Industry News




Traxens joins Port of Rotterdam’s smart container project

French supply chain technology specialist Traxens has joined Port of Rotterdam’s #WeAre42 smart container project, which was created to analyse the logistics challenges in the maritime sector.

The move will allow the port to enable autonomous sailing by 2030.

As a project partner, the company will offer its technology to deal with logistical efficiency and sustainability issues.

Traxens managing director Jacques Delort said: “Traxens is the future of digitalisation in the supply chain industry. Our smart technology will gather, generate and aggregate data from Container 42 in this worldwide data finding mission.

“The Port of Rotterdam is one of the leading ports in the world. We are looking forward to working with them to digitally transform multimodal supply chains and improve logistical efficiency.”

Traxens’ device and communication technology onboard Container 42 will produce the Internet of Things (IoT) data via the Traxens Hub platform.

The technology will record acceleration, vibration, position, as well as sound and air pollution, humidity and temperature that the container encounters during its journey.

The solar panel-equipped container will also measure the power produced and utilised for the purpose of data collection.

Fitted with Traxens’ technology, Container 42 will be a two-year global initiative.

Port of Rotterdam programme manager Erwin Rademaker stated: “We are very happy to welcome Traxens to the Container 42 journey. We believe the digitisation of Rotterdam’s port services will contribute to even safer, swifter and more reliable forwarding of cargo.

“At some point in the future, it will also enable Rotterdam to accommodate autonomous shipping in its port area.”

A number of partners support the Container 42 initiative, including Axians, Intel, IBM, Cisco, Esri, HyET Solar,, Betta Batteries, Van Donge & de Roo, Simwave, Kalmar and Shipping Technology and others.




Orient Overseas Container Line sells Long Beach Container Terminal for $1.78bn

Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has sold of Long Beach Container Terminal to a Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP)-led consortium for $1.78bn.

The deal was originally announced in April. According to the agreement, OOCL sold 100% of shares of the terminal.

LBCT LLC operates the terminal, which is located in the Port of Long Beach in California, US.

OOCL parent company OOIL, Faulkner Global, the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice have signed National Security Agreement. The terminal sale deal was part of the agreement.

OOCL CEO Andy Tung said: “Over the past thirty years, we have developed Long Beach Container Terminal into the safest, most efficient and lowest-emission terminal in the United States.

“We are confident of the future prospects of the terminal under the ownership of MIP and its co-investors and we look forward to being a long-term strategic customer of Long Beach Container Terminal and the Port of Long Beach.”

According to the contract, OOCL will also sign a container stevedoring and terminal services agreement with LBCT for a period of 20 years.

MIP CEO Karl Kuchel said: “This transaction marks another key milestone in our relationship with OOIL and we greatly appreciate their significant long-term customer commitment to LBCT.

“We are also committed to completing the current expansion of LBCT by 2022, which will significantly increase the capacity of the terminal.”

Bilge technology. Image courtesy of PRNewsfoto / Nautic Alert




Grampet partners with ASCO to open Constanta – Batumi shipping route

Railway freight transporter group Grampet has partnered with GR Logistics & Terminals and Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company (ASCO) to open a regular shipping route, connecting the Constanta port in Romania to Georgia’s Batumi port.

ASCO subsidiary ACSC has signed the contract on behalf of ASCO.

In June, Grampet and Kazakhstan’s Kazmortransflot have signed a memorandum of partnership as part of the project.

Grampet president Gruia Stoica said: “One year after joining the Middle Corridor Association, we have managed to activate the Batumi / Poti – Constanta shipping route, which has a very important role for the freight transit from Asia to Europe. It is basically the last piece missing from the Middle Corridor chain.

“At the same time, the Tbilisi agreement brings us closer to our stated goal of launching the first rail freight transports between China and Western Europe that will transit Romania.”

The agreement supports the establishment of a consortium that will operate a 144 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity vessel to transport goods three times a month.

Grampet vice-president Sorin Chinde said: “The lack of a direct naval connection between the Georgian ports and Constanta has so far been a major obstacle to attracting transports for Europe on this route. Alternative routes, which go through Istanbul or Piraeus, are non-competitive because they have a transit time of 12 to 24 days.

