|.: 22-Jun-2019 :.
|IMO Approves Autonomous Ship Trial Guidelines|
The IMO s 101st Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meeting has approved an initial set of guidelines for the conduct of autonomous ship trials.
The guidelines say that trials should be conducted in a manner that provides at least the same degree of safety, security and protection of the environment as provided by the relevant instruments.
Risks associated with the trials should be appropriately identified and measures to reduce the risks, to as low as reasonably practicable and acceptable, should be put in place, IMO said.
The guidelines further stipulate that onboard or remote operators of MASS should be appropriately qualified for operating MASS subject to the trial. Any personnel involved in MASS trials, whether remote or onboard, should be appropriately qualified and experienced to safely conduct MASS trials. Appropriate steps should be taken to ensure sufficient cyber risk management of the systems and infrastructure used when conducting MASS trials.
The interim guidelines for what the International Maritime Organization terms as Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) trials were one of the topics of the MSC meeting that took place from June 5 to 14.
The MSC said it made progress with the scoping exercise to look at how the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of MASS may be introduced in IMO instruments.
A working group met during the session and terms of reference were agreed for an intersessional working group to be held in September 2019 to continue the work.
Other issues addressed at the meeting included the safety of ships in polar waters, piracy and armed robbery against ships, and E-navigation guidance.
The committee approved guidance for navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters. The guidance includes recommendations on temperature and mechanical shock testing, and on how to address ice accretion and battery performance in cold temperatures. Guidelines on life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters, were also approved.
A number of circulars related to the development of e-navigation were also approved. E-navigation is defined as "the harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment".
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|The role of greener ports on sustainable economic development: SATC speaker to share insights and plans|
Nozipho Mdawe, Transnet National Ports Authority acting Chief Executive, is the Southern African Transport Conference (SATC) keynote speaker on Wednesday 10 July. She will share insights into the potential role for deep offshore ports as part of South Africa s greener developmental future.
SATC is an annual four-day conference and exhibition at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria, this year from Monday, 8 July.
Mdawe believes a new growth paradigm is needed in South Africa, one which will promote economic development and promote climatic and environmental sustainability.
"Economic activities and environmental protection are conventionally perceived as two separate domains adversely affecting each other," says Mdawe. "Green growth calls for a conceptual shift to recognize that both can and must be achieved in unison."
"The increasing focus on sustainable solutions, the growing size of container vessels, and increasing growth of world trade, has brought about significant challenges for ships, ports and society at large," she adds. Expectations for future growth, therefore, need to be matched by the physical reality of supporting transport infrastructure. This is easier said than done, notes Mdawe, given that limited space for expansion is forcing South African ports to come up with new and innovative development solutions.
Join SATC delegates at the CSIR on Wednesday, 10 July to hear what environmentally sustainable economic development could look like, from the perspective of ports, shipping, and maritime trade.
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|LA Port warns of potential impacts of proposed new tariffs on China|
Port of Los Angeles, the largest single gateway for waterborne containerized cargo entering and leaving the United States, warned the proposed new tariffs on goods from China would make unintended negative impacts to the nation.
In a comments letter issued to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Monday, the port listed higher consumer prices, lower profitability for American firms, uncertainty in the maritime supply chain, and the potential shifting of trade routes to the detriment of the Port and the Los Angeles trade gateway as the most worrisome impacts of the tariffs against China.
Comprising Port of Los Angeles and its neighboring Port of Long Beach, the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, handles approximately 40 percent of all containerized imports and 30 percent of all containerized exports for the United States, the letter said.
This cargo generates over 310 billion U.S. dollars annually, supports roughly 3 million jobs across the country, and reaches every one of 435 Congressional districts, the letter adder.
The San Pedro Bay Ports account for nearly half of all seaborne trade between the United States and China, noted the letter.
Based on these facts, the port predicated that both the imports and exports between the United States and China would plunge sharply if the proposed tariffs against China were imposed.
"On the import side, our most recent analysis estimates the current and proposed tariffs directed at China will impact roughly 66 percent of all imports by value and 64 percent by both tonnage and container volume at the San Pedro Bay. That s 130 billion U.S. dollars worth of U.S. imports from China exposed to higher costs," the letter read.
"On the export side, approximately 50 percent of U.S. exports by value, 81 percent by tonnage, and 78 percent by container volume will be subjected to retaliatory tariffs by China," it added.
The port also disclosed that the current tariffs and uncertainty triggered by the White House s trade policy hadseriously affected its business.
"A year over year comparison of January through April 2018 and 2019 shows that exports to China dropped by 27.4 percent. While trade volumes with the rest of the world increased 15.1 percent during this period, these gains were eclipsed by the loss of exports to China, resulting in a minor 1.8 percent increase in container exports," the port said.
The proposed new tariffs are based on the so-called findings in the USTR s investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a one-sided tool for Washington to serve its own interest in dealing trade disputes with other economies.
