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Blue Innovation – Autonomous shipping – the maritime industry of the future?

Blue Innovation – Autonomous shipping – the maritime industry of the future?

One of the more controversial topics in shipping is the emergence of autonomous vessels. The feasibility of these new arrivals to the maritime field is today still quite controversial among the majority of industry experts. Nevertheless, what is certain is that, despite the uncertainty and the many sceptics, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) does not disregard these new technological alternative initiatives and continues the debate and establish a methodology for conducting trials and develop a road map to consider the projects and investments of several leading companies of the sector.

The legal framework

The viability of applying these technologies is subject to legal limitations of the sector. Since 2018 the IMO has taken the first steps to address the issue of autonomous vessels, taking into account the interests of the industry in MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships). Initially the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) approved a framework for a regulatory scope exercise, in which a work plan and preliminary steps of autonomy have been established to create a methodology that can regulate the insertion of the operability of this activity.

Alongside the discussion of the feasibility of these operations, which can be very extensive, in this blog of Blue Innovation we want to comment on the technological advances that are currently under way and consider the initiatives of different companies that are beginning to develop these technologies.

Technological framework

When thinking about autonomous shipping operations, companies and governments alike need to take in account various considerations before implementing the technologies. Land based control centres, satellites capable of tracking the positions and progress of these vessels, sensor systems, collision prevention technologies, security concerns and environmental protections are only some that would need to be addressed before maritime autonomy becomes viable. It would also be unwise not to take into consideration the “twin” of MASS – autonomous mooring systems which require sensors and automated systems not only for vessel operations but also for shorter operations in the ports of call.

What follows is a brief summary of some of the leading projects currently in development that aim to tackle these and other issues, and thus pave the way towards shipping of the future:

  • 2016: the creation of One Sea, a global conglomerate of maritime partners that joined together to lead research co-creation of high-profile ecosystems with a primary aim to create an operating autonomous maritime ecosystem by 2025. Partners as Wärtsilä, ABB, Inmarsat, Ericson, Monohakobi T.I., Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA), Shipbroakers Finland and others are working together to combine top research to “create an environment suitable for autonomous ships by 2025”.

https://www.oneseaecosystem.net/about/

 

  • May 2017: Yara company joined DNV, Shipyards Vard and Kongsberg to build MV Yara Birkeland, an 80 mts, 120 TEUs and max 10kns vessel that aims to cover a logistic need of the Yara Group and seeks to eliminate 40,000 annual truck trips by road by substituting them with maritime routes of this new vessel. In addition to being autonomous, the vessel also follows a zero-emission plan with azimuthal electric engines and a closed ballast system, equipped with sensor technology, control algorithms, communication data and connectivity that will be interlinked with the operations of its automated terminal. The idea is to start manned operations in 2020 and then, with the help of Kongsberg’s technology, gradually move to an unmanned vessel by 2022. An automated mooring system is under development by the MacGregor group and, to provide additional support to terminal operations, the Kalmar group is working on the incorporation of Automated Crane Technology (AutoRMG) that will complement the integration of zero-emission operations during the vessel’s operations in port.

https://www.yara.com/knowledge-grows/game-changer-for-the-environment/

 

 

Source: http://hugin.info/134793/R/2210941/860932.jpg

 

  • January 2018: Rolls-Royce opened the first Research & Development Centre for Autonomous Vessels. This materialized the digitization of the maritime sector with a focus on autonomous navigation and the use of artificial intelligence for the operations of unmanned ships.

https://www.rolls-royce.com/media/press-releases/2018/25-01-2018-rr-opens-autonomous-ship-research-and-development-centre-in-finland.aspx

 

  • April 2018: Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg joined forces to create the first company dedicated to the development of autonomous ship operations. The company Massterly seeks to establish infrastructures and design support services for the operations of autonomous vessels and lead the land-based control centres that will make monitoring of the operations of the vessels at sea and in ports possible. Massterly was created in Norway to support the Yara project and has Kongsberg’s experience in the technology sector and Wilhelmsen’s experience in maritime services and logistics behind it.

