by & filed under Accessibility and Standards.

There are several EU and national climate measures for implementation of the Paris Agreement that oblige ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their land-based activities. Most of the European ports have  set goals towards decarbonisation of shipping activities by providing green services. Under the EU Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (DIRECTIVE 2014/94/EU) , LNG bunkering facilities and On-shore Power Supply should be provided in ports of the TEN-T core network by 2025. Belgium-based Fluxys has taken over the concession in the port of Antwerp to make liquefied natural gas (LNG) available as an alternative fuel for ships and barges.

The company will add a permanent LNG bunkering facility by the end of next year to complement the existing mobile (truck-to-ship) bunkering service at the port.Over the next year and a half the company will construct the infrastructure needed for barges and smaller seagoing ships at quay 526-528 to fill up with LNG at a permanent facility with LNG storage.

For this purpose the company is working closely with G&V Energy Group, which will also build an LNG filling station for trucks on the same site.Fluxys already enables barges and smaller seagoing ships to bunker LNG using LNG tanker trucks, a procedure known as truck-to-ship bunkering.

Source: World Maritime News

by & filed under Governance.

PortEconomics co-director Peter de Langen has co-authored a study for the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO), examining ‘The Infrastructure Investment needs and Financing Challenge of European Ports’, so as to answer these questions.

Among others, the study focuses on the diversity of port investments, make the case for investments in basic port infrastructures, explains how investment needs of EU ports are driven by external developments, and details the role of EU funding for port investments. On these bases, it discusses the past use of EU instruments by ports, and make suggestions for the right mix of funding instruments for port investments, the clarity on the relevance of EU added value in the evaluation and methods to assess EU added value, and call for further alignment of grant allocation processes with the port industry needs. The report, which has been submitted by ESPO as part of its contribution to the European Commission public consultation on EU funds in the area of strategic infrastructure, includes several recommendations based on the findings of the study. Peter de Langen will present the study at the ESPO conference to be held in Rotterdam on 31 May 2018.

The development of the Single European Market required the elimination of a range of barriers to trade. Nowhere is this more evident than in Europe’s seaports where the work to create a level playing pitch has been a project of decades. In recent years, however, there has been a range of inter-related EU policy initiatives which have largely created the level playing pitch in the port sector. As a result, seaports are now in the position to fully realise their potential and maximise their contribution to the prosperity of people and communities throughout the EU.

Central to this change has been the increased focus on ports as commercial entities with increased financial autonomy in most cases. However, this new perspective highlights a conundrum at the heart of port development plans. In many cases, the main benefits of port projects accrue to the wider community and economy rather than to the port authority itself. This is particularly true when ports invest in basic infrastructure to provide capacity for future growth. Beyond that, the requirement for ports to invest in basic infrastructure has been joined by a range of investment requirements as a result of wider societal imperatives particularly in the areas of environmental policy and energy policy. The challenge ports everywhere face now, is to implement projects which often are financially unattractive to the port authority and even less attractive to external investors but which are essential for wider societal and economic reasons.

 

Some ports are financially strong enough to finance such projects and accept the low financial returns. Other ports are challenged to implement projects which are essential but are entirely beyond their means. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is the essential means to resolve this conundrum. TEN-T policy recognises ports as engines for growth. Europe’s ports have the projects ready to meet TEN-T objectives. CEF is the facilitator. As CEF ll is being prepared, the experience and expertise of Europe’s ports has been harnessed in this study report by ESPO to provide Europe’s institutions with an informed viewpoint on the needs of ports and on how ports can contribute to the achievement of TEN-T and other EU policies. ESPO recognises that there are many demands on the EU budget at a time when the size of this budget is challenged by Brexit. But there are important choices to be made in how scarce resources are allocated.

 

ESPO contends that investment in Europe’s seaports is essential if critical policy objectives are to be met in a wide range of EU policy areas. If Europe’s seaports cannot make the investments that are needed, then key policy objectives in the areas of transport, energy and environment will be compromised. Nine key findings are presented in this report, which go beyond a simplistic request by ports for more funds, to inform the debate and discussion of the size and allocation of the budget for the second Connecting Europe Facility.

 

by & filed under Safety & security.

Ports are sniffing around cryptocurrencies, but with a great deal of trepidation, finds Martin Rushmere. Port authorities and terminal operators are traditionally  eat-and-potatoes types for technology. Reliable, proven and trusted have always appealed to their tastes. New types of gantries, straddle carriers and automation were seen as strange types of food,  picked at gingerly before being enthusiastically seized on. Along comes blockchain and its cryptocurrency derivative. The offering is pushed away with a shudder.

 

“The problem is that the two are often confused as being the same thing,” says a US analyst, “largely because Bitcoin has become so prominent in the news. Added to this, there has been an explosion of digital start-ups promising their cryptocurrencies can be used for any industry and are secure and legal.”The analyst says that the market place has become so competitive that start-ups are making unverifiable claims and trying to outdo each other. Ports point out the turmoil and uncertainty in trading markets as the most immediate deterrent to being involved. Observers agree that in the current climate this is certainly a valid argument, but should not be the reason for avoiding crypto indefinitely.

