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Initial sea trials successfully completed by Wärtsilä & PSA Marine’s ground-breaking ‘IntelliTug’ project

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Initial sea trials successfully completed by Wärtsilä & PSA Marine’s ground-breaking ‘IntelliTug’ project. Image: Wartsila
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The technology group Wärtsilä and PSA Marine have successfully completed initial sea trials for the “IntelliTug” project. The PSA Polaris, a harbour tug owned and operated by PSA Marine, has been retrofitted with a suite of Wärtsilä technology to enable autonomous navigation. The project is a collaboration between technology provider Wärtsilä, marine services provider PSA Marine, classification society Lloyd’s Register, the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (TCOMS), and co-funded by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund.

Carried out in Singapore, the trials commenced in September 2019. They verified the IntelliTug’s capability to avoid a variety of obstacles, including virtual and real-life moving vessels. These trials are Singapore’s first for commercial Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) using the MPA MASS regulatory sandbox, which has been established to facilitate the testing of MASS and other autonomous technologies in a safe and controlled environment within the Port of Singapore.

The IntelliTug trials are part of MPA’s MASS initiative, which aims to accelerate the industry’s R&D capability in this field, and validate new MASS-related concepts of operations and technologies. This would enable technology developers, the research community, and maritime stakeholders to capture future MASS-related opportunities.

“It is critical that we prepare the Port of Singapore for MASS. With MPA’s MASS regulatory sandbox, I am glad that Singapore can contribute to the sea trials and eventual adoption of MASS. We will be happy to share our MASS experience with other ports and coastal administrations,” said Captain M Segar, Assistant Chief Executive (Operations) of MPA.

An Intelligent Tug for Future Operations

The PSA Polaris is a 27-metre harbour tug with dual azimuth thruster controls. It has been fitted with a sensor suite, including Wärtsilä’s RS24 near-field high resolution radar and Wärtsilä’s Dynamic Positioning (DP) system, to enable autonomous capabilities. Data collection via the sensors has been ongoing since the start of the project in conjunction with the development of a collision avoidance algorithm.

The project is aimed at developing and field-testing intelligent vessel capabilities and viable pathways towards smarter, safer, and more efficient ways of operating a harbour tug. This is achieved through the provision of human-centric technology, design-thinking, and man–machine collaboration.

“PSA Marine is constantly innovating to redefine the capabilities of our tugs. The achievement seen in the IntelliTug project is a testament that with strong partnership, alignment of purpose and the courage to innovate, ideas can be turned into reality. With the incorporation of feedback and experience from our tug masters, the smart technology developed in the IntelliTug project augments our tug masters’ situational awareness and amplifies their capabilities. We will continue to work closely with the stakeholders and look forward to future developments of the project,” said Peter Chew, Managing Director of PSA Marine.

Rigorous Testing for Autonomous Development

Before sea trials commenced, system integration and digital testing began with the use of Wärtsilä’s autonomous ship simulator. TCOMS has carried out further validation of the various data gathered from the sensor suite, as well as real-world performance of the tug through a physics-based digital twin that incorporated the effects of the physical environment faced in the sea trials. Lloyd’s Register has been closely involved throughout the project to support the development of the trials’ safety case, while collaborating on the human factors and technology design processes.

“Wärtsilä has taken a rigorous, staggered approach to the sea trials, first to prove the fundamental safety and accuracy capabilities of the system, and then moving on to real obstacle-free path planning. It has further progressed to more complicated test cases, previously attempted in digital batch testing and digital first-person simulation. The design of the test cases was a collaborative effort involving Tug Masters and a Master Mariner, with close review and continuous refinement with MPA throughout the project,” says Thomas Brightwell, SACA Software Manager, Wärtsilä.

About the Sea Trials

During the sea trials, a new smart navigation system – which was developed during the project in cooperation with PSA Marine’s Tug Masters – was used to select destinations for the hundreds of test cases carried out. The system allows the user to easily see the routes plotted, with the avoidance of collisions, in real-time. The smart navigation system also sends track and speed commands to the DP system, which drives the vessel along the route safely at varying speeds up to 10 knots. These manoeuvres are expected to follow set behaviours and meet success criteria to reach the destination.

