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August cargo volume exceeds 954,000 TEUs at Port of Los Angeles

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August cargo volume exceeds 954,000 TEUs at Port of Los Angeles. Image: Unsplash
August cargo volume exceeds 954,000 TEUs at Port of Los Angeles. Image: Unsplash
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Strong American consumer demand has continued unabated for more than a year, evidenced by the steady amount of cargo streaming through the Port of Los Angeles. In August, the Port processed 954,377 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, just shy of last August’s record of 961,833 TEUs.

Eight months into the 2021 calendar year, overall cargo volume is 7,273,053 TEUs, an increase of 30% compared to 2020.

“Our Port Optimizer™ data indicates significant volume headed our way throughout this year and into 2022,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Port-related employment is robust, with longshore shifts up 32% compared to last year.

“To better manage this record cargo, the Port of Los Angeles is co-hosting roundtable discussions with dozens of public and private stakeholders,” Seroka added. “We’re pursuing short- and longer-term strategies with our partners in order to scale up to meet increased demand.”

August 2021 loaded imports reached 485,672 TEUs, a decrease of 6% compared to the previous year, when American retailers ramped up orders to restock low inventory. Loaded exports decreased 23% to 101,292 TEUs compared to the same period last year.

Empty containers climbed to 367,413 TEUs, a jump of 17% compared to last year due to the continued demand in Asia. It was the highest number of empty containers the Port has handled in a single month, eclipsing the 361,359 TEUs processed in May 2021.

North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $259 billion in trade during 2020. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs across the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura. The Port of Los Angeles has remained open with all terminals operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Maritime

World’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTC to start trading

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World’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTC to start trading. Image: UECC
World’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTC to start trading. Image: UECC
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UECC has taken delivery of the world’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTC that is set to provide significant gains in energy efficiency and emissions reduction as it enters service this year to boost the leading European shortsea ro-ro carrier’s bold effort to decarbonise its fleet.

The vessel, to be named Auto Advance, is the first in a series of three newbuild pure car and truck carriers (PCTC) – measuring 169 by 28 metres and with capacity for 3600 vehicles on 10 cargo decks – that are being delivered from China’s Jiangnan Shipyard. The remaining two sister vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2022.

“Having brought into operation the first-ever dual-fuel LNG PCTCs five years ago, UECC is now taking delivery of the first of three of the world’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTC to be built. This is another big step forward in eco-friendly ship operations that shows we walk the talk,” says UECC chief executive Glenn Edvardsen.

“This is also a technological milestone as the successful performance of the vessel in sea trials has vindicated our confidence in the viability of this innovative solution.”

UECC has taken the lead in the PCTC segment by developing the pioneering design, together with DNV and Jiangnan’s in-house ship designer Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute, to incorporate proven technology in a new configuration geared to enhancing operational and environmental performance.

Technology puzzle

LNG battery hybrid technology, together with an optimised hull design for better fuel efficiency, will enable these newbuilds to exceed the IMO requirement to cut carbon intensity by 40% from 2008 levels within 2030.

Emissions of carbon dioxide will be reduced by around 25%, SOx and particulate matter by 90% and NOx by 85% from the use of LNG, while the newbuilds will also meet the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations for the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Dual-fuel engine technology has now been combined with an energy storage system (ESS), supplied by Finland’s WE Tech, incorporating a battery package from Corvus Energy that will be charged by a permanent magnet, directly driven shaft generator or dual-fuelled generators.

The ESS, which will provide power to the main switchboard with a DC link for power distribution, will enable peak shaving for the main engine and auxiliaries to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, with a controllable pitch propeller, bulb rudder and dual-fuel boiler also part of the power system.

These vessels will require only two auxiliary dual-fuel gensets, in addition to the main engine, as the ESS and shaft generator provide a spinning reserve to eliminate the need for another genset that would normally be required.

Smart energy management

Battery capacity is based on detailed modelling of the vessels’ expected operational profile to economise on installation, with payback time for the ESS estimated at only five years, according to UECC’s head of ship management and newbuilding Jan Thore Foss.