“Once a permanent and regular connection between the ports of Georgia and Romania is launched, we can reduce this transit time by five days forth / five days back so that the transit time between the Georgian ports and Constanta is reduced to two days.”

Featuring 156 berths, Constanta Port can manage more than 100 million tonnes of cargo a year. The Batumi Port with its five terminals and 11 berths can handle over 18 million tonnes of goods annually.

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Indian ship classification society IRClass receives RO status

The ship classification society Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) has received ‘Recognised Organisation’ (RO) authorisation from the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA).

The move will enable the company to provide classification services to Danish-flagged ships.

The society said that obtaining the RO status from important maritime flags forms part of its plan to expand its presence in Europe.

In a letter addressed to IRClass, the DMA said: “We are fully convinced that IRClass is a qualified and competent organisation capable of providing professional services for our Danish shipping industry. The agreement will further strengthen the maritime ties between India and Denmark.

“We look forward to establishing a sound working relationship with IRClass and will seize future opportunities for direct technical cooperation with your distinguished classification society.”

Currently, the society has branches in the UK, the Netherlands, Greece and Turkey. The company is planning to expand its network in Northern Europe.

IRClass vice-president and regional manager PK Mishra said: “IRClass is proud to have been formally recognised as a ‘Recognised Organisation’ by the DMA.

“This enables us to offer our classification services to Danish-flagged vessels and further enhances our reputation in the European market as a trustworthy classification society with a commitment to provide prompt and value-added services to European shipowners.”

In July, the company secured RO authorisation from the Republic of Cyprus.

In total, the company obtained the approval of 44 flag administrations, including the Netherlands, Malta and Bulgaria. The society received the EU authorisation in 2016.




Blockchain fuel tracking tool BunkerTrace launches commercially

A blockchain and DNA-based fuel tracking solution BunkerTrace has launched commercially to offer increased transparency in the marine fuel supply chain.

BunkerTrace combines synthetic DNA tracers and blockchain to manage marine fuel risks by creating a transparent chain of custody.

The launch of the technology follows a successful trial in the Netherlands that was conducted in collaboration with maritime industry association Cooperative Bebeka.

Boskalis-owned dredger Prins der Nederlanden was used to test the solution.

The solution adds DNA markers to fuel in the supply chain and records each transaction in a blockchain-based system.

The integration of blockchain and DNA provides an immutable audit trail that follows the fuel and any changes made to it. It also records all actions of the operators transacting the fuel.

Cooperative Bebeka general director Harry Vasse said: “CSR reporting takes place at boardroom level since company reputation is at stake.

“With the product portfolio in the marine energy market becoming increasingly complex and diverse, in the near future our focus is on expertise and continuously developing of member protection tools, and this is why we fully support the BunkerTrace initiative.

“Combining these two revolutionary technologies will provide the Cooperative and its members with an independent and transparent method for managing fuel quality throughout the bunker chain. Furthermore, it will support us in identifying the most reliable and trustworthy supply chains and streamline compliance.”

The blockchain solution also traces interactions that occur on a human-to-human level. It helps to track fuels and prevent non-compliant or contaminated marine fuels from being used on vessels.

BunkerTrace enables the ship crew to check fuel before it is bunkered, reducing dependence on lab trials.

Currently, BunkerTrace is available for integration by ports, bunker suppliers and vessel operators.




ABB to provide autonomous tug solution to Port of Singapore

Technology company ABB has received a contract from Singaporean shipyard Keppel Offshore & Marine to enable autonomous tug operation at the Port of Singapore by next year.

In collaboration with Keppel Marine and Deepwater Technology (KMDTech), ABB will develop the technology for autonomous vessels.

As part of the project, ABB will deploy its Ability Marine Pilot portfolio of solutions to support the ‘sense-decide-act’ loop needed for autonomy.

ABB Ability Marine Pilot Vision will deliver the sensor fusion to produce a digital situational awareness. ABB Ability Marine Pilot Control will complete the essential conning commands.