https://www.wilhelmsen.com/media-news-and-events/press-releases/2018/wilhelmsen-and-kongsberg-establish-worlds-first-autonomous-shipping-company/

 

  • August 2018: DNV published a Paper focused on Remote-Controlled and Autonomous Vessels in which it summarised the current situation, the operational changes in terms of navigation and other functions, regulations and motivations for implementation, and the ethical and social implications of such technologies.

https://www.dnvgl.com/maritime/publications/remote-controlled-autonomous-ships-paper-download.html

 

  • In December 2018: Finferries and Rolls-Royce publicly exposed the operational tests of the 53.8m Falco ro-ro ferry, which is adapted with sensors interconnected with artificial intelligence that contain anti-collision technologies and an autodocking system which is monitored from a ground control centre 50km from the city of Turku.

https://www.finferries.fi/en/news/press-releases/finferries-falco-worlds-first-fully-autonomous-ferry.html

 

Source: https://www.vesselfinder.com/news/14008-Rolls-Royce-and-Finferries-demonstrate-worlds-first-Fully-Autonomous-Ferry

  • December 2018: That same month, Samskip led an initiative called “Seashuttle” of an autonomous Short Sea Shipping vessel, propelled with hydrogen through the use of electrolysis, with the goal of creating more sustainable shipping alternatives. The operations route aims to cover the regular line between Poland and Norway and is supplied in maritime technologies by Kongsberg Maritime; by Hyon in the implementation of hydrogen technologies; and by Massterly in terms of operational MASS.

http://www.samskipmultimodal.com/news/press-release-1

 

The difficult steps in establishing legal precedents and frameworks to ensure the safe and efficient operations of MASS still lie ahead of us. Similarly, cyber security is still a broad field that requires detailed and extensive investigations before safe passage at sea for MASS vessels are possible. The road ahead is long and arduous, but the companies that have joined these projects have taken the first steps towards developing the technologies that will make suitable adaptations possible and thus make unmanned vessels a reality.

 

Written by:

  • Vanessa Bexiga, Operations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

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Barcelona to host the 1st World Edition of Startup Weekend focused on the logistics and maritime world

Barcelona will host the 1st World Edition of Startup Weekend focused on the logistics and maritime world, with the support of Google for Entrepreneurs and Techstars bringing together entrepreneurs to solve the major challenges of the sector.

This event will be held during the next weekend of May 17, 18 and 19 at the new facilities of OneCowork. This edition will have the collaboration of different companies and institutions of the logistics sector.

Encouraging entrepreneurship, disrupting the logistics sector and solving major challenges are the goals that this edition of Startup Weekend Barcelona aims to achieve with its new Maritime & Blue Logistics edition in May 2019.

It is expected to bring together the 100 entrepreneurs of different profiles. Businesses, developers, designers and technicians of the logistics sector with business ideas that revolutionise the logistics sector as we know it today, networking and sharing experiences.

On Friday, May 17th, participant will present their business ideas and then the most promising ones will be selected. The objective during the weekend is to work in the business model with countless partners and specialist mentors from the sector to learn, inspire and discover new solutions.

About Techstars Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend ™ is a 54-hour event, in which groups made up of different professional profiles such as developers, business, entrepreneurship enthusiasts, designers and, in this edition, specialists in the logistics sector will be challenged to move from an idea to a product  or business. The teams will work throughout the weekend collaborating to achieve a viable minimum product to submit to the verdict of the jury, composed of executives and specialists in the logistics sector.

Startup Weekend was born in 2007 and by 2016 it has grown to have a global presence. In December 2016, Startup Weekend reached a presence in 140 countries, and more than 1100 cities, involving more than 234,000 enterprising participants. Startup Weekend is a program of Techstars Startup Programs, along with Startup Week and Startup Digest.

