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REVIEW | ON THE OCEAN: PART ONE


PROJECT CARGO GATEWAYS


“Since the world is now experiencing unprecedented events, I expect the unexpected will be part of the near-term landscape.”


Andre Grikitis, Intermarine


The advent of containerisation revolutionised the role of the port in the logistics supply chain. Breakbulk gateways saw their traditional cargo base eroded as the mantra ‘that anything that can go in a container, will do so’ continued to ring true. The headline port and terminal investments have been directed towards box handling. However, over the last ten years, a number of ports have taken steps to attract project and heavy lift cargoes to their quays. As cargoes and projects increase in size and complexity,


widespread investment into heavy lift berths, warehousing and staging areas, cranes, lifting equipment, and IT systems have been common features of HLPFI’s coverage of the sector. Walter Seidl, marine terminals director at the Port of Everett,


to join GPO Grace in the coming years. Adkins also returned to the fray in 2014 with the launch of ZPMC-Red Box Energy Services, saying that the new company would “focus on high-value niche markets in the offshore and onshore energy services industry where high standards require capital, technical skill, operational capabilities, client focus, dedication to safety and environmental stewardship.” Meanwhile, Cosco Shipping Specialized Carriers Co has


continued to upgrade its fleet, with the launch of a number of newbuild module carriers over the past ten years, including what is claimed to be China’s largest semi-submersible ship, Xin Guang Hua. Te company reported that it now has eight semi-submersible ships, with loading capacities ranging from 20,000 to 100,000 tonnes and an average age of eight years. Heavy lift specialist and part of the Spliethoff Group, Big


Lift Shipping, made news in 2013 when it announced it was forming a joint venture with semi-submersible vessel operator RollDock Shipping, dubbed BigRoll, to operate newbuild module carriers.In another representation of the cyclical nature of the heavy lift shipping business, however, 2017 saw BigLift Shipping end its cooperation with RollDock and step away from the BigRoll joint venture. Speaking to HLPFI in 2009, Grikitis forecast: “Since the


world is now experiencing unprecedented events, I expect the unexpected will be part of the near-term landscape.” Tis has continued to ring true throughout the past


decade, and HLPFI expects that the unexpected will follow us long into the future. (See part two, which starts on p.54)


said that cargoes transiting its port are in a state of flux and always subject to change: “Heavy lift and project cargoes are very dependent on federal policy, global economic factors, the strength of US currency and the oil and gas industry. As any one of these items change, so does the mix of project cargoes coming through the port. There are a lot of things that are out of the Port of Everett’s control in terms of the types of heavy lift and project cargoes.” However, he added: “Infrastructure and cargo handling equipment has allowed us to easily adjust to changes in industry trends.” This flexibility is crucial to expedite the handling of the


various heavy lift and project cargoes we see being transported around the world today. In 2011, the port of Antwerp initiated a EUR1.6 billion (USD2.3 billion) modernisation and expansion plan. It continues to benefit from a huge number of vessel calls, and has the space to host large volumes of breakbulk cargoes. Rotterdam too has become an increasingly powerful presence on the European coastline. The rise of the wind energy industry has been a lucrative


source of work for heavy lift and breakbulk ports – particularly in northwest Europe, which has established itself as a hub for onshore and offshore wind energy developments. Handling cargo for the wind energy sector is one of the


many significant changes the Port of Vancouver USA has seen over the last decade, added Alastair Smith, chief marketing and sales officer for the gateway. “We were the first port [in the region] to invest in two heavy


lift cranes to satisfy the needs of the wind energy sector,” says Smith. “The competitive nature of the industry has led to other ports doing the same, increasing competition over the last couple of years.” He said the growth of the renewable industry was supported heavily by renewable energy tax credits. The oil and gas industry has been a longstanding source of


project cargoes. The emergence of the US shale sector, and the subsequent strength of the downstream petrochemical business, led to healthy investment in port facilities on the US Gulf and East coasts. Meanwhile, the oil and gas decommissioning industry has


been long-touted as a potential growth market for the heavy lift and project logistics sector – particularly at mature fields such as those in the North Sea. In an attempt to secure this decommissioning work, European ports have invested heavily. The Middle East’s burgeoning economic development has


also fuelled major port developments, with the growth of Oman’s Sohar Port and the first project cargo handled by the country’s new Port of Duqm in April 2012.


26 | HLPFI10


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