Twenty-five percent tariffs on some 200 billion dollars worth in goods from China are currently in effect under the Section 301 trade action, and the White House threatened to impose additional tariffs of up to 25 percent on another 300 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods from China.
The latest proposal has caused outcries of U.S. companies and trade organizations, which voiced opposition against trade protectionism and detailed possible pain they might suffer if the tariffs were in place.
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|Expansion of inland shipping freight bundling in North West Central Corridor|
The inland terminals CTU in Lelystad, HOV Harlingen and Westerman Multimodal Logistics in Hasselt joined the North West Central Corridor in June. This partnership of deep-sea terminals, inland terminals and inland shipping companies on the Amsterdam-Utrecht-Rotterdam route was established in February 2019.
The number of inland terminals connected to the North West Central Corridor has increased in three months from five to eight terminals, resulting in a total shipment volume of 6,500 TEU per week. This adds approximately 100,000 TEU on top of the 250,000 TEU that is currently shipped via this trade route. Freight volume originating from Harlingen, Hasselt and Lelystad is transhipped in Amsterdam to inland vessels on the North West Central Corridor.
Bundling of cargo, fixed port call agreements with larger freight volumes (150 to 200 containers per call) and fixed point-to-point connections between inland terminals and deep-sea terminals result in a reliable inland shipping product with fewer handling delays at the terminals. The vessels in the North West Central Corridor have achieved a reliability of over 95% since the beginning of February. And with HOV Harlingen joining the corridor, a diesel-electric inland vessel has been added to the pool of corridor vessels. This vessel s CO2 emissions are around a quarter lower than that of modern, conventionally-powered inland vessels.
The North West Central Corridor initiative is supported by the five deep-sea container terminals in Rotterdam (APMT I & II, RWG, ECT Delta and ECT Euromax), Port of Amsterdam, Port of Rotterdam Authority and the sustainable logistics programme, Lean & Green Europe. The design of the North West Central Corridor is comparable with the West Brabant Corridor (Tilburg-Oosterhout-Moerdijk-Rotterdam), where positive results are now being achieved with freight bundling, fixed port call agreements and point-to-point connections.
"The establishment of this corridor means that we can expect significant improvements in our performance as well as offering our clients something to which they are entitled: a reliable, affordable CO2-saving transport alternative", stated Tim van der Roest, General Manager Barge & Terminal at Westerman Multimodal Logistics.
The port authorities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are delighted with the expansion of this initiative. "It s a fantastic development that demonstrates the added value of cooperation", explained Rob Smit, Hinterland Manager at the Port of Amsterdam. "By bundling capacity, knowledge and cargo, the parties are making a real difference, resulting in an improved logistics product that also makes transport by water more attractive", stated Smit.
Emile Hoogsteden, Director of Containers, Breakbulk & Logistics at the Port of Rotterdam Authority: "The North West Central Corridor is in line with the cargo transport corridor programme approach, in which the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management, provinces, port authorities, Top Sector Logistics and business community collaborate on so-called Top Corridors ."
*The following inland terminal operators are affiliated to the North West Central Corridor as of June 2019: TMA Logistics (terminals in Velsen, Amsterdam), HOV Harlingen (Harlingen), CTU (Utrecht, Tiel and Lelystad), VCL (Velsen) and Westerman Multimodal Logistics (Hasselt).
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|IHC Merwede and Semiotic Labs develop smart solutions for the dredging industry|
IHC Merwede and Semiotic Labs have announced a collaboration on the development of smart solutions for the dredging industry. The parties signed an agreement at Shakedown, the PortXL closing event. As part of the collaboration, the two parties are combining knowledge in the field of shipping and the dredging industry with smart Internet-of-Things sensors and artificial intelligence, which together will increase the availability and reliability f production resources.
Jan van de Wouw, Director Digital Business, IHC Merwede: "As a market leader in the field of dredging vessels, we are constantly looking for innovative solutions to further increase the reliability and availability of our ships. Digital Transformation plays an important role in this: The combination of sensors, artificial intelligence and smart applications ensures that our customers gain insight into the condition, performance and energy consumption of machines on board. Which in turn allows them to optimize their use. The collaboration with Semiotic Labs allows us to combine our industry knowledge with Semiotic Labs specialist technical knowledge. The agreement is a direct result of our ambition to be at the forefront of the development of digital tools on board ships. "
SAM4 from Semiotic Labs is a Condition Monitoring solution that consists of sensors, artificial intelligence and a dashboard that displays information about the condition, performance and energy consumption of electric motors and rotating assets, such as pumps, compressors and conveyor belts. Unlike traditional systems that measure vibrations on the asset in the field, SAM4 measures electrical signals from the Motor Control Cabinet. This is relevant for shipping, because many assets are placed in hard-to-reach places on board the ship. The Motor Control Cabinet is easily accessible, making it possible to remotely monitor the condition of assets.
