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Drone delivers package to vessel in the port of Rotterdam for the first time

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Drone delivers package to vessel in the port of Rotterdam for the first time. Image: Port of Rotterdam
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The port of Rotterdam was able to celebrate a Dutch premier: the aerial delivery by drone of a parts consignment to Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit, the biggest vessel in the world.

Pioneering Spirit is currently moored at Alexiahaven in preparation of upcoming offshore activities. This is actually the first drone delivery ever made in the Netherlands to a vessel.

This pilot project, which was set up by Dutch Drone Delta, Allseas and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, is intended to determine whether and how drone deliveries could increase transport efficiency in the port of Rotterdam.

The airspace over the port area will be safely managed under the slogan ‘Rotterdam, the safest port to fly’, allowing parties to take optimal advantage of new technologies to make the port safer, smarter and more efficient.

Drone evolution

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry is going through an exciting evolution, and the sector is primed for further growth. Drone development is in full swing and this technology can have a major impact on traffic and transport.

New European regulations have cleared the way for new applications. Ultimately, this may even include autonomous unmanned freight and passenger transport. To this end, the next few years will be devoted to the phased preparation of airspace and drone technology.

The recent delivery constitutes a major first step in this process, since it involved the delivery of an actual package following a long-distance flight by the UAV. While in this case, the delivery was still directly monitored by human observers, in the near future, it will be handled entirely beyond the pilot’s physical line of sight.

Port of the future

Utilising new technologies allows us to make our port smarter, more streamlined, more efficient and safer. The current pilot project is a prime example: it makes a significant contribution to more efficient transport in general; and in due time, it will specifically help to reduce the pressure on our road network. We intend to safely structure our airspace under the slogan ‘Rotterdam, the safest port to fly’.

The results of this pilot project can also serve as input for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management when it drafts the required legislation and regulations. This will enable Rotterdam’s port business community to take optimal advantage of these new developments, says Port Authority adviser Ingrid Römers.

Options for drone deployment in the port area

Stephan van Vuren, one of the people behind the Dutch Drone Delta initiative: The sky’s the limit when it comes to using drones in the port area. Incident prevention and control, for instance; or water pollution; firefighting; monitoring port operations or damage.

Other examples include everything from systems and bridge inspections, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, and deliveries to ships and oil rigs, to the rapid medical transport of blood and human organs. And in the longer term, we may even be seeing heavy freight deliveries and passenger transport! This pilot project in the port of Rotterdam has allowed us to directly demonstrate the added valueof drone technology in a complex environment.

Offshore sector also presents opportunities for drone delivery

According to Allseas PR manager Jeroen Hagelstein, the offshore industry could also benefit from this new delivery option: “As a provider of technical services to the offshore industry, we are continuously pushing the existing technical boundaries. Pioneering Spirit is the example. With this pilot, we want to test whether drones could be an effective means to quickly and efficiently deliver materials to our vessels. Helicopter, for example, are not always available on every location. Drone delivery can be of added value when we are in urgent need of parts which we can’t repair ourselves – for example network switches or computer chips.”

 

Maritime

Shipping Company Groningen contracts Castor Marine to outfit 30 vessels with Global and EU 4G connectivity packages 

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Shipping Company Groningen contracts Castor Marine to outfit 30 vessels with Global and EU 4G connectivity packages. Image: Castor Marine
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Shipping Company Groningen (SCG) has contracted offshore internet services provider Castor Marine to install its Global 4G Connectivity package on all 30 of its vessels. With this, the coasters will have a fast, global 4G-LTE internet connection for its crews.

On its fleet, SCG offers its personnel a Crew Welfare Zone with free internet within the 12-mile (4G) zone. To realise this, SCG wanted a plug&play, cost-efficient system that is always operational and doesn’t interfere with the crew’s activities.

Seamless internet connection

To make this happen, a seamless transition between 4G and the Inmarsat Fleetbroadband (or Iridium Open Port L-Band satellite connection) outside that zone was needed. Castor Marine’s 4G Connectivity Package (incl. dedicated software installed on the Peplink routers) ensures a seamless failover of connectivity between the 4G and satellite connection. Hence, the crew doesn’t notice the transition and simply can get on with their work. Furthermore, the connection allows for real-time data insights from any device.

When Clemens Ros and Marc van Gemert from SCG’s IT department wanted advice about a 4G service for its crew, Castor Marine came up with a hybrid connectivity solution switching between 4G LTE and L-band.

Marc van Gemert, IT Manager at SCG, says: “We chose Castor Marine because of the pleasant cooperation, correct pricing and their responsive way of working which ensures that the technical solution we were looking for was customised to our fleet. Actually, some of our captains have already reported that they had 4G connectivity at 45 nautical miles from the coast. We are looking forward to see the system installed and then be able to forget about it!”