Founded in July 2007 in Boulder, Colorado by Andrew Hyde, Startup Weekend brought together 70 entrepreneurs to try to start a startup in just 54 hours. The model quickly expanded to other cities around the world. In 2010, Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen took full ownership and registered the non-profit organisation, moving to Seattle. After the acquisition, Startup Weekend would organize 80 events in the United States, Canada, England and Germany. In December 2010, the organisation had 8 full-time employees, more than 15 facilitators and more than 100 local organizers. In 2016, Startup Weekend is in more than 1000 cities around the world. Startup Weekend is an initiative created by Techstars and has the support of Google for Entrepreneurs .

Important startups have come out of this initiative, which today are consolidated companies such as: Zapier , Foodspotting , Hydrate or Haiku Deck

Maritime & Blue Logistics

We premiered with an event where we expect 100 participants and a team of mentors that will turn this edition into a unique opportunity to update, undertake, network and have fun. The event will be in English and it is expected to obtain an important attendance of both international and local entrepreneurs. For this edition, we have great sponsors, partners and companies that are betting on this initiative such as the logistics company Grupo Romeu , the company accelerator Founder Institute, Marinel-lo Abogados , design agency Jaimitos , ATEIA , Portic , Kantox and the Port of Barcelona .

For more information you can go to : www.startupweekendbarcelona.com

The Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport is collaborating in this event, and as such it can offer a discount of 25% to our students and visitors to our website. To take advantage of this discount, click HERE

Mediterranean ECA bid needs Spain’s support

Barcelona City Council has backed an initiative to establish an Emission Control Area (ECA) in the Mediterranean Sea (Med-ECA) to limit air pollution produced by ships and is urging the Spanish Government to support the cause.

Alianza Mar Blava, Transport & Environment, Ecologistas en Acción of Catalonia and Plataforma por la Calidad del Aire have congratulated Barcelona City Council for subscribing to the initiative led by the CleanCruiseNetwork alliance.

The initiative calls for the Spanish Government to actively support the creation, as soon as possible, of a Med-ECA covering all major air pollutants, such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides, but also particles and black carbon, to support efforts in this direction initiated by France and other coastal states of the Mediterranean.

EU coordination

Spain is also being asked to coordinate with the European Commission, with France and the rest of member states of the European Union (EU), as well as with non-EU coastal states, to ensure the creation of said Mediterranean ECA and, subsequently, once created, to support the implementation of a cooperative cross-border management of the same.

Additionally, it is being asked to urgently implement the relevant measures in the Ports of the State to ensure the reduction of emissions from ships, forcing them, once they are docked, to connect to the electricity grid for daily operation, among other measures.

The establishment of a regulatory framework for ECAs in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the English Channel has led to immediate improvements in air quality of up to 50% since 2015 and associated socio-economic benefits valued in billions of euros.

Source: Maritime Journal

The Evolution of Maritime Blockchain

The market for blockchain-based solutions, especially with regard to container shipping and the global supply chain, has become highly competitive.

This PTI Insight will explore the range of options available to businesses operating within the maritime sector, and how industry leaders are staking their own claim in the quest for an optimal platform to transfer documentation, data, and ultimately reconfigure trading practices themselves.

An Overview

While Maersk and IBM’sTradeLens platform has garnered the most headlines in recent months, promising to deliver more efficient and secure global trade, major companies are not the only players dictating the progress of the technological development.

Start-up organisations, such as CargoX, are providing neutral solutions for businesses of any size, allowing shippers, freight-forwarders and logistics companies to benefit from the more reliable and trustworthy trade networks facilitated by blockchain.

Leading ports and terminals, which play a pivotal role in the global supply chain, are also joining the wave of new companies integrating blockchain into their business operations.

This includes the Port of Veracruz in Mexico, which is inaugurating a blockchain project to improve the safety and security of freight transportation. It is not the only centre of trade taking this step.

The Major Players

It is not surprising that the most prominent members of the shipping community want to shape the future of the industry.

