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Port of Rotterdam to start trial with PIN-free container handling

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Port of Rotterdam to start trial with PIN-free container handling. Image: Port of Rotterdam
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This week, various parties in Rotterdam will be launching a new pilot project, in which containers are handled and released without a PIN code: a widely used verification method in this transport segment.

The project revolves around a new application, Secure Container Release, which replaces the PIN code with a digital signal: a solution that is significantly less susceptible to fraud. It is not only intended to make container handling more efficient, but also safer. Participants in the three-month trial include CMA-CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, ONE-Line, Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam, Rotterdam Fruit Wharf, Milestone Fresh, VTO, Portmade and the application developer T-Mining.

Every year, millions of containers are unloaded in the port of Rotterdam, from where they are forwarded to destinations in the hinterland. Collecting these containers in the port is a complicated process, during which shipping companies, freight forwarders, transport firms and terminals need to work closely together to ensure the swift and safe release of this freight. And as a procedure, it also entails a number of risks.

Emile Hoogsteden, Director of Commerce of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: ‘By taking advantage of new technologies, we can make our port operations smarter, swifter, more efficient and safer. The current pilot project is a good example. During this project, the different participants will be using a blockchain application that enables them to safely and efficiently organise the release procedure followed by the various parties in the chain.’

No PIN required

Drivers who plan to collect a specific container at the terminal need to have a valid pick-up right. This authorisation is issued by a shipping company. The freight forwarder subsequently orders a transport firm to retrieve the container at the terminal. In the existing arrangement, the pick-up right is confirmed to the terminal by means of a PIN code.

This procedure requires a range of manual actions from a number of different parties. Any hitches or errors in the release process can lead to a waste of time, complaints and aggravation among clients and partners, as well as possible opportunities for fraud. The application tested in this trial could replace PIN-based authorisation altogether.

Safety throughout the chain

The current pilot project will be testing how best to improve the safety of the container release process throughout the chain, from the shipping company to the end user. The application is based on blockchain technology. In terms of safety, it can be compared with banking applications – ensuring that the data involved remains exceptionally secure.

Passing the baton

During the pilot project, the pick-up rights for the import of containers will be converted from a PIN code into a digital token with the aid of a blockchain-based application. You could compare it to a relay race: the token is a kind of digital baton that smoothly passes from one party to the next.

Blockchain technology prevents this authorisation from being stolen or copied along the way. This makes the release process safer for everyone in the chain who is involved in the process.

Moreover, the terminal operator can rest assured that the container has been released to the correct driver. After all, there’s only one valid token. Another advantage to this procedure is that it doesn’t reveal who has previously processed the token – meaning that third parties don’t have access to potentially confidential information about commercial relationships.

In fact, even T-Mining, the Antwerp-based start-up responsible for developing this solution, won’t be able to review this information. T-Mining was selected for participation in the PortXL accelerator programme earlier this year, and is currently working together with companies in Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority on the practical execution of this pilot project.

Maritime

Jan De Nul signs contract with Dogger Bank Wind Farm

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Jan De Nul signs contract with Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Image: Jan De Nul
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Dogger Bank Wind Farm and Jan De Nul Group announce the signing of the final contract for the transport and installation of the GE Haliade-X offshore wind turbines at Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B, 130 km off the Yorkshire coast, starting in 2023. Turbine delivery and installation at the first two phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be the first assignment for the world’s largest Offshore Jack-Up Installation Vessel owned by Jan De Nul Group, the Voltaire.

The 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which is being delivered in the North Sea in three 1.2GW phases, is set to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when complete and is a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.

When complete, Dogger Bank will generate enough energy to power over 4.5 million homes every year – around 5% of the UK’s electricity needs.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm secured 3.6 GW of offshore wind contracts in the UK Government’s 2019 contracts for difference auctions. Record low prices were awarded for the three projects making up Dogger Bank Wind Farm: Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C. Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B are now moving towards final investment decision, expected by the end of 2020. SSE Renewables is leading the development and construction phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm and Equinor will lead on operations for its lifetime of at least 25 years, creating around 200 jobs in the North East.