 

Legality concerns

Aljosja Beije, logistics & technology lead for Blocklab in Rotterdam, says: “Right now cryptocurrency is not an accepted payment for logistics and the supply chain. We must remember that it is not legal tender – yet.” He says it would need to become so in the future for critical national businesses such as ports to deal with it on the same basis as physical currency. “The price and valuation bubble has finally burst, as we knew all along it would.” But Mr Beije cautions against the antipathy going too far. “The price crash and uncertainty does not mean the underlying idea of cryptocurrency is wrong. What it has been used for is very limited – illegal activities are the main focus of attention – and there is so much more potential. People in the maritime industry (and of course elsewhere) do not understand the technology.”  Despite the torrent of negative publicity causing ports to avert their eyes, international banks, traders and consultants are holding more seminars and conferences – albeit without some of the breathless hysteria that accompanied cryptocurrency three years ago. Public sentiment emerging from these is that four conditions have to be present for the system to be more palatable and for publicly-owned or operated enterprises to take part: insurance/underwriting and legal redress mechanisms have to be established when payments go wrong; the laws and regulations need to match in applicable trading centres; and there has to be financial stability. The fourth conditions, and with the most long-term implications, is tax. The IRS in the US is working itself into a frenzy over effective ways to keep track of payments and establish procedures to decide just which transactions, and what proportion, are taxable.

 

Prohibitive fees

Ian Chan, a blockchain professional with Deloitte in Canada, notes that transaction fees of, mostly, Bitcoin are extremely high. “It’s crazy,” he says. Others back up his observation, pointing out that a main advantage of cryptocurrency – cutting out intermediaries – is lost when fees are higher than for other forms of payment. He says digital currency needs hedging just like any other currency, however, “the volatility is so much that the cost of hedging makes it prohibitive”. Mr Chan emphasises that ports must, however, realise that blockchain is “an absolute necessity for the supply chain. I always ask clients to look at what they can do with blockchain today compared with what they could do before it appeared.” The distaste for any form of Bitcoin in the US is demonstrated by the response from the Port of Los Angeles: “We have not used Bitcoin cryptocurrency, not looking into and have no plans to look into it,” says a spokesman.

 

San Francisco on the West Coast however, is considering whether to take a taste sample. Leslie Katz, one of the four port commissioners said: “We are looking at crypto generally and are not considering any specific product”. Recent reports in US and foreign publications claimed said that San Francisco and other West Coast ports were interested in AML Bitcoin. However no port contacted by Port Strategy confirmed this to be the case and four of the biggest West Coast ports said they were not discussing any type of Bitcoin.

 

Crypto advantages

Ms Katz notes the advantage of cryptocurrency cutting out the layers of intermediaries in international commerce. “We would of course make sure that any form of digital payment we might use would conform to the highest legal and ethical standards. San Francisco is a forward-thinking city and we would be crazy not to look at new technology.” Rotterdam’s Blocklab, which includes the port authority as a partner, is steering clear of involvement in digital currency for the moment and working on projects to improve the efficiency of the supply chain through blockchain. “Supply chain invoices, combining waybills, are of particular interest to us,” says Mr Beije. “The supplier gets paid immediately with no involvement of human beings. It can be used for any other logistics transaction. Inventory finance is another area, where small and medium businesses can get their inventory financed by banks and other financial entities. The data stays in the system and you can make sure people are not messing with the system.” Mr Beije adds that projects are in the early stage. “We did a proof of concept for demurrage and detention, bringing together logistics providers and a big shipping line. Freight forwarders and lines don’t see eye to eye and just getting them in same room is something of an achievement.” Blocklab is also working on automation of trade lanes between the UK and the Netherlands, partly because of Brexit.

 

“Tokenisation is the way forward, for the supply chain,” he says, “not as a currency but as replacement of bills of lading. That’s where I hope it is going to go. The difficulty is getting the ecosystem to accept it. “We are looking at smaller scale logistics, with barge loading. Blockchain will allow customers to trade places easily with someone who is willing to take their token.”

 

IoT engagement

The lab is also researching blockchain integrating with IoT, using a consensus protocol.

“Our aim is to close down the lab eventually – we will not become a software vendor and we are blockchain agnostic, open to working with any protocols.” The three being used at the moment are Ethereum, IOTA, IBM Hyperledger. In the US, Nevada startup Filament is developing software and Blocklet Chip to allow devices to work together in a blockchain. The company says its technology is “well-suited for environments that operate frequent scheduled services including maritime projects and ports that require attestation to verify specific details of container shipping services.” Says  executive Allison Clift-Jennings: “For example, container shipping companies may want their containers to track time from points of origin, around container terminals, and to final destinations in order to improve inefficiencies. In these cases, our blockchain native chip, which brings an established root of trust to a device, can secure data in transit and attest to time. “Once you have Blocklet Chips securing physical assets within the machines themselves, it’s a natural extension to provide native cryptocurrency capabilities to these machines, including internal corporate tokens,” says Ms Clift-Jennings.

 

Source: PortStrategy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by & filed under Project news.

A very successful and well-planned kick off meeting took place in Genoa on 15thand 16th January 2018.

DocksTheFuture, which is co-funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme, consists of defining the Port of the Future, meant as a near future (2030) which should face challenges related to simplification and digitalization of processes, dredging, emission reduction, energy transition, electrification, smart grids, port-city interface and the use of renewable energy management.

All five partners (Circle, University of Genoa, PortExpertise, Magellan and the Institut für Seeverkehrswirtschaft und Logistik – ISL ) have met in the historical Genoese University branch of Via Balbi 5.

The first day of the meeting was marked by an intense schedule. Once completed the partners’ mutual introduction and the welcoming address by the Project Coordinator (Alexio Picco), the day has been intensely dedicated to the Technical Management Committee.

During the afternoon session, Mr Sergio Escriba (Project Officer at European Commission), explained the role of DG Move and the main differences between DG Move and INEA, stressing the matter of the main DG Move’s  expectations from the project as well as giving useful insights into several features of the co-funded project from both the organizational, administrative and strategic point of views: the importance of accuracy in reporting and in deliverables submission as well as how to manage subcontracting and payments.

These two days kick-off meeting marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration within the DocksTheFuture project.