Simon Jagers, founder of Semiotic Labs: "IHC Merwede has been on our dream partnerships list for a long time: The company has a clear Digital Transformation vision and is the leader in their industry. Together we share the conviction that innovative solutions must primarily have a practical application. The collaboration allows us to benefit from IHC s domain knowledge and helps us to focus on developing tools that provide value in day-to-day operations. We certainly hope to return the favor by adding our data science and software development skills to the mix".
Semiotic Labs was established in 2015 with the aim of making maintenance 100% predictable. From Leiden, 22 Data Scientists, Software Developers and Technical Specialists are working on SAM4 - the Condition Monitoring solution for AC motors and rotating equipment. Semiotic Labs is active in various industries and works with customers such as Vopak, Nouryon, ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel, Schiphol, and Engie.
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|Europe continues to welcome Chinese investment in its ports, despite US concerns about Beijing s global maritime ambitio|
The United States is becoming increasingly obsessed with Chinese activities in commercial seaports of allied countries because of the risk they would pose to its navy. Nonetheless, calls for European allies to avoid backing China’s global maritime ambitions and the Belt and Road Initiative continue to fall on deaf ears.
At last week’s Transport Logistic fair in Munich, the Italian port of Genoa signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese port of Shenzhen, the world’s fourth-largest container facility.
Together, China’s Cosco Shipping Ports and Qingdao Port International Development have a 49.9 per cent stake in two terminals in Genoa. Other European operators are also engaging with Chinese counterparts.
Europe’s progressive integration into the belt and road plan, which is aimed at reviving the ancient Silk Road and creating a China-centric network of trade relationships across Eurasia and beyond, has alarmed the administration of US President Donald Trump.
In its annual report to Congress on China’s military power, released last month, the US Department of Defence said the belt and road investments could help the Chinese navy gain access to "selected foreign ports to pre-position the necessary logistics support to sustain naval deployments in waters as distant as the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean".
To US strategists, China is seeking control of overseas infrastructure to project and support naval power at greater distances. The Chinese could achieve such a goal by gaining preferred access to foreign commercial ports through belt and road projects, as well as through some exclusive logistics facilities.
China opened its first - and, until now, only - overseas military base in Djibouti two years ago. The tiny country in the Horn of Africa also hosts a US naval facility.
According to the Pentagon, the Chinese could establish a second naval outpost near the Pakistani commercial port of Gwadar, which is being operated by China Overseas Ports Holding Company.
The Trump administration sounded the alarm on Chinese-managed European ports as Italy became the first of the Group of Seven nations to sign up for the Belt and Road Initiative in March, and the Italian ports of Genoa and Trieste signed cooperation agreements with state-owned China Communications Construction Company.
However, Nato allies in Europe appear unwilling to block Chinese investment in their port facilities. The Dutch port of Rotterdam - where Cosco has a 35 per cent stake in a terminal - recently signed a declaration of intent with Chengdu International Railway Port Investment to improve connectivity between Europe and China.
The port of Dunkirk, the third largest in France, said last month that it would try to seize the opportunities offered by China s belt and road plan to boost trade between the two countries.
In March, during Chinese President Xi Jinping s state visit to France, the port of Marseille concluded an agreement with China s Quechen Silicon for the construction of a processing plant in the port industrial zone.
The Chinese run or hold stakes in a dozen European ports. Cosco manages the strategic port of Piraeus in Greece, and Chinese port operators are also active in Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Malta. Some of these countries have the highest unemployment rates in Europe, and welcome Chinese financing of infrastructure.
Local communities are often major supporters of China s participation in port development projects. This is the case for the construction of a new seaport in the Arctic city of Kirkenes, Norway, which could become another gateway for Chinese products shipped to Europe.
China has expressed interest in the initiative as it wishes to take advantage of the melting ice in the Arctic to develop a Polar Silk Road connecting its northeastern ports to the Baltic Sea.
European governments reckon they are ready to manage a growing Chinese presence in their transport facilities. Also, the European Union has set up a mechanism for screening foreign investment and safeguarding the region’s strategic interests, which is evidently aimed at China.
With regard to the possibility of gathering intelligence on the movements and maintenance of US and Nato vessels stopping at ports operated by Chinese companies, some European port officials told me this was not an issue, given that the civil and military sides of their terminals are separate.
After all, Chinese port operators are also present at a number of US terminals and do business with many allies of Washington. For example, China’s Landbridge Group signed a 99-year lease for the Australian port of Darwin in 2015. It is worth noting that 2,500 US marines will be based in Darwin by July.
The Chinese have also heavily invested in ports in Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt and Oman, which are all part of the US security system in the Middle East.
The hard reality for Trump and his China hawks is that Chinese businesses are modernising European port infrastructure, adding value to the concerned countries and creating jobs. And the same is often true of Chinese investment in other parts of the world.
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