortVision was used to centralise logistics management in the oil and gas industry, and this service has enabled tug and vessel operators to significantly reduce standby time at docks and terminals. Users have achieved these accomplishments during a period of unprecedented growth in crude oil transportation traffic, and, now, this AIS-based tool is poised to deliver new and better ways to improve visibility and efficiency, while also protecting vessels and the assets they navigate around as the industry enters its next wave of traffic growth and evolution.
One of the most important evolutionary developments has been the transition of the PortVision 360 service beyond simple vessel tracking into comprehensive offshore asset protection with our AMIC solution. This delivers a significantly more cost-effective, reliable, and consistent way to protect infrastructure from vessel threats with remotely located round-the-clock active watch teams. Early detection is too critical to be a secondary or even tertiary crew responsibility, or to be compromised by alarm fatigue. A better approach to more intelligent and effective risk mitigation requires: 1) access to data for each defined vessel risk, 2) a risk-monitoring platform that combines data sources into a shared display and can issue customized threat alerts based on each asset’s unique risk profiles, 3) a clearly defined set of risk assessment and mitigation procedures, and 4) dedicated and properly trained staff that can validate risks and initiate mitigation.
Outsourcing these elements to the Oceaneering AMIC centralised monitoring service ensures that professionals experienced with vessel operations are all using the same procedures, processes, and tools across the asset infrastructure. The team understands each asset’s specific risk profile and procedures, and knows how to interpret vessel movements and triggered PortVision 360 alarms. Their training and standardised operating procedures are always improving, and they apply best practices across all assets. Operators with multiple assets in the same region can take advantage of the AMIC network’s data sensors across their infrastructure to cover data gaps if a radar or other sensor fails. Using the PortVision 360 service with the Oceaneering AMIC enables users to monitor, assess, mitigate, and measure the risk of vessels impacting their assets, while improving visibility and transparency, strengthening safety and security, and generating higher-value operational insights.
What are the advantages of using a digital platform to improve port efficiency?
Oceaneering digital platforms have improved efficiency as vessels move to and from terminal docks, and they also improve port operations in other ways, leveraging the approximately 1 billion position records per month that the PortVision service ingests from every major port and waterway across the globe. Two examples are safety and vessel emissions control:
Safety: At Port Fourchon, Louisiana, our PortVision service was used to demonstrate the benefits of using AIS data in a digital platform as part of a major initiative to protect pipelines, the mariners who operate near them, and the environment surrounding them. In partnership with the Greater LaFourche Port Commission and Oceaneering, the Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO) group demonstrated a safety broadcast system that transmitted AIS safety messages directly to mariners in two charted pipeline corridors near the port, significantly improving their situational awareness by providing immediate visibility about imminent threats and alerting vessels in danger of a possible pipeline strike. The system used AIS data to monitor vessel activities around pipelines and other infrastructure, alerted stakeholders when there was danger, and generated the actionable analytics necessary for risk assessment and asset management resource allocation and other decisions. To implement the marine safety and pipeline alert system, Port Fourchon and Oceaneering incorporated all pipeline maps into the PortVision vessel-tracking tool. Based on each specific pipeline segment, alerting parameters and criteria were determined and built into the solution, including vessel speed in or near zones of interest and duration of time spent near the pipeline segment. These and other variables can be problem indicators that should be scrutinised.
Emissions Monitoring: Another example of the benefits to ports of using digital platforms is generating in-port ship emissions data. The Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) is using the Oceaneering PortVision service to facilitate the operation of an online portal that will enable users to access emissions data of individual vessels at berth, at anchor, and at a port’s boundary. The solution leverages the PortVision 360 service’s ability to create geofences and real-time alerts, while also performing emissions calculations and generating emissions rating data, creating emissions layers on the main vessel-tracking map, and feeding the resulting information into an emissions dashboard that enables users to drill into data for ports, points of interest, and individual vessels.
How can big data help provide efficiency in shipping logistics?
Advances in data analytics and machine learning have allowed our team to really dig into seven years of historical vessel data and to dig out correlations that may not have otherwise been unearthed. For understanding the correlation of port congestion with weather events on the other side of the globe, our goal is to leverage our data in a way that businesses will know where their vessels or cargos are in real time, and to provide transparency to empower them to make informed decisions that increase efficiencies across the entire maritime supply chain.
