Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port to undergo feasibility for Hyperloop transport technology

Hyperloop could be heading to the Middle East, thanks to a new deal signed on Monday between Hyperloop One and port operator DP World. The partnership calls for a feasibility study of how the nascent, ultra-fast transport technology could improve Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, but both parties hope that’s just the beginning.

The study will look at the possibility of building a Hyperloop to take freight off container ships arriving at Jebel Ali and transport it via the technology’s system of pods moving through pressurized tubes to an inland depot that DP World plans to build further inland.

“By having a system where a box can be taken off a ship and dropped into the tube or pod, we are moving activity that would otherwise be on the island terminal as well as reducing the size of the terminal you need to build,” said Hyperloop One founding board member Peter Diamandis.

The Los Angeles-based startup says a Hyperloop can fit within Dubai’s existing transportation corridors and could reduce freeway traffic by taking cargo transport trucks off roads. DP World says it can even foresee using a “submerged floating Hyperloop” located next to its huge new terminal built on a man-made island. Source: Hyperloop One

Global container ports could handle 840m TEU a year by 2018

singapore-port

Port of Singapore

Projected throughput four years from now compares with 642m teu in 2013 and 674m teu projected for this year. The 2018 projection is double the 2004 throughput figure of 363m teu.

The combination of faster traffic growth and strong profit levels is attracting aggressive new players to enter the container terminal-operator business , according to the 11th Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Review and Forecast report published by shipping consultancy Drewry. It says Africa and Greater China are the regions that will see the most rapid growth.

Overall , growth rates are expected to average an annual 5.6% in the five years to 2018, compared with 3.4% in 2013. That will boost average terminal utilisation from 67% today to 75% in 2018, Drewry forecasts.

“The sector’s strong financial performance and accelerating growth is encouraging new market entrants and renewed merger and acquisition activity in the container ports sector,” said Neil Davidson, senior analyst in Drewry’s ports and terminals practice. “Financial investors are particularly active at present, attracted by typical ebitda margins of between 20% and 45%.”

Drewry has also added two companies to its league table of 24 terminal operators it considers to be global. Both China Merchants Holdings International and Bolloré Group have been growing aggressively. In the case of CMHI further acquisitions are particularly likely. Other operators, such as Gulftainer and Yilport are also expanding rapidly and are challenging for inclusion in Drewry’s league table.

The composition of the top five players, when measured on an equity teu throughput basis, has changed little from last year, except new entrant CMHI which is now in fifth place. PSA again heads the table, by virtue of its scale and 20% stake in Hutchison Port Holdings which comes second. APM Terminals is third, followed by DP World.

Drewry said that by 2018, it expects both HPH and APM Terminals to be vying closely for the top spot in terms of capacity deployed. Most portfolio expansion will be through greenfield or brownfield terminals in emerging markets, led by APM Terminals, International Container Terminal Services, HPH and DP World. “All port and terminal operators are experiencing a number of key industry trends, some of which have wide ramifications,” said Mr Davidson. “The most important trends are deployment of ever-larger containerships, expansion of shipping-line alliances, financial pressures on shipping lines, rapidly emerging international terminal operators and owners, financial investor churn, as well as the gathering pace of terminal automation.” Source: Lloydslist.com

What Optimisation means for Terminals and Ports

Container terminal (CT1) with Nordschleuse in ...

Container terminal (CT1) with Nordschleuse in the foreground, Bremerhaven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Port Technology International’s article is perhaps poignant to current logistics developments in South Africa. Optimisation at the terminal does not only mean improving productivity and reducing operational costs. Optimisation represents a new approach to managing container terminals; it is the most significant driving factor in changing the traditional operational approach and methodology applied at container terminals. It also allows terminals to have a focus on efficiency which needs to address the trade-off between vessel service time, terminal capacity, and cost per move.

In terms of the marine shipping industry, one of the most accurate definitions of optimisation is: “The act of making a system, design or decision as effective or functional as possible.” Optimisation as a discipline is an ancient science best illustrated over time.