At all times, the PSA Marine Tug Masters were able to determine if the tests were safe to continue and had full control to abort testing at any time where required.

“Wärtsilä continues to lead the marine industry’s transformation into a new era of digitisation and decarbonisation – achieving greater efficiency, improved safety, and better environmental performance through its Smart Marine approach. The IntelliTug project provides a clear picture of the potential that this approach can unlock, to the ultimate benefit of owners and operators everywhere,” says Mervin Ong, Managing Director of Wärtsilä Singapore.

Wärtsilä and PSA Marine will continue development work on the IntelliTug and its systems throughout 2020, working towards continuous deployment of smart capabilities in real-life harbour craft operations to complement and enhance the capabilities and experience of human tug masters.

Environment

Stena Bulk performs a test running an MR tanker on 100% biofuel

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During the coming weeks Stena Bulk will perform a test running an MR tanker on 100% biofuel. The fuel is the MR1-100 bio-fuel oil, produced from used cooking oil and supplied by GoodFuels in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It has been bunkered onto the Stena Immortal and will be used to power the main engine in normal operations to test and prove the technical and operational feasibility.

“By doing this test we want to contribute to push the industry and pave way towards more sustainable shipping”, says Erik Hånell, President and CEO Stena Bulk. “We want to be able to offer our customers additional options with less environmental impact in the future and by conducting the trial in normal operations we want to show that being sustainable doesn´t have to interfere with core business”, he continues.

Biofuels are compatible with regular fuels but produced from biomass or biowaste instead of fossil oil. While there are many kinds of biofuel Stena Bulk is only using 2nd generation fuel, meaning they are based on waste and thereby do not compete with food production. In this case the fuel is made from used cooking oil.

The reduction of CO2 by using this particular biofuel is around 83%. In this trial we will reduce the emissions with 690 mt. These figures are from a life cycle perspective, i.e. including production and distribution of the fuel. Apart from contributing to a large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions the fuel also emits significantly lower levels of SOX than regular compliant fuels.

 

 

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Container Terminal

Port of La Spezia: a systemic offer of integrated storage and logistics solutions

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Port of La Spezia: a systemic offer of integrated storage and logistics solutions. Image: CONTSHIP ITALIA S.P.A
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Starting from 25th March 2020, the North Tyrrhenian port system is faced with the challenge of managing thousands of TEUs coming into Northern Italy that cannot be delivered to companies now running in “non-essential” business mode for at least two weeks.

It takes four weeks for ships from Asia to reach ports of the North Tyrrhenian Sea. Ports will now have to temporarily store a significant quantity of containers until the Government is able to relax its decree issued 22 March that closed all “non-essential” businesses due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus emergency.

To avoid heavy port storage costs and congestion risks within the terminal as well as transport activities, the port-community (Port System Authority of the Eastern Ligurian Sea, Terminals of the Port of La Spezia, Association of Shippers of the Port of La Spezia, Customs Association of the Port of La Spezia and Maritime Agents and Consignees of the Port of La Spezia) together with Tarros Group and Contship Italia Group have rallied together to offer a number of solutions including the availability of 100,000  TEU storage capacity including local facilities within a radius of 15km from the port of La Spezia as well as the intermodal-hubs in Melzo (Milan), Dinazzano (Reggio Emilia) and Padua.

For cargo receivers, short-haul solutions will be available at Interporto di Santo Stefano Magra/La Spezia that include customs clearance, temporary storage, VAT storage and potentially a handling service for palletized loads, thanks to the local operators who have shared storage space and covered warehouses, as well as the customs officers who continue to work diligently at the Port of La Spezia.

Further similar solutions will be available in the intermodal centers operated by Contship Italia Group, the parent company that manages La Spezia Container Terminal.

Each week, three services from Asia call at the Port of La Spezia deploying containerships with a capacity of more than 14,000 TEUs, operated by 2M, THE Alliance and Ocean Alliance. Factory production in China is recovering, albeit slowly and are now shipping the back-log of orders which built up during the lock-down imposed in January and February, by the Chinese government.

Customers of the Port of La Spezia will, therefore, have a several integrated solutions available during this challenging time, with the possibility of providing regular suppliers more storage options and services in tune with current market needs.

