Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Vacuum Mooring Solution Touted as a Faster Successor to Ropes and Chains

Traditional Docking Undergoes a Rethink and Cuts Port Emissions
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – WORLDWIDE – Cavotec, a manufacturer of connection and electrification solutions for the maritime industry, has revealed the latest edition of its automated vacuum mooring solution which it claims will revolutionise the way ships enter and leave ports, mooring in as little as 30 seconds to drastically reduce docking times. The system is to be used to moor the latest generation of autonomous electric vessels in Norway.

The Lugano headquartered group has trade marked the MoorMaster™NxG system in the EU, USA, Canada, Brazil, India, New Zealand, Australia and Norway, as well as obtaining international WIPO registration saying that the system of anchoring ships in port using ropes and chains, unchanged since the dawn of sailing and often taking up to one hour, is set for a radical overhaul, enabling shipping companies to make every minute of their journey matter.

ASKO Maritime, the shipping arm of Norway’s largest grocery chain, will benefit from MoorMaster NxG in its Oslo Fjord operations where the fully electric ships will sail autonomously from port to port thereby replacing two million kilometres of truck transport, saving 5,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. Last month ASKO signed a deal with Massterly, the joint venture between Kongsberg and Wilhelmsen set up two years ago to operate the autonomous vessels.

The pair agreed to fit out two RoRo ships for full autonomy to operate in the Norwegian Oslo Fjord to link ASKO warehouses and distribution centre on opposite sides of the water, something for which the retailer currently employs a large part of its 800 strong truck fleet. Kai Just Olsen, ASKO Maritime CEO, commented:

“The MoorMaster system will save us huge amounts of energy and is a key enabler of autonomous operations. Since we won’t need to use the powerful bow and side thrusters in port, our electric vessels will use less energy and also extend the battery lifetime. The MoorMaster technology is perfect to complement our new ships, using modern technology for a futuristic fleet.”

The makers point out shorter turn-around times mean more time cruising at lower speeds for lower fuel consumption and a greener, cleaner world. Fast, hands-free mooring enables ports to increase productivity while also reducing emissions and keeping employees safer. Mikael Norin, Cavotec CEO, says:

“As the inventors of vacuum mooring, we’ve used every minute of data from 20 years’ service to redesign MoorMaster from the ground up, to deliver faster, smarter installation, improved performance, continuous monitoring and easier maintenance. All in a unit with a smaller more streamlined footprint and an aesthetically pleasing design.

“These are qualities that ASKO Maritime have seen as crucial when they are planning the introduction of the world’s first autonomous, zero emissions vessels. We are very proud of having been selected as a key partner to ASKO.

“In the next ten years, with the introduction of smart shipping technology, we could finally see the end of the slow and dangerous use of ropes and chains at dockside. A modern shipping industry needs a mooring solution that meets and exceeds its high expectations of productivity and reduced environmental footprint at docks around the world.”

Cavotec claims with conventional vessels, MoorMaster can reduce the level of harmful emissions by as much as 98% during mooring leading to a healthier environment for port employees and nearby communities. MoorMaster NxG comes with patented Active Control™ technology and uses a proprietary software algorithm to eliminate vessel motion while also drastically increasing system lifetime.

For ports, this leads to increased loading/offloading productivity and enables future use cases such as fully automated ship-to-shore cranes. With continuous recording of operational data, the advent of artificial intelligence is set to further improve MoorMaster NxG with every software update and every minute of operations at all sites worldwide.