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INSIGHT & EXCLUSIVE: NUS creates ‘digital twin’ of Singapore’s next gen port

The team behind NUS’ Centre of Excellence for Modelling and Simulation of Next Generation Port speaks with Manifold Times on designing Singapore’s Tuas mega port.

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Today (Friday) marks the signing of an agreement between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) to establish the Centre of Excellence in Modelling and Simulation for Next Generation Port (C4NGP), a new SGD $18 million ($13.21 million) research centre located at NUS for enhancing the global competitiveness of Singapore’s maritime and port industries.
 
Tucked within C4NGP is research done by a team led by Associate Professor Chew Ek Peng and Associate Professor Lee Loo Hay from the NUS Department of Industrial Systems Engineering & Management to create the O2DES.NET (open-orientated discrete event simulation) platform, also simply known as the ‘digital twin’, for various maritime systems including the future 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) capacity Tuas mega port.
 
The Tuas mega port is a major milestone in Singapore’s next generation container terminal project that is scheduled to open progressively from 2021 for completion in 2040; it combines all city terminals at Tanjong Pagar, Pasir Panjang, Keppel and Brani into a mega maritime complex.
 
The ‘digital twin’ project is able to transport the physical realm of the Tuas mega port into the digital world; it combines the artificial intelligence and simulation aspect of port operations components (e.g. automated guided vehicles (AGVs), port cranes, container movement, maritime traffic, etc) to create a virtual sandbox environment for running simulation models.
 
Professor Lee believes these simulations will offer PSA International, Jurong Port and other stakeholder companies of the Tuas mega port project a glimpse to forecast the efficiency of operational events even before construction.
 
“Imagine a crystal ball which allows you to see events unfolding,” he says while adding “it is like a scientific tool which commercial users can consult to make an educated guess before committing huge money.”
 
“Singapore’s Tuas mega port is going to be the biggest in the world and nothing of this scale has ever been done before. The challenge is not only building it, but also making sure the design of the whole port itself promotes effective operations.
 
“The volume of 65 million TEUs is going to introduce huge traffic in the terminal that will be complicated to handle; if you do not control the operational decisions and handling sequences wisely the capacity of the port will fall far below the projected capacity.
 
“Singapore, being a transhipment port, also means an incoming containership will likely contain boxes which has to be further processed and transhipped over 200 destinations, and with each finger at the Tuas port being a few kilometres long all AGVs will need to operate and transport their containers like clockwork to meet transfers on time.
 
“The massive amount of automation by AGVs means much work has to be done to fine tune the system’s artificial intelligence; a smart algorithm also needs to be developed to control how many AGVs simultaneously operates as we will see congestion with too many and a backlog if too few units operating.
 
“The simulations provided by our ‘digital twin’ project of the Tuas mega port will be able to help stakeholders make decisions on the mentioned and more.”
 
Other uses for the ‘digital twin’ simulation platform include the analysis of navigational channel capacity studies for developing systems to simulate and optimise incoming and outgoing marine traffic; the examination of land transport-related systems such as port gateway design systems and analysis of inter-terminal traffic movement between port terminals; automated guided vehicle optimisation, scheduling and charging strategies; container yard storage management strategies; and analysis of future port systems.
 
“There is none other like this in the world; the rest are simply simulation models, whereas NUS’ ‘digital twin’ model integrates advanced analytics and optimisations for arriving at conclusions to help stakeholders make commercial decisions,” highlights Professor Lee.
 
“Ours even allow adjustment of five hierarchical levels of detail, depending on user requirement, taking into account all the way down to the equipment component level.
 
“It is essentially a virtual sandbox image of the physical operations.
 
“In the long run, what we aim is to fully integrate the physical and digital aspects of the port operations at Tuas mega port by getting real time data from the physical world for feedback to the digital world so that both systems have mutual learning capabilities.”

C4NGP is part of the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) developed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in partnership with the industry, unions and other government agencies to grow the sector’s value-add by SGD $4.5 billion and create more than 5,000 jobs by 2025.

As part of efforts to enhance productivity and innovation, Singapore is investing in new port capabilities that capitalise on emerging technologies to allow Tuas mega port to harnesses data analytics to optimise operations such as just-in-time vessel arrivals and the Maritime Single Window for quicker port clearance.

The AGVs have been introduced under a MPA-PSA Port Technology Research and Development Programme (PTRDP) to jointly step up R&D and capability developments in the areas of digitalisation, connected community systems as well as automation and robotics.

A fleet of 30 AGVs have been deployed in a trial with automated yard cranes and quay cranes in the Pasir Panjang Terminal.  Deployment of such automated systems are expected to be scaled up in the Tuas mega port. 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 29 June, 2018

 

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Alternative Fuels

Specs Corporation to be official Auramarine sales rep for fuel supply units in South Korea

This includes its conventional systems, as well as its specialist solutions for methanol and ammonia bunker fuels, and will be applicable for newbuildings, retrofits, commissioning and maintenance services.

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Auramarine, provider of marine fuel supply systems, on Wednesday (15 April) has announced that it has signed a representative agreement with Specs Corporation Ltd., a Korean marine equipment and services provider. 

The firm said the strategic partnership underscores Auramarine’s commitment to delivering solutions to the maritime sector and strengthens the company’s presence in the South Korean market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Specs Corporation will serve as an official Auramarine sales representative for its fuel supply units. This includes its conventional systems, as well as its specialist solutions for methanol and ammonia, and will be applicable for newbuildings, retrofits, commissioning and maintenance services. 

The collaboration will enable Auramarine to leverage Specs Corporation’s extensive network and expertise in providing services to South Korean shipyards, engine manufacturers and ship owners.

John Bergman, CEO of Auramarine, said: “We are delighted to embark on this journey with Specs Corporation as our trusted partner in the important South Korean market.”

