Friday, September 12, 2014

Out of Gauge Freight Specialist and Marine Hardware Group Join in Unique Logistics Project

Combined Effort to Supply the Most Precious Cargo of All - Whilst Worldwide Things May be Looking Up for Ports
Shipping News Feature

UK – TURKEY – CYPRUS – WORLDWIDE – Two names familiar to regular readers have been acting in tandem recently to deliver one of the most ambitious and exciting projects to provide that most essential ingredient to all life – water. Allseas Global Logistics has been playing a pivotal role in a unique project to deliver essential water supplies by pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea to Northern Cyprus and a critical part of the project is the supply by Trelleborg Offshore of 132 giant buoyancy modules which will hold the pipeline in place.

The Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project, which is a world-first, will supply 19.8 million gallons a year of water for drinking and irrigation to Northern Cyprus from southern Turkey, via an 80-km long, 1.6-metre diameter pipeline which will be suspended at a depth of 250 metres below the water surface. It fell to Allseas to freight the key components, the 8 tonne buoys each measuring 3 metres in diameter and 3.6 metres in length, from Trelleborg’s manufacturing point in Skelmersdale to the project assembly site at the port of Taşucu, in Turkey.

In addition to the buoyancy modules, Allseas shipped 270 ancillary pieces known as bend restraints. These bend restraints provide a gradual stiffness to the connection between the pipeline and the buoyancy module ensuring that there is minimal fatigue, thus increasing the service life of this part in the project.

Allseas was charged with loading the buoys on trucks in Skelmersdale from where they were carried to Felixstowe and transhipped onto flatrack containers. After the sea transit the project forwarding specialist had the responsibility for unloading the flatracks at Mersin and attending to the Customs and port formalities before reloading each buoy back on trucks for carriage to Taşucu, where Allseas had pre booked cranes to offload the huge flotation units. Des Nott, Allseas Project Manager summed up the excitement only one of these truly unique shipments can engender, saying:

“This is an amazing and unique project and we are proud to be part of it. The challenges of lifting, securing and transporting these huge buoys are tremendous. For example, they are loaded end-to-end for the truck journey but side-by-side on the flatracks, so loading/unloading requires a 90-degree turn.”

With all the components safely delivered Ruth Clay, Trelleborg Offshore’s Marketing Communications Manager, said:

“This pipeline will run across one of the deepest parts of the Mediterranean – it will not be on the seabed like most pipelines, but held 250 metres below the surface. The buoys will keep the pipeline suspended deep enough so ships cannot hit it, but not on the seabed, where it could get damaged by debris. Hence the reliability and efficiency of the Trelleborg buoyancy modules are a key element of the project. Safe handling, planning and good communications have all been vital to keep the project running smoothly and we have been able to deliver exactly what was required.”

Trelleborg has also just issued its latest ‘Barometer Report’ in which it studies issues impacting ports and terminals around the globe, and the outlook it seems, generated by the opinions of those working in the trade, is very promising. The latest study presents the most optimistic outlook on investment since the annual industry survey began in 2010, with 93% of port owners and operators expecting capital expenditure budgets to increase over the next twelve months and 88% expecting operational expenditure budgets to grow too.

An overwhelming 98% of consultants and contractors also said they expect capital and operational expenditure budgets to increase. So, despite other challenges revealed by the report, the overall picture is optimistic. The report revealed that ports are under pressure to adapt quickly to increasingly complex demands on infrastructure. Of those surveyed, 40% don’t think current port infrastructure is adequate to keep up with the onward logistics requirements of increased vessel sizes and throughput, whilst 67% are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the expected increase in LNG bunkering, following implementation of the 2015 ECA regulations.

This suggests that facilities are already lagging behind the demands placed upon them, but they can ensure they don’t fall further behind by acting now to optimise new investment opportunities. The report is compiled by the Trelleborg Offshore & Construction marine operation, which calls on the views of 200 port owners, operators, consulting engineers and contractors and Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s Marine Operation, comments:

“Spending these increased budgets strategically is what will really help ports to increase efficiencies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment. The report revealed that, although optimism is returning, 61% of contractors and consultants feel their clients are concerned by upfront purchase costs, rather than prioritising whole life value.

“This attitude may have been understandable over the past few years, whilst we were suffering the effects of an economic downturn. However, with budgets expected to get a boost, attitudes towards procurement need to change accordingly, so that facilities don’t just waste more money on low quality solutions. More investment means the industry has the opportunity to get to grips with increasing and varied demand.

“As the market continues to strengthen, there’s an opportunity arising for those that can get ahead of demand and invest strategically now. Those that don’t will suffer as new, modern terminals multiply and others quickly upgrade. The response to LNG as a marine fuel is a perfect example of a market that is inert and reactionary, rather than bold and deliberate.”

Photo: Some of the buoys safely stowed for the sea voyage to Cyprus.