Denmark eyes blockchain path to digitizing ship registration

MAY 22, 2017 — The Danish Maritime Authority is launching a pilot project looking at blockchain technology as a possible path to digitalization of the entire ship registration process. When they want

European shipowners draw up Brexit wish list

MAY 17, 2017 — European shipowners today published their priorities when it comes to the outcome of Brexit negotiations on Britain’s departure from the European Union. The European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA)

Denmark shows shipowners how to avoid PSC problems

APRIL 20, 2017 — The Danish Maritime Authority will hold three meetings on Port State Control (PSC) inspections this year, one of them conducted in English. Held for shipowners’ shore-based and ship-based

LNG bunkering is an idea whose time hasn’t come (yet)

MARCH 28, 2017—With the the IMO Global Sulfur Cap of 0.5% looming on the horizon in 2020, Jack Jordan, Editorial Lead, S&P Global Platts, writes about whether shipowners will embrace burning Liquefied

DOJ: Record year for shipowner pollution penalties

JANUARY 17, 2017 — The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has been tallying up its achievements in 2016. It notes that it “continued its robust program

LR defines “autonomy levels” for ship design and operation

JULY 11, 2016 — Classification society LR says that, with autonomous ships likely to enter service soon, it has set out the “how” of marine autonomous operations in a new ShipRight procedure

First two ship operators join autonomous ship group

APRIL 12, 2016 — Two Finnish companies have become the first commercial operators to join the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) project, led by Rolls-Royce. They are ferry operator Finferries and

Alfa Laval to offer open training courses


“To ensure safety and optimal use – but also economy in maintenance and operation – it’s important that customers understand the equipment they work with and the many factors that impact its operation,” says Caroline Carlstedt, Training Manager, Alfa Laval Service.

Alfa Laval’s emphasis on training is evidenced, for example, byt the recently built Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark, which comprises cutting-edge training facilities in addition to its 250 sq.m testing space.

Customer-focused courses are regularly conducted on Alfa Laval’s premises in Tumba, Sweden and worldwide in locations like the

Philippine capital of Manilla, where around 500 customers are trained each year.

Now Alfa Laval will also offer a range of open coursesl, allowing individual operators and small groups to participate together with industry peers.

Why open training courses?

“Training is in everyone’s interest, but not all shipowners and operators are in a position to fill a dedicated Alfa Laval course,” says Ms. Carlstedt. “Alfa Laval’s open training courses, which will primarily be held at our facilities in Tumba, Sweden, will make our specialist expertise more broadly available to the marine industry.”

“A customer-specific course has the benefit of being 100% focused on that customer’s unique challenges,” she says. “On the other hand, an open course means opportunities to exchange experience with industry peers in similar positions, facilitated by Alfa Laval experts who can provide deeper insights and lead the way to best practices for all present.”

Open training courses will focus on key areas of concern for all shipowners and operators. The first, which will deal with separators, will be a three-day course aimed at equipment operators, technical crew and superintendents. This course will take place February 23-25, 2016.

By relating in-depth knowledge through the courses, and by teaching proper operational, maintenance and service procedures, Alfa Laval experts will help participants to optimize safety and ensure the correct handling that prevents unnecessary wear and stops.

“When customers have attended, they will understand their equipment and be familiar with the issues that affect its operation, which means they will be able use that equipment in the best possible way,” says Ms. Carlstedt. “That will contribute not only to lower maintenance costs, but also to lower operating costs. And when it comes time to refurbish, upgrade or replace the equipment, knowledgeable and competent personnel will be able to provide qualified feedback and support that will lead to a competitive long-term solution.”

ABB unveils Integrated Operations Center

Onboard sensors and software send equipment and performance data via satellite link to the center, allowing shipowners, in collaboration with ABB experts, to perform remote troubleshooting and make informed judgements about the ship’s performance and maintenance plan.

The new center fits into the ABB’s marine Integrated Operations concept which utilizes the “Internet of Things, Services and People” (IoTSP) to connect ships, their owner’s technical headquarters and ABB’s support departments. Through the IoTSP, ABB is able to monitor many of the ship’s critical equipment systems and key parameters, for example on power production and Azipod propulsion.

