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KiwiRail takes a step to procure new generation Interislander ferries   

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KiwiRail takes a step to procure new generation Interislander ferries. Image: KiwiRail  
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KiwiRail is taking the next step to procure a new generation of Cook Strait ferries which will increase the capacity on this vital transport link, and increase its resilience.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) to find a preferred shipyard to build two new ships for the Interislander is being issued today, the next step in the procurement process.

“The new ships will strengthen and enhance the vital transport link between the North and South Islands and represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the Cook Strait crossing,” Group Chief Executive Greg Miller says. The ferries are extensions of State Highway 1 and the Main Trunk Line across Cook Strait, linking road and rail networks between the two islands.

Currently, Interislander operates a fleet of three ferries, moving some 800,000 passengers and up to $14 billion worth of road and rail freight between the North and South Islands each year.

The $400 million contribution in Budget 2020 has enabled KiwiRail to go out to international tender to build the new ships, which are intended to arrive for service in 2024 and 2025. When the ferries are delivered, it will be over 25 years since New Zealand last introduced a brand-new purpose-built ferry to its fleet.

The $400 million towards the ferries and KiwiRail’s infrastructure at the ports in Wellington and Picton builds upon a $35 million-dollar investment in last year’s Budget for ferry design and procurement work.

The two new ferries will be technologically advanced, have significantly lower emissions, a greater carrying capacity – including rail wagons – and provide an enhanced visitor experience, Mr Miller says.

“On behalf of New Zealanders, we are grateful to the Government for enabling this acquisition,” says Mr Miller. “It is exciting to issue this RFP, to move the project forward and to find a shipyard to partner with KiwiRail to deliver the ships to our specifications, quality and timeline requirements.”

“Only overseas shipyards have the ability to build ferries of the size and standard needed for the Cook Strait. However, the project also involves new infrastructure including terminals, linkspans, and marshalling yards which will create numerous Kiwi jobs in Picton and Wellington. Community engagement has already begun in Picton for the proposed new terminal there.

Facts on new ferries

 KiwiRail’s iReX Project was established to replace the existing three ship fleet with two new, large, rail-capable ships to be brought into service during 2024 and 2025.

KiwiRail has engaged a leading ships’ architect, to design the ferries, and is working with a world-renowned ship broker to progress the procurement process.

The new ferries will be nearly 40 metres longer and at least five metres wider than the current vessels, to meet the expected freight and passenger growth over the next 30 years.

The two ferries will be able to carry twice as many passengers as the current three ship fleet, 300 per cent more rail wagons and almost double the number of trucks and other vehicles.

The new ships will be much more fuel efficient and produce significantly lower CO2 emissions.

They will also be high tech, including the latest propulsion systems, and able to run on battery power at times. KiwiRail is also future proofing the design so new fuel sources can be adopted as they become available.

We completed the ship Request for Information (RFI) process in February 2020, which involved completing due diligence visits to interested shipyards, and completing a final evaluation to establish a short list to proceed to the RFP stage.

The RFP process to identify the successful shipyard is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

“We are engaging our Interislander staff in the design of the ferries to ensure the ships are not only great for passengers, but also for those who work on them.

“Our new ferries and the associated port infrastructure will provide greater resilience for this crucial link that unites our country and will serve New Zealand for the next generation and beyond.”

 

KiwiRail takes a step to procure new generation Interislander ferries   

KiwiRail takes a step to procure new generation Interislander ferries. Image: KiwiRail

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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