What are the risks of subsea oil and gas operations, and how does your technology mitigate these challenges?
Our PortVision 360 service and our AMIC address these risks head-on.
As background, oil rigs and other fixed offshore assets faced many threats in the marine environment. They are vulnerable to allisions from vessels and to unexpected equipment failure, as well as health, safety, and environmental (HSE) hazards. These and other risks can be mitigated by identifying and prioritising operational risks at each site and understanding their environmental and financial impacts, and by applying smarter ways to manage and optimise the performance of widely dispersed assets in harsh and hard to monitor offshore environments. In the past, operators have typically set a radar “guard ring” and associated alerting mechanisms, so there would be a notification when vessels drew to within a set distance from the asset. Unfortunately, high volumes of false radar alarms from the assets’ own support vessels often desensitised watch teams. Plus, there was no way to incorporate the approaching vessel’s speed into the alarm trigger. Setting a ring large enough to account for fast-approaching vessels often overwhelmed watchstanders with false alarms, while too small a ring did not allow adequate mitigation notice.
Our PortVision 360 service and our AMIC solve this problem. The PortVision 360 service ingests all required GPS positions from AIS transmitters, radar targets, and other sensors, and integrates them with a satellite AIS for a complete offshore picture. Then, our shore-based AMIC provides a 24/7 “virtual watch team” for monitoring this data and assessing asset threats anywhere in the world. The disparate data sets are aggregated and transported to the AMIC to deliver centralised visualisation and actionable intelligence.
Five years from now, where do you see Oceaneering?
Our acquisition of PortVision a few years ago has expanded our vessel tracking capabilities and maritime domain expertise. The datasets we currently manage can allow us to deliver some very rich intelligence that will help cargo owners make better decisions to increase efficiency around the transport of cargo. Oceaneering, at its core, is a robotics company that specialises in harsh environments. We started with subsea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the 1970s, and have branched out to non-tethered autonomous factory floor transport robots and trackless amusement park rides. I see Oceaneering expanding its expertise further into the maritime sector. We currently provide Underwater in Lieu of Drydocking (UWILD) surveys using our ROV fleet. It is not a stretch to see Oceaneering moving into the autonomous shipping realm.
Please describe your most memorable shipping experience:
One winter, when I was on the Mormac Star in the north Atlantic, I looked back and saw the stern deck taking on green seas where I had just been standing. That was the moment when I understood that the sea is truly in control.
What is your favourite ship?
As an engine cadet of the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, 1988), I had the privilege of being part of the crew on the Genevieve Lykes, in her twilight years. Even then, the engine room was spotless. The ship was a traditional breakbulk ship with heavy lift capability. We went around the world stopping at ports in the Indian Ocean and the Far East before returning via the Panama Canal.
Markku Mylly, Executive Director European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Talks Compliance, Maritime Safety & Security, Pollution Response & Prevention And Drone Services
Markku Mylly is Executive Director at the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), responsible for providing technical and scientific assistance to the European Commission and Member States in the proper development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, pollution by ships and security on board ships. Markku started his maritime career in the Finnish Merchant Shipping in 1973, sailing on Finnish ships until 1987 when he joined the Finnish Maritime Administration (FMA), where he gained extensive high-level experience until 2010. Markku was then appointed CEO and Managing Director of Finnish Port Association in 2010, serving in this position until he was nominated Executive Director of The European Maritime Safety Agency in 2012.
The Executive Director is also responsible for carrying out day-to-day management of the Agency, recruiting the Agency’s staff, in compliance with the EU Staff regulations and fostering a good team spirit and positive working environment.
What are the main functions of EMSA?
To ensure a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of, and response to, pollution caused by ships as well as response to marine pollution caused by oil and gas installations.
EMSA is responsible for technical and scientific assistance to the Commission and the Member States in the proper development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, maritime security, and prevention of pollution by ships.