The autonomous solution will be retrofitted in a 32m Keppel Smit Towage’s harbour tugboat. The solution will enable the Port of Singapore to achieve its goal of autonomous ship operation by the end of 2020.

Once completed, the ship will be the first autonomous tug in South Asia.

The vessel will perform a number of navigational tasks in a designated test area in the Port of Singapore during the project’s initial phase.

ABB Marine & Ports managing director Juha Koskela said: “This project is a key marker on our digital journey, as it demonstrates our capabilities as a leader in intelligent shipping technology and proves the success of our Electric. Digital. Connected. vision for the maritime industry.

“The intent of our technology is not to entirely remove the crew but rather to relieve the crew from the tasks that can be automated and thus enable them to perform at their best during critical operations.”

During the second phase of the project, the ship will conduct autonomous collision avoidance work under remote supervision.

ABB noted that it will enable the crew onboard the ship to rest and be alert when required for the actual work of the tug.

The company also said that the trial utilises digital solutions in increasing the safety and efficiency of tug operations.

As part of the agreement, KMDTech will collaborate with the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS) and the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to develop requested technology.

KMDTech will also serve as the system integrator for the autonomous solutions.

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Ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge begin merger negotiations

The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge in Belgium have started discussions about the possibility of a merger to address the issue of growing competition.

The two will continue the talks for two years until reaching the final decision.

Both port authorities have selected consultancy firm Deloitte and the Belgian law company Laga to conduct a complementarity study. In the study, the ports were found to have similar external challenges.

In a statement, the ports said: “The report of Deloitte and Laga states that the current cooperation between the two ports has little impact because of the existing competition, limited scope and low engagement.”

Highlighting the possible synergy between the two ports, the report concluded that improved collaborations will enable the ports to deal with future challenges, including digitalisation.

Port of Zeebrugge chairman Dirk De fauw said: “The ambition of both port authorities is to form a ‘main port from A to Z’ which is ‘future-proof’.

“Based on the growing trust and the positive findings of the research report, we will start the formal discussions with our colleagues from the Port of Antwerp.”

Antwerp manages 235 million tonnes of goods annually and is the second-largest port in Europe.

In terms of importing and exporting roll-on/roll-off (RORO) cargo, the Port of Zeebrugge is the largest port in the world. In 2017, the port handled a total of 2.8 million new vehicles and 1.3 million full truckloads.

Last month, Norwegian cleantech firm ECOSUBSEA secured contracts to provide hull cleaning services in ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge.

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IBM to provide AI system to Mayflower Autonomous Ship

Multinational technology company IBM has announced that it will provide its artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) for the trans-Atlantic journey in September 2020.

In July 2015, Plymouth University, in partnership with autonomous craft specialist MSubs and yacht designer Shuttleworth Design, launched the project to design and build the world’s first fully autonomous, unmanned research ship.

IBM will join the global consortium of partners, led by marine research organisation ProMare.

The launch of the autonomous ship will mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower sailings from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth in Massachusetts, US.

In addition to the AI system, IBM will also supply advanced servers, as well as cloud and edge computing technologies for the project.

Mayflower Autonomous Ship project co-director Brett Phaneuf said: “Putting a research ship to sea can cost tens of thousands of dollars or pounds a day and is limited by how much time people can spend onboard, a prohibitive factor for many of today’s marine scientific missions.

“With this project, we are pioneering a cost-effective and flexible platform for gathering data that will help safeguard the health of the ocean and the industries it supports.”

The ship will also be equipped with three research pods that contain sensors and scientific instrumentation.

Pods will be used to understand different areas such as marine mammal monitoring, maritime cybersecurity, ocean plastics and sea level mapping.

The UK’s University of Plymouth will coordinate the project, with the support from IBM and ProMare. The university will also lead the research to improve the understanding of microplastics by analysing water samples from the ship.

The university expects the project to provide a better insight into the origin, distribution and potential impact of microplastics in the ocean.

The UK’s University of Birmingham will provide virtual, augmented and mixed reality technology for the MAS mission.

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