The aforementioned Maersk and IBM clearly harbour an intention to lead the way on blockchain. Not only has Maersk secured the cooperation of 94 ‘early adopters’, but 234 marine gateways around the world have also agreed to use the platform, which will offer real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data.

Although this solution has received massive support, other leading carriers, terminal operators and supply chain specialists have shown they are prepared to challenge the status quo.

In November 2018, news of a nine-party consortium to develop blockchain, including COSCO, CMA CGM, DP World and PSA International, emerged from Shanghai.

While this assembly of companies has not yet formulated a product to contend with the TradeLens service, such a powerful union of influential maritime leaders could represent the first serious challenge to Maersk and IBM’s potential blockchain dominance.

A Start-Up Challenger

Despite the sheer scale of Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens initiative, and the possible implications of a multi-party blockchain consortium, there are companies independent of those major players attempting to secure their position in the blockchain marketplace.

One of those businesses is CargoX, a Slovenia-based company specializing in the ‘Smart Bill of Lading’. In November 2018, it officially launched the Smart B/L platform, which is described as “the first open and neutral blockchain platform in the shipping industry for real-world commercial use”.

CargoX has emphasized the difference between its platform and TradeLens, which “relies on a private blockchain infrastructure” that is “much more prone to manipulation”.

As for a nine-party blockchain consortium, CargoX has suggested that “decision-making processes” could “run much slower than expected”.

So what are the benefits of an alternative platform like Smart B/L? According to CargoX, which highlights how “the real-time market is becoming more and more dynamic”, its own blockchain service is “simple to use” and can be adapted to “virtually any workflow or process”.

The company, a prominent member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), has also offered a vision of the future: “In five to ten years, most maritime shipping documentation will be provided through blockchain technology, just like people switched from sending paper letters to sending email for important, business-critical messaging”.

Ports and Blockchain

As the future of logistics and trade curves towards the digital, including the rising prominence of blockchain platforms, ports and terminals are aiming to adapt to this new landscape.

For many of these vital supply chain nodes, Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens has proven the most attractive proposition, with Valenciaport, the Port of Montreal and multiple APM Terminals locations recently connecting to the solution.

According to Valenciaport, “the developers of TradeLens have indicated that the information contained in this system grows at the rate of one million daily data shipments”, underlining the vast distribution capabilities of the service.

On the other hand, some ports are taking it upon themselves to develop viable blockchain solutions.

Working alongside Samsung SDS and ABN AMRO, the Port of Rotterdam is trying to leverage blockchain technology to boost transparency and efficiency.

A pilot project, set to commence in January 2019, involves the multi-modal transport of a container from a factory in Asia to the Netherlands, testing the three companies’ cooperative network and forming the basis for “an open, independent and global platform that operates from the perspective of shippers”.

Emphasising the importance of collaboration, Sanghun Lee of Samsung SDS revealed that “for the first time in the rather short history of this technology, we can have different blockchains operating together”.

Future Developments

As Nadia Hewett of the World Economic Forum suggested at PTI’s recent Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies Conference (SPSCT) 2018, “blockchain within the supply chain is a solution still managed by IT teams”. So why must the rest of the industry become more aware of this technology?

Oliver Haines, Vice President of BiTA Europe, has revealed that “widespread adoption will not be driven by one or two platforms alone no matter how big the companies involved are, particularly with the industry being so fragmented”.

Instead, as Haines asserts, the industry must collaborate to “drive forward standards and best practices which will, in turn, maximise benefits.”

BiTA, the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, has also expressed its delight that “major international shipping companies” are deciding to leverage blockchain technology as an essential part of their logistics operations, although the speed of progress remains uncertain.

Whether a uniform solution develops sooner or later, Haines predicts that “the market will go through significant changes”, bringing about “more transparency, trust and efficiency than ever before.”

Source: Port Technology

IMO Toolkits to Tackle Maritime Emissions

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published a new set of toolkits for shippers and ports, to assess ways of reducing emissions across the maritime sector.