The Agency is also responsible for the verification and monitoring of the implementation of EU legislation through visits and inspections, and supports capacity building through training and cooperation and tools such as the STCW Information System (STCW-IS), which provides information on maritime administrations and maritime education and training establishments in the EU, including maritime programmes, number of students and graduates as well as numerical information on certificates of competency and endorsements issued by the EU Member States; the European Marine Casualty Information Platform (EMCIP) which is a repository of data and information related to marine casualties involving all types of ships and occupational accidents and enables the production of statistics and analysis of the technical, human, environmental and organisational factors involved in accidents at sea; THETIS and its modules, RuleCheck and MaKCs which are tools facilitating and supporting uniform implementation of EU maritime legislation and enhancing the capacity of the Member States. EMSA also provides operational assistance to Member States and the Commission in the field of preparedness and response to at-sea pollution caused by ships and oil and gas installations. In addition, EMSA facilitates technical cooperation between Member States and the Commission in the field of vessel and port reporting and for maritime surveillance at sea. A number of systems (e.g. SafeSeaNet, CleanSeaNet, Long Range Identification and Tracking) are maintained and developed in order to offer government-to-government maritime information services; this includes a platform for integrated maritime information services, tailored to user requirements.
Please tell us about the main challenges of EMSA in terms of the maritime industry today:
EMSA will continue to support Member States and the Commission by visits and inspections also in the coming years. We will continue inspections of Recognised Organisations and Maritime Training Institutions in third countries.
EMSA will continue the work related to REFIT exercise of passenger ship safety, STCW, PSC and Marine Equipment and we continue to work together with the Commission in security inspections. Supporting PSC & Flag State enforcement is further an important task of the Agency and EMSA will continue to enhance this work in order to further reduce the inspection effort and to maximise the time in which the ship can be commercially exploited, whilst continuing to ensure high safety standards. The Agency continues providing Integrated Maritime Services to Member State Authorities and EU bodies executing functions in the maritime domain. The list includes: EU Naval Forces in Horn of Africa area and Mediterranean area, European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the European Border and Coastguard Agency (Frontex), and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N). Services will be refined and further developed in line with evolving operational needs based on feedback from users, including discussions which take place within the framework of user fora e.g. Integrated Maritime Service (IMS) Group User Consultation Meetings. Provision of services to other EU/MS entities will be explored and developed as appropriate. Supporting simplification of reporting formalities and more maritime transport efficiency is an important task of the Agency. We continue to work with the Commission and Member States to develop EMSW (European Maritime Single Window) to minimise the administrative burden on board the vessels in creating EU Maritime space without barriers.
Are all EU Member States on par with the implementation of EU legislation relating to maritime safety, pollution prevention and maritime security?
Verification of the implementation of the EU maritime safety and security legislation remains an essential task that the Agency performs to support the European Commission. There are several reasons for verifying how this legislation is implemented in practice, including: detecting gaps in the overall safety system, promoting a harmonised approach across the European Union and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures in place.
EMSA has been conducting this task for more than 15 years and the methodology for the visits to Member States was updated by the Administrative Board in 2016. The level of Member States implementation of safety, security and environmental protection legislation is on a very high and uniform level today.
How effective is the European cooperation of Coast Guard functions?
European Coast Guard Function is a huge challenge and the three European agencies – the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and EMSA are progressing well. Coast Guard functions are performed, both at national and European level, by different organisations focusing on one or more areas of activity. Synergies can be achieved for example during joint operations focusing on multiple objectives (border control and illegal activities, fishery control, etc.).
A permanent cooperation framework with a clear legal and operational focus is enhancing the EU maritime surveillance capabilities whilst respecting the Agencies and their mandates, but strengthening cooperation and creating synergies.
This kind of cooperation framework is not adding overhead or a governance layer, but creates a framework which facilitates cooperation between EU Agencies enabling to better fulfilling their respective mandates.
What projects is EMSA currently working on?
EMSA is currently starting the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) or drone services, which we have developed to assist Member States authorities conducting so called coast guard functions, such as (1) maritime pollution and emissions monitoring; (2) detection of illegal fishing, anti-drug trafficking, and illegal immigration; and (3) search and rescue operations, etc.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) can be used as aerial platforms for sensors such as optical cameras in the visible and infrared (IR) spectral range for night and day maritime surveillance, IR sensors for oil slick detection and analysis, radar for maritime surveillance, and oil spill detection, and gas sensors (“sniffers”) to measure the amount of SOx in a plume emitted by a ship to be able to calculate the percentage of sulphur used in the fuel burned by the ship.