The hybrid solution, which has gained DNV’s Battery Safety notation, will be steered by an intelligent energy management system, supplied by Kongsberg Maritime, that will serve as a control system for overall energy production and consumption – essentially the ‘energy brain’ of the vessel.

Batteries can be most efficiently charged while at sea using the shaft generator so that they are fully charged when entering port, enabling the vessel to manoeuvre in port using bow thrusters driven solely by battery power that can also supply the ship’s other energy needs while it is docked.

“This will effectively eliminate emissions while in port and these vessels are also equipped to connect to green power from shore that is becoming increasingly available in order to reduce harmful emissions of NOx, SOx and particulate matter,” Foss says.

Operational flexibility can deliver significant fuel efficiency gains and Foss believes this, combined with a low-emissions profile, will give the vessels an advantage in the European market as EU plans to include shipping in the Emissions Trading System are set to hike costs for pollutive vessels.

Fuel optionality

UECC’s energy and sustainability manager Daniel Gent says: “LNG is presently the most environment-friendly and widely available low-carbon fuel, with an estimated emissions reduction of around 25% compared with other fossil fuels.

“We are therefore taking advantage of the best available fuel solution now and combining this with hybrid technology to further cut emissions. But we are not locked into LNG and these dual-fuel engines are also ready to use alternative low-emission fuels such as biofuel, bio-LNG and synthetic LNG as these become commercially and technically viable.”

Edvardsen claims that UECC, jointly owned by green-focused players NYK and Wallenius Lines, is presently the only shipping company in its regional market segment that is investing in sustainable newbuilds.

“UECC has already achieved a substantial reduction in the carbon intensity of its fleet, but we aspire to do much more,” he concludes.

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Container Shipping Lines

Yara to start operating the world’s first fully emission-free container ship

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Yara to start operating the world’s first fully emission-free container ship. Image: Yara International
Yara to start operating the world’s first fully emission-free container ship. Image: Yara International
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The world’s first electric and self-propelled container ship – Yara Birkeland – has departed for its maiden voyage in the Oslo fjord. The Norwegian Prime Minister was given a tour by CEO of Yara, Svein Tore Holsether.

“We are proud to be able to showcase the world’s first fully electric and self-propelled container ship. It will cut 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and replace 40,000 trips by diesel-powered trucks a year, says Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara.

Friday morning, he welcomed Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy Bjørnar Skjæran on Yara Birkeland, after the ship had completed its maiden voyage to Oslo, Norway.

Emission-free shipping

Yara Birkeland, which has already received wide coverage in Norwegian and international media, has been developed in collaboration with the Kongsberg Group (KONGSBERG). The ship was built by VARD with financial support from Enova, and will be in commercial operation from 2022.

“We have been looking forward to this day for a long time. Yara Birkeland will transport mineral fertilizer between Porsgrunn and Brevik and will contribute to significant emission cuts during transport. This is an excellent example of green transition in practice, and we hope this ship will be the start of a new type of emission-free container ships. There are a lot of places in the world with congested roads that will benefit from a high-tech solution like this, says Holsether.

Now begins a two-year testing period of the technology that will make the ship self-propelled, and finally certified as an autonomous, all-electric container ship.

A shared ambition

Yara Birkeland is a collaborative project between several actors, where KONGSBERG is responsible for the development and delivery of all newly developed technology on the ship. The ship will be operated from Massterlys’ monitoring and operations center in Horten. Massterly is a joint venture between KONGSBERG and Wilhelmsen.

“Norway is a big ocean and maritime nation, and other nations look to Norway for green solutions at sea. Yara Birkeland is the result of the strong knowledge and experience we have in the Norwegian maritime cluster and industry. The project demonstrates how we have developed a world-leading innovation that contributes to the green transition and provides great export opportunities for Norwegian technology and industry, says Geir Håøy, CEO of the Kongsberg Group.