Steve Wilson, Dogger Bank Wind Farm’s Project Director at SSE Renewables: “We’re very pleased to have signed the final contract with industry leader Jan De Nul Group to transport and install the turbines for Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B. Jan De Nul has a proven track record of transporting and installing new generation offshore wind turbines at scale and its state-of-the-art Voltaire vessel will be the largest and ultra-clean jack up vessel ever seen in the industry when operational. This contract further demonstrates the industry-leading status of Dogger Bank Wind Farm and the innovative supply chain partners such as Jan De Nul that are delivering the project.”

Halfdan Brustad, Vice President for Dogger Bank at Equinor: “Dogger Bank is a record-breaking project, leading the way in terms of technology and scale. We are so pleased to have secured the Voltaire vessel for this project, not only is it the largest of its kind, but also the first Ultra-Low Emission jack-up vessel, which is truly pioneering. Innovation across all levels of the supply chain has enabled offshore wind projects to grow in size whilst reducing costs, and this has been a large factor in the growing success of offshore wind.”

Philippe Hutse, Director Offshore Division at Jan De Nul Group: “We are delighted to have signed the first contract for our new generation jack-up vessel Voltaire and to work together with industry leaders SSE Renewables and Equinor. When taking the decision to build this exciting vessel we had exactly the type of project in mind like Dogger Bank Wind Farm in terms of scale and characteristics of the offshore sites and the turbines. We are proud to contribute to the worldwide transition to renewable energies by installing the offshore wind turbines at Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B in the most efficient and clean manner possible.”

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Maritime

North Carolina Ports records year-over-year increases in fiscal year 2020

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North Carolina Ports records year-over-year increases in fiscal year 2020. Image: North Carolina Ports
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The North Carolina State Ports Authority recorded year-over-year increases in volumes through the Port of Wilmington and Port of Morehead City in Fiscal Year 2020, which ended June 30, 2020.

North Carolina Ports container volume through the Port of Wilmington in FY20 increased by 4 percent over FY19. NC Ports set a record for refrigerated containers, moving 12,839 boxes, a 13 percent increase over the previous year. In total, refrigerated container volume has increased 267 percent between FY15 and FY20.

Additionally, the Port of Wilmington recorded 36 percent year-over-year growth for general cargo operations, moving a total of 2.8 million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo in FY20. The Port of Morehead City also saw year-over-year increases in general cargo. A total of 1.1 million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo moved through Morehead City, an increase of 2 percent over FY19.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, North Carolina Ports was able to report year-over-year growth in both container and general cargo business which is a testament to the ongoing hard work of our employees,” said Paul J. Cozza, Executive Director, North Carolina Ports. “We were on pace for a record year in terms of volume before an influx of blank sailings due to COVID-19. Regardless, we are pleased NC Ports was able to push through this uncertainty and record a positive performance in FY20.”

“The fact that North Carolina Ports was able to record year-over-year increases despite COVID-19 is evidence that more customers are looking to NC Ports due to our ability to offer more supply chain and value delivery options,” added Hans C.E. Bean, Chief Commercial Officer, North Carolina Ports.

Building on the positive momentum, NC Ports reached several key milestones in its more than $200 million capital improvements plan in FY20.

  • Record financial performance with earnings at an all-time high.
  • Completed an air draft improvement project over the Cape Fear River.
  • Opened 2,600 contiguous feet of container berth space at the Port of Wilmington.
  • Completed Phase 2 of its turning basin expansion project.
  • Welcomed the largest vessel to the Port of Wilmington, the 13,100 TEU MV Hyundai Hope.
  • Opened a new refrigerated container yard at the Port of Wilmington.
  • Welcomed a new rail-mounted gantry crane at the Port of Morehead City.