More than 500 vessels are currently connected to ABB’s Integrated Operations set up.
ABB says that with Integrated Operations, shipowners can implement a way of working that saves up to 50% on drydocking costs on ABB equipment, if monitoring, pre-survey, and project execution are managed in close cooperation between ABB and the owner. Data is collected from systems and used as input for maintenance work during dry dockings.

“We are monitoring the key parameters which will have direct impact on the critical equipment and could lead either to downtime or to a significant loss in efficiency,” says Richard Windischhofer, VP Integrated Operations. “We are proactive in our relationship with our customers and with the new Integrated Operations Center we proactively monitor the critical alarms and inform the crew about issues – sometimes even before they notice them themselves.”

ABB says the center is also the next step in the journey to more autonomous shipping operations. The support capabilities available via the IoTSP mean that a larger proportion of an  owner’s highly qualified staff can work on shore with whole fleets rather than on board individual ships.

“Shipowners are always looking for more efficient ways to run their business and the Integrated Operations Center can play an active role in reducing their maintenance costs,” says Heikki Soljama, Managing Director of ABB’s Marine and Ports. “The Internet of Things, Services and People is providing exciting opportunities and we are at the forefront of this new wave of innovation.”


Survey shows shipowners still watching the purse strings

Though there were variations in different sizes and types of ships, industry wide all categories of expenditure were down on those for the previous 12-month period.

“This is the third successive year-on-year reduction in overall operating cost,” says Moore Stephens partner Richard Greiner. “This comes as something of a surprise, and is contrary to earlier forecasts. Shipping is clearly watching the pennies, and it may also be the case that more competitive pricing for goods and services has had a part to play in holding down expenditure. Beyond that, as always, the impact of exchange rate changes cannot be determined readily.

“By far the biggest reduction in operating costs, for example, was seen this time in the Stores category. This can be largely explained by the knock-on effect which the fall in oil prices has had on lube oil costs. Such ‘benefits’ do not come often to any industry, and are usually not without a downside, as has been the case in shipping.

“Crew costs were down, albeit marginally, for the first time in recent memory. This could be an indication of a higher level of idle tonnage during the period under review, but is nevertheless welcome news for an industry which has seen crew cost increases of more than 20% at their peak.

“Expenditure on repairs and maintenance was also marginally down on 2013, possibly attributable in part to weak steel prices and in part to the fact that poor freight rates arguably do not encourage owners and operators to engage in anything but the most essential repairs and maintenance. It is to be hoped that there is not a future price to be paid in this respect in terms of either safety or performance.

“The bill for insurance coverage was also down, which will come as little or no surprise in view of the high level of competition in the insurance market, which is arguably even fiercer than that in the shipping industry.

“A third successive annual fall in operating costs must be good news for an industry already facing serious financial challenges and preparing to meet still more. But a bigger-picture view provides an insight into just how much operating costs have increased in recent years. OpCost is now in its fifteenth year of publication. At year-end 2001, the average daily operating cost for a Panamax Bulk Carrier was $3,565. In 2014, it was $6,046. For a Handysize Product Tanker, the comparable figures were $4,164 and $7,931

.”The challenge for shipping is how to build the cost of operation into freight rates in a way which allows for a reasonable profit margin in an industry which is driven by competition and characterized by overtonnaging. Given that, over the next few years, annual seaborne trade is projected to grow at a reasonable rate, and that the cost of regulatory compliance is likely to increase significantly, one would expect operating costs to rise over the same period. Two things are certain. Firstly, the business of operating ships will remain a costly undertaking. Secondly, the impetus for higher freight rates will not come from the shipping industry’s customers.”

The 2015 edition of OpCost is available online. Running cost information is obtained on a confidential basis from clients of Moore Stephens, and from other shipowners and ship managers who submit data for inclusion. OpCost 2015 is available free to owners who submit their data for inclusion. Alternately, it can be purchased.