The Ship Emissions Toolkit and Port Emissions Toolkit have been developed under the Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project, the IMO working in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

Astrid Dispert, GloMEEP Technical Adviser, has stated that the new guides will help countries seeking to develop and strengthen regulatory frameworks related to the prevention of air pollution, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Dispert said: “Both the ship and port emission toolkits provide practical guidance on assessing emissions so that a national emission reduction strategy for the maritime sector can be developed.

“The GloMEEP guides provide a wealth of information on assessment techniques and how to develop a national strategy, as well as links to further practical guidance.”

According to a statement, both toolkits have been developed through extensive testing and feedback, gathered from their practical use during national and regional training activities.

Both toolkits feature decision support tools for evaluating emissions reduction opportunities, including guidance for conducting a rapid assessment that generates both quantitative and qualitative information.

Dispert added: “Ports and shipping are intrinsically linked – as such, efforts to reduce maritime emissions need to extend beyond seagoing ships alone.

“IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI regulations on air pollution and energy efficiency are aimed at ships, but it is clear that for port emissions to be reduced, national authorities need to consider emissions from all sources, including cargo handling equipment, trucks – as well as domestic vessels.”

Source: Port Technology

Barcelona, the gate to Europe and the Mediterranean

The Port of Barcelona will lead, from 9th until 17th November, a trade mission to Viet Nam. The delegation, integrated of companies importing and exporting, logistics and port will visit two major cities: the capital, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Min, which concentrates the largest commercial activity in the country.

Viet Nam was chosen by the port community of Barcelona for being considered as a strategic market, in addition for being the country that presents the greatest growth of Southeast Asia, and the second of all far East. It is seen by these companies as a stable country that is developing an ambitious reform plan to promote the internationalization of its economy.

Strategic location, productivity, quality and connectivity

Barcelona is presented to Vietnamese companies as the South Gate to access the European market and the platform of distribution for the Mediterranean and North Africa. It is the capital of Catalunya, the most dynamic region of Spain and one of the four industrial engines of Europe. Its economy, which presents a high degree of openness, represents 20% of the whole of the State, while exports exceeded 30% of the Spanish total.

El Port de Barcelona, which currently offers 5 regular maritime lines that connect it with 18 Vietnamese ports, offers a complete range of logistics solutions and reliable transport of importers and exporters highly competitive. It is of one of the ports with the highest productivity in Europe, technologically advanced and with an excellent quality of service. Likewise, has an excellent maritime connectivity, interoceanic lines of high capacity with America and Asia, and daily services of short sea shipping to Italy and North Africa. The Port – located just 160 kilometers from the French border- also has regular rail services to the Iberian Peninsula and Europe and offers customers complete logistic services prepared for serve any kind of merchandise and transport.

This commitment to quality and efficiency has led to position itself as the European port with a higher growth of traffic in the year 2017, with 61 million tons (+ 26%) and 3 million TEU (+ 32.3%). Traffic between the Port of Barcelona and Vietnamese ports also has had an excellent evolution: On year 2017, the container traffic of Catalan infrastructure with origin or destination in Viet Nam outpointed the 27,300 TEU, which is an increase of 19% over the previous year. With regard to the volume of tons, trade amounted last year to 362.412 tons, an increase of 18.5%. This positive trend is being maintained in early 2018 and, between January and June, container traffic between the Port of Barcelona and Viet Nam has increased 34%.

Catalan Viet Nam exports increased in 2017 for the third consecutive year to exceed 121 million euros, 27.3% more than the previous year. Coffee, machinery, textiles, food and furniture are among the main goods exchanged between Barcelona and Viet Nam.

Business mission of the Port of Barcelona: a model of success

Viet Nam welcomes the 20th mission business of the Port of Barcelona, which has been organized with the collaboration of the Generalitat de Catalunya, VOCI, Foment de Treball Nacional, PIMEC, Casa Asia, the Institute of foreign trade of Spain, the Embassy of Viet Nam in Spain and VISABA. In this edition, the Catalan delegation will be chaired by the Minister for territory and sustainability (Minister of infrastructures), Damià Calvet and the President of the Port of Barcelona, Mercè Conesa.