Additionally all RPAS are equipped with AIS sensors to have a complete picture of vessel movements and distress sensors to be able to react in emergencies.
In 2015, the EU Commission launched the e-Manifest pilot project, with the support of EMSA, and in consultation with Member States and the shipping industry. The main objective is to demonstrate the way in which cargo information required by both maritime and customs authorities can be submitted together with other reporting formalities required by Directive 2010/65/EU in a harmonised manner, and via a European Maritime Single Window (EMSW).
EMSA has been providing technical assistance to the Commission in relation to GHG emissions from ships, in particular in following up ongoing international developments. The Agency has developed a new module in THETIS, namely THETIS-MRV, in support of Regulation (EU) 2015/757 for the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport.
The system will be taken in operation in 01.01.2018 and it is really unique and innovative, since for the first time EMSA has developed a system to facilitate the shipping industry and not only authorities from Member States. Through this web-based application all relevant parties foreseen by Regulation (EU) 2015/757 for the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport (owners, managers, verifiers, Member States) will fulfil their monitoring and reporting obligations in a harmonised way.
As part of the projects for technical assistance funded by the European Commission, EMSA offers cooperation and assistance in the fields of maritime safety and security, prevention of pollution from ships and marine environmental issues to North African countries (SAFEMED IV-project) and Black and Caspian Sea countries (BCS-project).
Where do you see EMSA in 5-10 years?
EMSA has shown to be very effective and valuable Agency for the Commission and Member States in supporting their work in enhancing Maritime Safety, Security and Environmental protection in EU waters. I believe that EMSA has a very bright and challenging future to further enhance maritime related issues in EU domain. I would like to see EMSA’s role also to support more industry in providing them information and data which is collected by EMSA in our data bases. Of course there has to be clear rules on how this data can be shared with different stakeholders respecting the data protection rules and different type of business rules.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience:
I think my most memorable shipping experience happened in 1974 on the route from Amsterdam to Pulau Sambu (Indonesia). I was an ordinary seaman on the handy size Finnish tanker “Tramontana”. We passed the equator and of course there was a big celebration to those who passed the line for the first time. We stopped at Cape Town for bunkering and took some provisions and then continued our voyage towards Indonesia. In the Indian Ocean our vessel started to crack on starboard side and before Mauritius we had a big hole, approximately 4 meters high amidships. We had to look for shelter and we headed to Mauritius and Port Luis. When we arrived at Port Luis a hurricane passed over Mauritius and we had both anchors down and the engine running ahead to keep the vessel in position. We cleared the storm and afterwards we were moored to the mooring buoys in outer roads where we stayed for seven weeks for discharging the cargo and temporary repairs. The cargo was discharged to another vessel and our starboard side was strengthened so that the classification society gave us permission to sail to Gadani beach in Pakistan were the vessel was then scrapped.
Do you have a favourite ship?
Yes I do have a favourite ship. When I was working in Finnish Maritime Administration (FMA) we had an old steamship which we used for representation purposes. She was and still is an extremely beautiful vessel, built in 1894, only burning wood and the entire interior is renovated to us much as possible for original condition. This vessel is a historical masterpiece of shipbuilding and a beauty in one package.
Javier Lancha, Managing Director APM Terminals Callao (Peru), Talks Teamwork, Equipment, Economy & Productivity, Technology, Digitalisation And Operational Efficiency
Javier Lancha is Managing Director at APM Terminals Callao (Peru) since December 2016. Previously, he was CEO at APM Terminals Algeciras and Managing Director at APM Terminals West Med, Algeciras & Tangier. He has extensive experience in managerial positions of multinational corporations such as Alcatel, Thales and Galileo Industries. It should be noted that the latter was the main contractor that developed the gas infrastructure for the European Space Agency. Javier Lancha holds an Advanced Management Program from IESE Business School - University of Navarra, and a degree in Business Administration (B.B.A.) from the University College of Financial Studies.
About your experience in the industry, how have the years at APM Terminals Algeciras helped you in your current role?
