Tuesday, November 27, 2012

All Types of Freight Ships Set to Nudge Largest Ever Foam Fender Contract

Bumper Order in Every Sense for Marseille Port
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – FRANCE – Trelleborg Marine Systems has been awarded the biggest ever contract of its type to supply France’s largest port, the Port of Marseille, with approximately 700 SeaGuard foam fenders and accessories, including chains and anchors, to equip 39 of the ports’ quays with protection to accommodate the diverse range of vessels which come to berth at the port. These include Ro/Ro car ferries, container ships, cruise ships, bulk freight carriers and even larger vessels such as tankers of various types.

Trelleborg won the order after several rounds of bidding with, what the company says was a superior technical offering, 100% compliance to the specification and the ability to perform and verify extensive material and cyclic testing. Delivery will commence 2012 and extend into 2014. The Swedish headquartered company will also supply UHMW-PE plastic pads, which with be fitted to the quay wall to prevent abrasion of the fender body. Richard Hepworth, Managing Director of Trelleborg Marine Systems, said:

“After being awarded the largest ever order for rubber fenders for the new port in Doha, Qatar, we’re delighted to follow this up with the award for the largest ever foam fender contract too. This contract shows the breadth of our expertise across different materials and wide-ranging solutions, and substantiates our belief that there’s no such thing as an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution – procurement decision makers need to work with manufacturers that can offer rounded, full service solutions to meet the specific needs of their projects without cutting corners.”

As a manufacturer, Trelleborg assured the Marseille port they could guarantee inspection and quality control at each stage of the process through thorough testing on both the filler foam and the casing, or PU skin. In addition to independent laboratory testing, the fenders will also be required to undergo full scale performance testing, in which they will be compressed to 60% of their diameter to ensure the required energy absorption characteristics are met. There is also a requirement for full scale cyclic testing to verify fatigue, durability and recovery characteristics.

Through virtue of its in house manufacturing facilities, Trelleborg were able to meet very specific production requirements, whereby the filler foam will be bonded around a bespoke system in the centre of the fender. The fenders will be held in place on the quay wall by chains attached to anchoring mechanisms integrated into each of the fender bodies. Trelleborg will supply the chains ‘ready to install’ and equipped with the relevant devices to prevent twisting if the fender rotates. The corrosion protection on the chains, which will take the form of hot galvanisation, must be completed at the delivery point and comply with the demands of the French standardisation association, the Association Française de Normalisation (AFNOR).

The production method for the fender casing is also subject to stringent guidelines to ensure strength and abrasion resistance. The casing will be applied in the form of liquid polyurethane and sprayed onto the core to give a tough, smooth, solid skin. The skin also incorporates a matrix of fibres which provide additional reinforcing strength when combined with the polyurethane.

Every installation of this type carries with it its own problems and the anchors that will be supplied for the project have had to be compatible with the various types of quay wall construction found at the port, such as hard limestone, masonry and reinforced concrete. Due to the variations in water level at the port, the fenders must also be resistant to corrosion when exposed to seawater.

As a number of the quay wall structures at the Port of Marseille have facings that may be abrasive to the fenders, the UHMW-PE plastic pads, chosen due to their high resistance to abrasion, UV damage, extreme temperatures, salt water and marine growth, will be fitted directly to the quay wall, beneath the fenders, to limit wear of both the port infrastructure and the fenders themselves.