The Port System Authority of the Eastern Ligurian Sea welcomes this strong collaboration initiative to support the vital economic activities in northern and central Italy. These solutions will minimize the economic impact and avoid further sacrifices due to the slowdown in production and orders caused by the virus emergency. Many analysts currently estimate the pandemic could have a double-digit impact on many industrial supply-chains.

“The port of La Spezia once again demonstrates its unity with regard to the market” said Carla Roncallo, President of Port System Authority of the Eastern Ligurian Sea. “By putting itself into customers shoes and identifying short- and medium-term solutions that can minimize the financial impact and allow the port to maintain a level of operations. This arrangement also provides us the flexibility and agility to resume operations when there are signs of recovery, which we hope will come soon”.

Alessandro Laghezza, President of Sistema Porto and the Logistics Section of Confindustria La Spezia, affirmed the effort made to coordinate such a comprehensive and dynamic solution.  “It is encouraging to witness this historic moment where shippers in our territory and the management of the Contship Group rallied together in just 24 hours to assess every possible storage and transportation solution available in the short and medium-range, to support port customers who now face another big blow to their businesses due to the suspension of receiving and industrial activities”.

“Contship and its operating companies are able to step-up and respond to this call. We are committed to offering all our capabilities and operational resources to help wherever possible the customers and local operators of the port of La Spezia. They will be able to access our integrated intermodal solutions that we believe are the mark of the unique offering of Contship Italia Group” said Daniele Testi,  Contship Italia Group Director of Marketing and Communications.

 

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Maritime

Nokia completes phase one of Belgian Port of Zeebrugge digitalization with 5G-ready private wireless network

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Nokia completes phase one of Belgian Port of Zeebrugge digitalization with 5G-ready private wireless network. Image: Wikimedia/ Sebaso
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Nokia has announced that it has completed the first phase of Port of Zeebrugge’s 5G-ready, industrial-grade private wireless network deployment.

By deploying the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud platform, it will provide private wireless connectivity to more than 100 endpoints across the entire port operations. This will enable Zeebrugge to deliver a range of new and enhanced services that not only improve the port’s operational performance, but which also differentiate Zeebrugge as a leader in port transformation and digitalization.

Following successful deployment of the Nokia private wireless network, Zeebrugge will be able to track, analyze and manage connected devices across multiple port-based applications in real time. The end-to-end, high-performance 5G-ready network will accelerate port innovation and automation with deployment of IoT, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and drones.

Rick Goetinck, CEO, Port of Zeebrugge said: “Introduction of an advanced private wireless network will act as a beacon for our partners to develop and deliver new solutions right across the logistics value chain. Nokia, in close collaboration with local service provider Citymesh, has demonstrated outstanding 5G capabilities during platform deployment, making phase one a complete success.”

The network is now being used for connectivity with tugboats, air pollution detectors, security cameras and quay sensors. Its high-bandwidth and low-latency connectivity will also be leveraged during the upcoming construction of a new sea lock and during building and maintenance of offshore wind farms. Phase one has established increased automation in Zeebrugge’s outer port area. Phase two, due for completion in mid-2020 will focus on the inner port.

Stephan Litjens, General Manager, Nokia Digital Automation said: “By deploying a Nokia 5G-ready digital automation platform with a private wireless network, the Port of Zeebrugge brings high-performance connectivity and digitalization to enhance safety, accelerate innovation, enable advanced applications and deliver new levels of logistics performance.”

Several external suppliers have also signed up to the network, which will be used by port-based companies for dispatching, connectivity with straddle carriers, track and trace systems and integrated communications.

Goetinck added: “The introduction of a 5G-ready platform at the port of Zeebrugge brings benefits to a wide range of stakeholders across local enterprises, ancillary shipping businesses and government. The Port of Zeebrugge is an ultra-modern logistics center that serves European and intercontinental markets, and our investment in hyper fast connectivity can only improve the competitive position of our port.”

Nokia has partnered closely with Citymesh to deliver the private wireless network, and it will continue to assist with end-to-end support and network commercialization.

Nokia Digital Automation Cloud
Nokia Digital Automation Cloud is an industrial-grade global digital automation service platform that provides a reliable, secure, and high-performance private wireless network, which is scalable according to needs.

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