In addition to improvements at the Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina Ports also completed construction upgrades at Charlotte Inland Port. The improvements doubled the container capacity of the inland facility by enabling the grounding of loaded and empty containers while improving cargo velocity and enhancing trucker experience with improved traffic flow. These upgrades coupled with NC Ports’ enhanced next-day intermodal rail service, the Queen City Express, enabled the Ports Authority to double rail volume moving between the Port of Wilmington and Charlotte, North Carolina.

“FY20 was an exciting year for North Carolina Ports in terms of infrastructure development. These critical infrastructure improvements enable us to tailor our growth to meet customers’ needs and better facilitate long-term plans and business projections,” said Brian E. Clark, Chief Operating Officer, North Carolina Ports. “What’s even more exciting is we have several projects that will come online in our new Fiscal Year all designed to further enhance port capabilities and global connectivity.”

Moving into Fiscal Year 2021

As North Carolina Ports moves into Fiscal Year 2021, the agency is continuing with its capital improvements plan. Other improvements in development include the container terminal master plan which will increase the Port of Wilmington’s annual throughput capacity to more than one million TEUs as well as the building of a new container truck gate complex. Together, these projects will enable NC Ports to meet the demand of increased volume on container moves at the Port of Wilmington.

The Ports Authority will also continue to press forward with long-term navigational improvements to the Wilmington Navigational Harbor. Shortly before the end of FY20, the Ports Authority received authorization from the United States Army Corp of Engineers for the Wilmington Navigational Harbor Improvement Project  aimed at deepening and widening the shipping channel. The project now sits with the United States Congress. WNHIP must receive Congressional approval before any formal construction can begin.

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Environment

World’s first zero-emission top handles performing well at Port of Los Angeles

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World's first zero-emission top handles performing well at Port of Los Angeles. Image: Port of Los Angeles
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The world’s first zero-emissions top handlers, unveiled last fall as part of a pre-commercial demonstration project at the Port of Los Angeles, are now being used in daily operations at the Everport Container Terminal.

“We are pleased with performance results that we are receiving from drivers, mechanics and Everport management as the equipment is tested daily in real-world conditions,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.  “We are doing everything possible to advance commercially feasible solutions to meet our goal of transitioning all cargo-handling equipment to zero emissions by 2030.”

The two battery-electric top handlers were designed and built in the U.S. by Taylor Machine Works, Inc. a leading heavy-duty equipment manufacturer and the largest supplier of top handlers in service at the Port. Also known as top picks, top handlers are off-road vehicles with an overhead boom for loading containers weighing up to 100,000 pounds onto trucks and trains, unloading them, and stacking them on terminals between pickups and deliveries.

The top handlers run on a one-megawatt battery designed to operate for up to 18 hours between charges. Each top handler has a data logger for tracking hours of operation, charging frequency, energy usage and other performance indicators. Additionally, drivers and mechanics are providing input on the maneuverability, noise level and safety of the equipment.

The battery-electric top handlers are a key component of the Port’s $7.7 million Everport Advanced Cargo-Handling Demonstration Project. The California Energy Commission is supporting the large-scale zero-emissions technology project with a $4.5 million sustainability grant.

The Everport demonstration is one of 16 projects in which the Port is either the lead agency or a participant working with multiple partners to test near-zero emissions and zero-emissions engines, emissions control technology, and alternative fueling and charging stations. In addition to the battery-electric top handlers, the projects include testing ultra-low NOx renewable natural gas equipment and fully battery-electric fuel cell heavy-duty trucks; battery-electric forklifts, yard tractors, and rubber-tired gantry cranes; and emissions control equipment on large ships and harbor craft.

Eliminating tailpipe emissions from cargo-handling equipment is essential to achieving the Port’s larger goal of reducing greenhouse gases from all port-related sources. Port targets call for reducing GHGs 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The Port of Los Angeles remains open with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $276 billion in trade during 2019. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs in the five-county Southern California region.

 

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