Much research and development is currently underway involving automation in the transportation industries and including in container freight movement. Automated cranes already load and off-load containers at several major international ports while development of automated operation of freight carrying trains and trucks is well underway. Introducing automated navigation and automated container transfer operations along inland waterways promises to reduce container transportation costs to small ports located along such waterways.
The future of container transportation will involve increased application of automated technology that includes vessel navigation, transfer of containers between ship and shore and also between ship and surface-based transportation. Tests are underway involving computer driven trucks along some American roadways. Automated cranes can operate at major terminals while scaled down variations of such cranes could be installed about ship to provide service to quaysides where cranes are absent. While automated ocean-going ship navigation is well underway, there is scope to develop automated navigation for commercial vessels that sail along the inland waterways.
At the present time, crane equipped combination general cargo and container ships sail the trans-North Atlantic service between western European ports and Cleveland on Lake Erie. While a port processing a large number of containers would justify the investment into specialized dockside cranes to service large ships, the arrival of small numbers of containers at small ports may not justify the cost of investing in specialized crane equipment to transfer containers. The option of crane-equipped ships with automated crane operation offers the potential to provide cost-competitive container delivery service to small ports.
Automated Port Vehicles
While automated port vehicles already move containers around some major international ports, there is scope to introduce port vehicle operational software into automated trucks developed to operate intercity and urban service. Line-ups of such trucks could await the scheduled arrival of automated crane-equipped container ships at small ports located along inland waterways. Communication between automation systems would facilitate the quick and reliable transfer of containers from ship to truck at the inland ports and at much lower cost than earlier, more time consuming manually operated technology. Automation provides container transfer opportunity for small ports located along inland waterways.
Container-on-barge operation is underway and growing along the American inland waterway system, also along the European barge canal system and even along navigable South American waterways. Small ports located along the American waterway system represent an area of future growth and development in the automated transfer of containers between waterway and road vehicles. There may be opportunity to develop larger container barges equipped with onboard automated cranes to transfer containers while at port, with the alternative option of introducing automation to port-based picker vehicles that transfer containers between barge and truck.
The majority of containers that move internationally aboard large ships are transferred to trains and trucks at major ports. A small percentage of containers are transferred between ocean vessels and inland waterway vessels, at ports such as New Orleans, Rotterdam and Buenos Aires. In a few isolated cases, small ships that sail across ocean also sail to ports located along inland waterways as is the case between Western Europe and Lake Erie. Tug-barge inland waterway vessels are cost competitive against railways when carrying over 100-TEU and against trucks when carrying over a dozen TEU.
Customers seeking to save on transportation costs and are willing to delay arrival of their containers for a few days have the option of using the combination of ocean ships and inland waterway transportation. Some environmentally conscious customers have recently had their containers carried across the North Atlantic aboard wind-powered vessels. However, the extreme height of some wind-powered vessels precludes their passing under bridges. Such container carrier vessels would have wind turbines installed near the vessel stern, with the turbine extreme upper level reaching up to 100-m above ocean surface.
St. Lawrence Seaway
Automated container transfer technology offers the possibility of reducing container transportation costs along the St. Lawrence Seaway and especially for vessels sailing across the North Atlantic. The present length of container vessels that sail to Cleveland is 456 feet, or over 12 TEU lengths shorter than maximum size Seaway-max ships. While one of the container vessels can only carry seven TEU widths within its hull, its companion can carry eight TEU widths. A Seawaymax ship can carry nine TEU widths. There is likely market potential for a self-unloading crane equipped Seawaymax container ship to carry containers from Europe to both Cleveland and Toronto.
At the present time, there is great reluctance within the domestic Canadian ship transportation industry to operate tug-barges carrying containers along the St. Lawrence River and Seaway. Regulation actually results in self-powered ships being more costly to operate while carrying the same payload as a tug-barge. The future opening of Port of Quebec City container terminal offers the option of automated tug-barges with onboard cranes to interline with large ocean-going container ships and provide cost-competitive per container transportation service to small ports located along the lower and upper sections of the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries.
Technology is under development that would make automated container vessel operation possible along navigable inland waterways. Such automation would include vessel navigation and the operation of onboard deck-mounted cranes that allow the vessel to self-load and self-unload. Automated self-driving trucks would interline with automated waterway vessels at small ports, to transfer containers quickly and at low cost. Automation that reduces operating costs would also enhance the operation of a larger container ship that could connect between Western Europe and the ports of Cleveland and Toronto, if Canadian regulators allow for such operation.
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
The First DP2, Twin-Hulled SOV in the World, NB72 Groene Wind met the Sea on September 29. 2020 in Yalova, Turkey. The Groene Wind will be directly chartered to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for the maintenance of the Rentel and Mermaid & Seastar (known as SeaMade) offshore wind farms in Belgium. This is the first DP2, […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]