My first experience in the port sector was when I was appointed Finance Director in Algeciras, later I had the challenge to take on the position of Director of that terminal, and then take on the Management of West Med of Algeciras & Tangier.
As this was my first position in the port sector, joining Algeciras represented a very important professional challenge, the starting point of my training in the business; and what better start than working in the hub of the Mediterranean region, the most important terminal in Spain, and a strategic point in a complex and challenging environment.
What is your Management Model at the terminal?
APM Terminals Callao is more a country port, contrary to Algeciras, which is a transhipment port; the North Pier of the Port of Callao is the main gateway into Peru, which has an important impact on the economy of the country, as well as an institutional and commercial impact.
How is APM Terminals Callao different from the competition?
The unique differentiator of APM Terminals Callao is its multipurpose port nature, providing container and general cargo services, the latter including break bulk, solid bulk, rolling cargo, liquids, as well as any other type of cargo such as cruise ships. Additionally, we have technologically advanced equipment and personnel with international experience to meet these various types of cargo.
What are your growth prospects in the short, medium and long term?
The growth forecast for the following years is good and aligned with the growth of the Peruvian Gross Domestic Product (4%), and with international markets where we export and import products, reason for which an increase is expected in both, container and general cargo volumes.
Technology in the port sector is key. How does your terminal optimise resources?
Technology in the port sector, as in all sectors, is a challenge today. We ask ourselves every day how to adapt to new technologies, processes and concepts that revolutionise the design and development of ports in terms of productivity, sustainability, with the sole purpose of meeting the demands of our customers. In that sense, APM Terminals aims to automate its processes globally.
At APM Terminals Callao we are moving forward in terms of modernisation, we aim to, in the 24 years that we have left in our concession, turn the Port of Callao into a world class operation. Since 2011, APM Terminals is in charge of the modernisation project of the terminal, guaranteeing the necessary infrastructure and equipment that allows to increase the operational efficiency and its standards to an international level.
After six years in the concession, APM Terminals has invested more than USD 460 million and has completed stages 1 and 2 of the modernisation project. In terms of automation, USD 10.4 million were invested in a new entry gate, which has an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system, unique in Peru, which serves to capture information and digital images from all sides of the container and the truck. In this way, the number plate data and container number are recorded quickly and accurately. On the other hand, we have signed an agreement with the National Superintendence of Customs and Tax Administration, so that the administrative procedures are virtual allowing to improve processes, have a greater planning, greater efficiency and speed in the delivery of containers. Step by step we are moving forward; in the next few years we should start to evaluate how to automate horizontal transportation in each container yard.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the maritime sector?
We are experiencing changes in both, the port and in any other business sector related to the disruptive process of digitalisation, which has increased access and opportunities, has increased complexity, and -above all- has created an exponential change in the perception of urgency for everything short term.
Please talk to us about your memorable shipping experience:
For me, being part of APM Terminals has been a pleasant experience in my life because it has allowed me to get closer to the ocean from another perspective. A few years ago I was facing the coasts of the Mediterranean, when I was heading Algeciras; it was the first time I had daily contact with the maritime sector, and now I am facing the Pacific coast in Callao. Since then I am connected to the sea on a daily basis, and this represents a very valuable experience in my life.
Please tell us about your favourite ship:
I could not define which one is my favourite vessel, as there are a variety of types and models with a range of different features; they are all really impressive. But what I can highlight is that I have been lucky enough to live and see the transformation of mega ships. We are currently living this process in which the ships are adapting to the new needs of the market. In Algeciras I had the opportunity to lead the modernisation project to adapt the terminal so that it could receive vessels such as the Triple E, considered one of the largest in the world. This has been rewarding, in addition to being at the forefront of this transformation, being able to have them in front of me represents a great experience.
Argyris Stasinakis, Board Member And Responsible For Business Development At MarineTraffic, Talks Maritime Data & Intelligence, Vessel Tracking, Global AIS Network, Autonomous Ships And More
Argyris Stasinakis is Partner, Board Member and responsible for Business Development at Marine Traffic, the Global pioneer in AIS vessel tracking. Founded in 2007 as an experiment, it now counts with a wide range of driven professionals with a common goal: to make the shipping industry more efficient and transparent.