The history of optimisation

Greek mathematicians used to solve optimisation problems related to geometrical studies. After the invention of calculus, mathematicians were then able to address more complex optimisation problems. Following the start of the World War II and the advent of the operations research field, the concept and practice of optimisation began to develop and received significant academic and industrial focus. Mr J. Von Neumann, a leading individual behind the development of operations research, contributed substantially to the field of algorithmic research. And in the 60s and 70s, complexity analysis began to further support the use of optimisation. Then, in the 80s and 90s as computers became more efficient, algorithms for global optimisation with the purpose of solving large-scale problems began to gain momentum and credibility.

Considering the present

The continual advancements in technology with respect to computing power along with significant research in applied mathematics and computer science have solidified the value of optimisation to the industry and the end user. This has enabled advanced theory to be applied in a way that has sometimes invisibly improved our lives during last 20 years. The progress is amazing. Today, companies such as UPS and Federal Express utilise complex routing algorithms for resource allocation and supply chain distribution to deliver an item to our door with seamless efficiency. Their results have in turn changed the way millions of us find information, shop, and even do our jobs.

Today, many industries use optimisation as a more general term that covers areas from manufacturing process efficiency to improved distribution techniques. The core objective of optimisation is improving and controlling the process – whatever it may be – and allowing people with responsibilities in those areas to make better decisions. Operations research, for example, is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions at the right time and within the time constraints of a live operation.

As with other industries, the shipping and container space is currently going through its own step change to achieve new levels of operational productivity in response to mega-trends, such as globalisation and sustainable operations. To compete, ports and terminals have decided they need to adapt to their changing demands by optimising their activities in areas such as berthing allocation, vessel planning, fleet size optimisation, shift resource planning and equipment scheduling. All of these areas are critical for minimising the cost per move factors and maximising overall terminal performance and throughput.

Optimisation also provides the intelligence and the tools to support this changing industry, but it is not meant to be a black box. A container terminal is a very complex system with many unpredictable variables. Those focused on achieving optimisation will need to be able to control, monitor and configure the behaviour of this intelligence behind the machine and systems, filling any critical gaps between the planning and execution.

Containerised cargo makes up about 60 percent of all dry cargo trade in the world; since the advent of the cargo container more than 50 years ago, this number continues to grow. The appeal of containerised cargo is well known – cargo can be seamlessly transported from origin to destination via a variety of modes without the need to unload and reload its contents. The marine container terminal is at the junction of water, rail and truck transport modes. And as a consequence, marine container terminals are some of the most essential, yet challenging, links in the global supply chain. Source: Port Technology International

Major Multimodal Logistics Hub in Belgium

Liege Trilogiport is scheduled to open for business in the final half of 2015 (Picture: Liege Ports Authority)

Liege Trilogiport is scheduled to open for business in the final half of 2015 (Picture: Liege Ports Authority)

Work is underway on a major multimodal logistics hub project in Belgium. Piloted by the inland port of Liège, it is designed to serve as an “extended gateway” to the seaports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge.

The project will attract around €45 million of public funding from the Belgian authorities and the European Union to finance infrastructure requirements, while initial investment from the private sector is estimated at approximately €115 million.

Located on a 120 hectare site on the banks of the Canal Albert, the Trilogiport project is scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2015. It is expected to create more than 2,000 direct or indirect jobs.

Described as “a tri-modal (river, rail and road) logistics village,” it will comprise a 15ha container terminal, with 1,850 metres of quayside, operated by Luxembourg-based Euroports and its partner, DP World.

Provision is made too to build a rail freight terminal with 700 metres of track to connect Trilogiport with the national rail network. Construction of a road bridge is also planned to provide access to the motorway system around Liège.

Trilogiport will also incorporate 200,000 sq metres of warehousing and distribution space at full build-out. Source: Porttechnology.com