Things have to work…

Raymon Lubbers, sales director at Castor Marine says: “With our system, you’ll never have to check if an internet connection is still running when it shouldn’t. The services and equipment we deliver have to work, always. Both as crewmember and in the office, you don’t notice these things until it doesn’t work. We strive, on every vessel, to never reach that point. That is why we have tested and certified the 4G solution extensively. It is also the reason our Support Network Operating Centre is on call 24/7.”

User control

For those who are more technically inclined: no matter where the vessel is or with which network it is connected, the software ensures that a VPN tunnel continues to exist even when the IP addresses change when the vessel connects to another network.

With a mix of, amongst others, user rights, firewalls, SD-WAN and real-time monitoring tools for each individual data stream and access point, the user is in control.

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Maritime

ONE surpasses its previous record for highest vessel utilization with the help of Navis stowage planning solution 

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ONE surpasses its previous record for highest vessel utilization with the help of Navis stowage planning solution. Image: Navis
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Navis, the leading provider of maritime software solutions for efficient and compliant cargo, stowage planning and vessel performance, announced that Ocean Network Express recorded its highest lift for a 20,000 TEU class vessel – utilizing 97 percent of the MOL Tribute’s 20,100 TEU capacity.

ONE held the previous stowage record of more than 19,100 TEU, which it also achieved aboard the MOL Tribute, in February, 2019 at PSA Singapore. Behind the success of both records is Navis’ StowMan vessel stowage planning software, which ONE leveraged for faster planning and to maximize the vessel’s utilization.

One of the distinctive features of StowMan is its ability to check loadable weight, stability, stress and lashing results while stowage planning. StowMan, combined with the power of Navis’ MACS3 loading computer was central to ONE’s latest achievement.

The two systems, working in tandem, allowed for better performance as the vessel command and stowage planner were in sync. It further enabled ONE to take advantage of partnering with the terminal through the use of the Ship Viewer and MACS3 API services, guaranteeing smooth cargo operations during port calls. Prior to the arrival of MOL Tribute, the port of Singapore had early visibility into the vessel’s stability and lashing results, allowing the port to deliver better quality and quicker load plans that were promptly accepted by the vessel’s command as well as ONE’s central planner.

“Stowage planning for safety, efficiency gains and cost savings to maximize the profitability of a vessel’s voyage, are significant requirements in the maritime business,” said Ajay Bharadwaj, Sr. Director of Product Management for Navis Carrier and Vessel Solutions. “However, this is not always an easy task and it is therefore incredibly important to leverage the right operational tools to ensure success. We have continuously enhanced MACS3 and StowMan’s features and functionalities to enable smarter, more efficient, loading and stowage planning for planners and carriers. The recent success of ONE leveraging these solutions demonstrates their ability to realize material gains along the vessel journey.”

“The accurate visibility and advanced information exchange provided by StowMan, MACS3 loading computer, MACS3 API Services and Ship Viewer between the ports, MOL Tribute, and ONEenabled cargo operations to flow trouble-free despite the vessel’s record-breaking lift,” said Takashi Kase. Sr. Vice President of  Global Vessel Operations, “Consequently, ONE’s latest record demonstrates a compelling illustration of what can be achieved when the right operational solutions are combined at the right time, in the right place. We are confident that Navis will continue to innovate its portfolio of vessel and carrier solutions that will be critical to success as we continue to manage the growing volume of cargo needing to be transported efficiently.”

 

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Maritime

New Wärtsilä Compact Reliq adds flexibility to the growing LNG market

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New Wärtsilä Compact Reliq adds flexibility to the growing LNG market. Image: Wartsila
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The technology group Wärtsilä introduces its Compact Reliq reliquefaction plant. The system is designed to reliquefy boil-off gas onboard gas carriers and LNG bunker vessels, and for keeping the cargo cool under all operational conditions. Its compact design enables it to be installed on existing vessels without extensive modification work.

“Wärtsilä has been a pioneer in BOG reliquefaction and the Compact Reliq is a continuation of our strong development activities in this field. As the global market for LNG applications expands in response to increasing environmental regulations, greater flexibility in meeting these growing needs is required. The Compact Reliq is an important and innovative new piece towards completing the puzzle,” says Kjell Ove Ulstein, Director Sales & Marketing, Gas Solutions, Wärtsilä Marine Systems.

As with previously delivered Wärtsilä reliquefaction systems, the Compact Reliq is based on well-proven Brayton technology. This allows a portion of the BOG to be utilised as fuel for the vessel, while the excess can be liquefied and sold with the LNG cargo. Liquefying the BOG instead of burning it in a Gas Combustion Unit also has a positive environmental effect, as no gases are released into the atmosphere.

The system is prepared in line with Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine approach to take advantage of the latest digital technologies to optimise efficiency. It is ready instrumented for remote monitoring and online operational support, and requires minimal maintenance between 5-year interval docking. The Compact Reliq is compatible with Wärtsilä’s Operational Performance Improvement and Monitoring protocol, and can be fully integrated with the ship’s Planned Maintenance System.

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