The missions aimed at strengthening business and institutional links between the port and logistics communities of Barcelona and of the receiving countries, generating new business opportunities and contributing to the internationalization of their economies.

In both cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, business meetings will be celebrated. In addition, a technical seminar of customs will be held in Ho Chi Minh, which has been particularly valued by participants in previous missions.

The technical seminar of customs, which will count with the participation of representatives of entities linked to the port-logistics sector and of responsible for the customs services of both countries, will deal with those innovations that can improve the customs management in the Port of Barcelona – the figure of the economic authorized operator, the expansion of the functions customs related, telematization of document processes, etc.- and the specificities of the customs system of Viet Nam.

Subsequently, the participants will benefit from an agenda of bilateral contacts aimed at the development of new business.

Nineteen previous editions, which have visited countries of America, Asia and Africa, have been particularly valued by participants since they have generated significant growth in traffic and they have been the starting point for various Professional and Institutional collaborations that have been consolidated over the following years.

Custom contacts agendas

The Organization of the mission offers Vietnamese companies the possibility of preparing a personalized agenda of contacts, in accordance with their interests and objectives, to facilitate the detection of counterparts and business development. These agendas are being prepared by the ICEX – Office for economic and commercial of the Embassy of Spain in Viet Nam.

Source: Port de Barcelona News

Sustainability and digital transformation – future challenges for Spanish shipping companies

Spanish ship owners live a moment of technological transformation and digitalization, dependent on the impact of environmental regulations on their activities.

The environmental sustainability of logistics chains has become a key factor for logistics management in all of its business segments.

For maritime transport, in particular, during the last months there has been a regulatory avalanche in this regard that has placed sustainability in the foreground. This was seem through the ballast water agreement or the reduction of sulfur content in marine fuels, as well as through the new CO2 reduction targets.

In this sense, as Alejandro Aznar, the president of the Spanish Association of Shipping Lines – Anave, said in the general assembly of the association that took place this week in Madrid: “The contribution of maritime transport to the sustainability of the world economy will be extraordinary.”

Maritime transport, as indicated by the president of the Spanish shipping companies, who was re-elected for a second term of three years as the head of Anave, is a sector “subject to a market and globalized regulations that force it to make huge investments.”

Precisely in this context, the sector claims that the rules for the reduction of polluting emissions that will be adopted “should take into account their possible side effects in other areas”, as, according to Aznar, is the case of the short sea shipping traffic, which, in his opinion, “if not given special treatment, it is very likely that the imposition of harsh measures may result in the transfer of charges from the maritime mode to the road, which then would result, in reality, in increasing emissions “.

Similarly, the president also insisted on the proposals that Anave has been making year after year to strengthen the competitiveness of vessels navigating under the Spanish flag and that follow the lines marked in this area by the recent experiences of the Madeira registry and of Denmark.

Aznar also highlighted that in 2017 the Spanish control merchant fleet increased by four units and by 1.1% in its tonnage, a slight growth that contrasts with the strong increase registered in the first months of 2018, when according to their data, the Spanish shipowners have received two new LNG tankers, a Suezmax tanker and a passenger ship.

In addition, 18 orders for eight different shipowners totaling almost 800,000 GT and worth 1,300 million euros remain in the order book for the coming months.

In the same sense, Anastasios Papagiannopoulos, president of Bimco who was present at the Anave assembly, stressed the digital transformation and the need to standardize the exchange of documentation at a global level within the framework of a sector that evolves to the future challenges in terms of activity, but whose most prominent risk is that of overcapacity.

In this sense, the president of Bimco estimated that the demand for maritime transport of petroleum products will have a better performance in the second half of 2018, without reaching positive figures, while the solid bulk segment already shows clear signs of recovery on the international scene.

