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Offshore Support Journal

Offshore Support Journal

Ports and logistics: expanding ports and expanding capabilities

Tue 12 Jun 2018 by Ed Martin

Ports and logistics: expanding ports and expanding capabilities
Airbus UAS drones will make deliveries to vessels at anchor from Singapore's Marina South Pier

Wilhelmsen and Airbus trial ship-to-shore logistics with UAVs while ports from Scotland Aberdeen to Corpus Christi undergo expansion work

Wilhelmsen and Airbus to pilot shore-to-ship drone delivery

Norway’s Wilhelmsen Ships Service has announced it is partnering with Airbus to pilot the use of drones to deliver spare parts.

Starting in the third quarter of 2018, the two companies will be utilising Airbus’ Skyways unmanned air system (UAS) to deliver spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D-printed consumables to vessels at anchorage from the Marina South Pier in the Port of Singapore.

Airbus will handle approvals from relevant aviation authorities and maintenance and operations of the UAS and control systems, while Wilhelmsen will set up the necessary maritime and port operations, gain relevant approvals from non-aviation authorities and secure customers.

Wilhelmsen commercial vice president Marius Johansen said: “Drone delivery is a perfect fit for our agency business. As part of our standard husbandry services, we organise the delivery of essential spares, medical supplies and cash to master via launch boat, day in and day out all over the world. However, delivery by drone is much more cost effective, quicker, and frankly safer for all involved.”

Mr Johansen explained that drone delivery can cost on average 90% less than launch boats, while mitigating the risks involved with making launch deliveries and having negligible environmental impact.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding at the Posidonia maritime conference in Athens. This followed a year of planning alongside the Singapore Maritime Port Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

An initial trial will take place over two weeks, with a command centre and delivery centre established on the pier to make deliveries to ships within 3 km in the Eastern Anchorage. A second delivery station will also be established in the Marina South to extend coverage.

Airbus project lead Leo Jeoh said: “This collaboration with Wilhelmsen, the first of its kind in the region, gives us a unique test bed where we can trial, refine and shape the future of shore-to-ship drone technologies.”

Montrose Port receives £1.5M boost

The Scottish Government has awarded Montrose Port Authority a £1.5M Ports Mode Shift grant.

Montrose, which is a support and service hub for the energy industry, will utilise the funding to advance its strategic growth plans, allowing larger vessels to dock in the port.

The grant will help develop two quaysides – berths Seven West and Eight – increasing the maximum potential size of berthing vessels from 12,000 dwt to 18,000 dwt. Changes to the quaysides are expected to be completed by summer 2019.

Montrose Port Authority chief executive Nik Scott-Gray said: “One of our objectives is to streamline our port activities, delivering efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions. This support from the Scottish Government is the next step in this process, [allowing us to] build on our master plan and strategy process while developing new markets and directing investment towards key infrastructure projects.”

In May, the port announced it had seen 453,444 gross tonnes of vessel activity, breaking its previous record by an additional 116,299 tonnes.

Mr Scott-Gray said: “This is the third consecutive year we have beaten our target. With our two new berths I am confident this number will grow year-on-year, as we welcome vessels from across the globe and encourage environmentally friendly modes of transport.

“There is no doubt this funding will bring significant economic benefits to Montrose and the whole North East in years to come, ensuring the region remains buoyant and competitive in the current marketplace.”

The project will also benefit the environmental by removing an estimated 1.26M tonnes of road freight and 86,000 HGV lorry journeys.

Caisson construction under way for Aberdeen’s South Harbour

Development continues apace on Aberdeen’s £350M South Harbour expansion, with the construction of the first caisson unit in March and the recent announcement that the port’s four super-quays will be given names referencing Scotland’s history and heritage. The four new quays, which should open up Aberdeen as a venue for decommissioning activity, will be named after the castles of Balmoral, Dunnottar, Crathes and Aberdeen’s Castlegate area.

The caissons, which measure 50 m long by 17 m wide and are 16 m high, are being fabricated in the port of La Coruna in the northwest of Spain. The finished caissons will be transported to Scotland in the coming months to be installed this summer.

Once in position, the hollow units will be filled with granular material and sunk into their locations on the harbour floor, where they will form the first phase of quay construction for the project.

Dunnottar Quay is to be the 400 m east quay with Crathes Quay the 175 m south quay. Balmoral Quay, the west quay, will be 300 m long and Castlegate Quay, the north quay, 540 m.

Lowestoft lobbies to become East of England energy hub

The Port of Lowestoft is presenting itself as the energy hub for the East of England.

In 2017 the port serviced more than 6,000 crew transfer vessels via its 3,500 m of quay, that can accommodate vessels of up to 125 m long and 6 m deep.

Located on the coast of Suffolk in the English region of East Anglia, the port is well-suited to serve the southern North Sea.

ABP port manager Paul Brooks said: “The Port of Lowestoft has a proud history of serving the offshore sector, initially by supporting the oil and gas industries and more recently renewables.

“[We have] strong relationships with key customers including Shell, SSE and most recently Scottish Power, providing us with the necessary expertise to affirm the Port of Lowestoft’s place as East of England’s innovative Energy Hub.”

Corps of Engineers to pitch further US$23M in to Corpus Christi Channel Improvement

The US Army Corps of Engineers will contribute nearly US$23M to the Corpus Christi Channel Improvement Project, according to its Army Civil Works programme work plan.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico coastline in Texas, the port aims to be “the energy port of the Americas” but its 530 ft wide and 47 ft deep channel prevents two-way traffic and makes access by larger vessels difficult.

The additional funding will extend construction work from the channel’s entrance in the Gulf of Mexico to Redfish Bay, and fully funds the second of six contracts for the project.

This contribution comes on top of US$13M already committed to the project in the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2019 Budget, announced earlier this year.

The project is anticipated to be completed in 2021-2022 and it is estimated that deepening and widening the channel will boost US energy exports by nearly US$40Bn, according to the Port of Corpus Christi.


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