Enova, a government enterprise responsible for promotion of renewable energy, has allocated up to NOK 133.5 million to build the world’s first electric and autonomous container ship.

“On the way to a low-emission society, transport emissions must come down to almost zero. To achieve that, we need projects that can transform the market – projects that have the potential to pave the way for others and increase the pace of change in their sector. This is exactly what we believe the world’s first autonomous and all-electric container ship will do, says Nils Kristian Nakstad, CEO of Enova.

Green shipping is the future

In parallel with the construction of Yara Birkeland, Yara has initiated the development of green ammonia as an emission-free fuel for shipping, through the newly started Yara Clean Ammonia.

“Renewable energy was our starting point in 1905. Now, ammonia can bring us back to our roots. Our large shipping network and existing infrastructure means that ammonia has the potential to become the leading fuel for long-distance shipping globally,” says Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, CEO of Yara Clean Ammonia.

As the world’s largest producer of fertilizers, Yara relies on ammonia to make fertilizer, and to help feed an ever-growing population. At the same time, current ammonia production represents 2 per cent of the world’s fossil energy consumption. This corresponds to about 1.2 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

“As the world’s largest producer of ammonia, Yara has launched an offensive plan of international scale, both to remove current emissions and to establish the production of new, clean ammonia,” says Ankarstrand.

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Environment

Wartsila and RINA partner with other stakeholders to deliver a viable hydrogen fuel solution to meet IMO 2050 target

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Wartsila and RINA partner with other stakeholders to deliver a viable hydrogen fuel solution to meet IMO 2050 target. Image: Wartsila
Wartsila and RINA partner with other stakeholders to deliver a viable hydrogen fuel solution to meet IMO 2050 target. Image: Wartsila
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The technology group Wartsila, together with class society RINA, ABB, Helbio – a subsidiary of Metacon AB, the Liberian Registry, and an energy major have joined forces in an effort to deliver a solution with hydrogen as fuel. The aim is to have a scalable and sustainable solution that will exceed the IMO 2050 target for a 70 percent reduction in carbon intensity without the need for an extensive infrastructure investment. This offers the shipping industry a pathway to low-carbon operations within a reasonable time frame.

Current difficulties and cost considerations regarding the production, distribution, and onboard storage of hydrogen have so far limited the sector’s interest in its direct use as a marine fuel. However, by producing hydrogen onboard, and using readily available LNG, the solution becomes far more viable and in a much faster time than would otherwise be possible.

“Our gas engines are already able to use mixtures of hydrogen and LNG, and our future efforts will be to reach 100% hydrogen fuel. We are totally committed to supporting in every way possible the decarbonisation of shipping operations. This project is one more example of this commitment, and we are very pleased to be partnering with other stakeholders to make the IMO 2050 target achievable. This project will give owners a real chance to stay ahead of the competition in terms of efficiency and sustainability,” says Lars Anderson, Director, Product Management & Sales Support, Wartsila Marine Power.

The concept is based on combining LNG with steam to produce hydrogen and CO2. The hydrogen produced will be used directly in a mix with natural gas in internal combustion engines or in fuel cells, thus eliminating the need for hydrogen to be stored onboard. The CO2 will be liquefied using the cryogenic stream of LNG that would be used as fuel anyway, and later disposed ashore for carbon storage. Tankers can use the stored CO2 as inert gas during discharge.

The necessary equipment can easily be fitted on the deck of a commercial vessel. This innovative concept will support the marine sector’s gradual transition from LNG to hydrogen, without any major adjustments to a vessel’s onboard technologies.

Only LNG bunkering will be required and, by progressively increasing the production of hydrogen, the consumption of fossil methane and associated methane slip will be reduced at the same rate.

Wartsila and ABB will support the application of hydrogen in powering internal combustion engines and fuel cells respectively, while Helbio will provide the technology and manufacturing of gas reformers. RINA and the Liberian Registry will provide advice and guidance on the application of rules and regulations for novel concept alternative designs, based on Hazid/Hazop analyses, as well as specific rules for this kind of arrangement.

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