Finally, at the Anave assembly, the Carus Excellence Award 2018 was presented to Antonio Armas, president and CEO of Naviera Armas, for his contribution to the maritime transport sector of travelers and merchandise.

Source: Cadena de Suministro

Southern Europe is close to the goal of moving 40% of container traffic

The historic gap with the northern ports begins to fade.

The ports of Southern Europe are moving towards a rebalancing of traffic with Northern Europe. The old aspiration of the main ports of the Mediterranean to reach the quota of 40% of the European maritime market is still distant in terms of total traffic, but it took a major a step forward in the container market. The index of the 25 European ports with the most movements in TEUs in 2017 has 14 enclaves from the South of the continent, which account for up to 36% of container traffic. A significant percentage if we assess that three years earlier this percentage was only 25%.

The same analysis of the evolution of the total port traffic dilutes the contribution of the southern ports to a percentage lower than 30%. At the same time, the number of ports of this facade in the ranking of the top 25 of the continent is limited to ten. Regardless, the index also shows a positive evolution in the South of Europe, as the first 15 ports show a growth of 4.3% in 2017, almost double that of the 15 largest ports in the North, which showed a 2.3% increase.

Despite this, this growing trend of southern European ports coincides in a context of growth for the giants that make up the axis from Le Havre to Hamburg, historical leaders of maritime traffic on the continent. Rotterdam continues to increase its dominance in the European ranking, with a growth of 11% in 2017 in the container segment, reaching 13.7 million TEUs moved through its docks; while Antwerp achieved a 4.1% growth in 2017, with 10.4 million TEUs.

Hamburg was the exception, losing 1% of traffic, with 8.8 million TEUs; while Bremen achieved a slight increase of 0.9% by processing 5.5 million containers last year.

After these first four positions, European container traffic moved to Spain, which in 2017 holds three enclaves within the continent’s elite. The results at the end of the year show that the port of Barcelona joins Valencia and Algeciras in the European top 10, after registering a spectacular growth of 32.2% in number of TEUs transported in 2017, the largest percentage increase of the entire European port system with almost three million units. The Catalan enclave recovers the position that it occupied in 2007, before the economic recession, and now the number of moved TEUs is almost 14% higher than that registered that year.

For its part, Valencia increased its traffic by 2.1%, to 4.8 million TEUs, and snatched the fifth place from Algeciras, with 4.3 million TEUs and a sharp decline of 7.9%, due, among other factors, to the stowage conflict, which affected the Andalusian port more than other Spanish enclosures. It also highlights the growth experienced by another Mediterranean port, the Greek port of Piraeus, which transported more containers than in 2016, grew a 10.5%, and surpassed the figure of four million containers.

More growth in the Mediterranean

Expectations for 2018 also point to the fact that this growth will continue in the ports of Southern Europe, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report prepared by Hackett Associates. According to the forecasts offered by this maritime consultant, in 2018 there will be an increase of 6.2% in total imports to Europe, with 25.7 million TEUs. Specifically, it expects Northern Europe to increase its traffic by 5.6%, to 16.06 million TEUs, while pointing out that the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region will achieve a rebound of 7.2%, with a prediction of 9.64 million containers.

For its part, the forecast of exports made by Hackett Associates for the year 2018 projects an increase of 5.8% for Europe, with a total of 22.11 million TEUs, with Northern Europe increasing by 3.7%, reaching 13.66 million containers; while the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions will achieve an increase of 9.4%, transporting up to 8.44 million units.

Overall, according to the calculations offered by the consultancy, the Northern ports would accumulate a total volume of 29.7 million containers in 2018, reducing their quota to 62.1%; while the southern enclaves of the continent are expected to achieve a total of 18 million TEUs, increasing their participation to 37.9%, which would confirm the upward trend of the growth of these ports in recent years.

Hacket Associates’s report places the port of Hamburg as the main victim throughout 2018, “affected by the reduction in transshipment services to the Baltic and the fierce competition of Rotterdam.”

Source: El Vigía