Please tell us more about your company's vision and team:
The MarineTraffic success story is based on people. From our Athens, Oxford and recently opened Singapore offices, a team of talented programmers, data curators and customer services people in the business have built a data-driven vessel tracking service that is used by 6.5 million people a month. But our accomplishments are not just down to MarineTraffic employees: it is our huge global network of AIS station managers (in excess of 3,000 active coastal receivers) and photographers (in excess of 2 million photos) who have enabled MarineTraffic to be such a success.
Our vision is to become more deeply embedded than ever before in our professional customers’ businesses. The first step is to move even deeper into optimising ship voyages. We want to be more closely involved with how a ship interacts with a terminal, including planning and execution of nautical services. We adopt a holistic approach of optimising the voyage from berth to berth, going beyond standard routeing services which are currently available. Benefits are significant: lower fuel consumption, lower emissions, improved berth occupancy, tighter time windows for delivery of services. The overall financial and environmental impact concerns individual stakeholders and society in general.
The second step is to build on MarineTraffic reach and provide digital space to allow other enterprises to do business on the MarineTraffic platform, as well as supporting a range of projects and enterprises. We want to turn MarineTraffic into a global platform for the shipping industry.
We envisage the MarineTraffic screen at the heart of a range of maritime transactions. Whilst MarineTraffic has long been facilitating API data exchange, by allowing third parties to build their own systems incorporating MarineTraffic data, the future will see a marketplace approach with a seamless experience for our users. Key features will be interaction between users across organisations, collaborating on processes involving multiple parties.
What competitive advantage do you have over other ship tracking services in the market?
At base level, the quality of our data and reach is second to none. Our reach is wider than any other tracking service and critically our freemium service is easy to use.
One step further, we are thought leaders in data advancements in the maritime domain, combining deep knowledge, a thirst for innovation, a high degree of realism and constant interaction/feedback from our clients. I believe our approach is unique.
Public tracking of ships can be a challenge in those areas with high risk of piracy. How does this work?
Any ship transiting an area at risk of piracy has the ability to switch off their AIS. It is a decision for the ship’s Master. AIS is not an enabler or cause of piracy.
How does Marine Traffic contribute to safety at sea?
MarineTraffic is not a safety system and we do not recommend that anyone uses our system as a navigational aid. Having said that, our historical data is frequently used in studying patterns of life, traffic density in sensitive areas (e.g. ports, canals, wind farms, floating platforms…), accidents etc. Our video playback feature is an excellent tool for visualising events over a time window in a specific area. Such data and tools enables authorities to revise local regulations as necessary, enhancing, in a preemptive fashion, safety of life at sea.
What are your views on autonomous ships?
As a technical, IT orientated person I am of course intrigued by the concept of autonomous ships. There are some extremely exciting and interesting projects in this area. I can see how many of the activities carried out by seafarers could be automated, allowing sea staff to focus on the aspects of bridge and engine room management that require problem-solving skills and creativity. However, we are still some way off from the day of the fully autonomous ship.
How do you see new technology improving future tracking services?
The proliferation of satellite broadband services already has a positive impact on data collected from ships. This applies to position tracking data with the caveat that such data is, of course, proprietary. AIS, which we capture, is an open transmission, available to all. The technology is already 20+ years old, which is “old” in our fast moving world. In the short-mid term, we expect improved coverage thanks to floating (“roaming”) AIS receivers on board vessels and to new, larger constellations of satellites capturing the AIS signal.
What other less popular applications do you provide users, apart from standard vessel tracking?
We are proud of our new business directory. It is growing in popularity, since businesses choose to register with MarineTraffic.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience and favourite ship:
My background is in data and information technology, so I have mostly experienced shipping as a passenger. I remember as a child grasping my glasses so that they do not fall off my head at sea as I was staring at the reflection of the sun. I remember, at a later age, dolphins while travelling (on the EL.VENIZELOS, I believe) in the Aegean towards Crete. And I later remember partying on a cruise ship while crossing the Adriatic. Good memories all of them. You know, when visiting ports, I somehow still have this fleeting desire to board a ship and just go anywhere it takes me!
Editor, Marine Strategy
The Editor is not responsible for the opinions expressed by Interviewees.
Interviews are pre-approved by the Interviewee before public release.