“They have been serving engine manufacturers for a long time, have close and collaborative relationships with shipowners and shipyards and a deep knowledge of exactly what is required from fuel supply systems.”

“Importantly, Spec’s established reputation and forward-thinking vision align seamlessly with our own, making them an ideal partner.”

Mr. Leeman Lee, President of Specs Corporation Ltd, also said: “Spec Corporation’s mission is based on providing superior performance, service, and solutions to ensure customer satisfaction.”

“We are delighted to welcome Auramarine to our portfolio of market-leading technologies.”

“We both share the drive to be a part of the energy transition within the industry and this collaboration, which includes fuel supply systems for methanol and ammonia, represents a clear step forward in our commitment to offering cutting-edge solutions to the South Korean maritime industry that drive increased sustainability.” 

Photo credit: Auramarine
Published: 16 May 2024

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Wind-assisted

Exclusive: Anemoi lays out financial and environmental benefits of Rotor Sails

UK-based Anemoi shared with Manifold Times financial benefits from reduced bunker fuel consumption when utilising wind-propulsion technology and its long-term environmental benefits.

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Exclusive: Anemoi lays out financial and environmental benefits of Rotor Sails

Anemoi Marine Technologies, a UK-based Rotor Sail developer, wrote an exclusive editorial contribution for Singapore-based bunkering publication Manifold Times exploring the financial benefits from reduced bunker fuel consumption when utilising wind-propulsion technology while also highlighting the long-term environmental benefits of the technology for ship owners: 

As the global shipping industry ramps up decarbonisation efforts, modern cargo vessels are striving for energy efficiency, guided by the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) regulations.  The IMO’s 80th meeting of its Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC 80), which took place in July 2023, spotlighted vessel efficiency, emphasizing a review of energy efficiency design requirements, including the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI).

In pursuit of the IMO's net-zero target of 2050, ship owners are embracing low and zero-carbon technologies. Among these, innovative propulsion options like Flettner Rotors, or Rotor Sails, are gaining traction. These advanced sails, inspired by history but technologically superior, offer auxiliary propulsion to vessels to enable them to maintain their speed but with reduced fuel usage, which can in turn significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Rotor Sails are particularly popular for their retrofitting potential, allowing easy installation on existing vessels in port or dry dock.  With wind power abundant on many trade routes, ship owners are embracing these modern solutions to drive efficiency and cut emissions.

Simplicity

Rotor Sails are genius in their ingenuity. They harness the “Magnus Effect”, rotating within airflow to produce forward thrust perpendicular to the wind. This additional thrust can enhance speed or reduce engine power, dramatically cutting fuel consumption and emissions. Versatile and simple to install, they are suitable for various vessel types. Each sail can be swiftly fitted, even during dry dock or while berthed, making them ideal for rapid retrofits. Moreover, they are portable assets, and can be transferred between ships as required. With their uncomplicated design and swift installation, Rotor Sails offer a rapid and efficient solution for reducing emissions and enhancing efficiency in the maritime sector.

Rotor Sail placement and design on vessels must carefully consider safety and efficiency, ensuring no hindrance to cargo handling. Anemoi Marine Technologies, a leading developer based in the United Kingdom and with a world-class production facility in China, retrofitted three 24-m Rotor Sails on the Kamsarmax bulk carrier TR Lady in June 2023 at Chengxi Shipyard in China. Despite the challenge larger bulkers face in meeting efficiency targets, Rotor Sail technology is ideal due to their ample deck space and predictable wind patterns.

Exclusive: Anemoi lays out financial and environmental benefits of Rotor Sails

TR Lady's trial voyage from China to Australia yielded positive results and annual savings of 10% in fuel consumption and emissions are expected. The sails, which are installed on Anemoi’s transverse rail deployment system, can be moved on the deck when berthed for cargo operations.

Anemoi's Chief Executive Officer, Kim Diederichsen, highlighted the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the technology in reducing emissions: “The installation of Rotor Sails on TR Lady and the results we have seen so far show how effective Rotor Sails are when it comes to reducing the fuel consumption and emissions of a vessel. Rotor Sails are a visible, viable and cost-effective decarbonisation technology.”

Diederichsen went on to say: “Our background equipped us with the knowledge of how to best adapt the technology for complex vessel operations. As a result, we developed a range of Rotor Sails with variable heights and, most uniquely, a range of deployment systems and mounting arrangements. This includes a standard fixed mounting; a folding deployment, which enables the cylinders to be lowered from vertical to enable the vessel to pass under low bridges and avoid impact to cargo loading and unloading; and finally our patented rail system that was used on TR Lady.”

Their technology, adapted for complex vessel operations, includes variable heights and deployment systems like folding and patented rail systems, ensuring adaptability and minimal impact on cargo operations.

Anemoi developed a Fuel Saving Assessment Model (FSAM) to accurately predict fuel and emissions savings. FSAM utilizes Rotor Sail performance, vessel data, route, and wind conditions to simulate historic voyages over five years, ensuring fair and transparent results accounting for additional drag and generator usage.

Forward Thinking

Anemoi already has a number of projects underway with some of the industry’s biggest names, including Vale and Berge Bulk to install Rotor Sails onboard vessels over the coming months and, in February, it received funding from the UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition to develop a new diameter of Rotor Sail and innovative drive system. Buoyed by its success on bulk carriers, Anemoi has also signed a deal with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group to develop Rotor Sail designs specifically for LNG vessels.

As per the UK’s Clean Maritime Plan, the wind propulsion technology market, including Rotor Sails, is expected to soar to GBP 2 billion (USD 2.5 billion) annually by 2050, a substantial rise from the projected GBP 300 million in the 2020s.

This growth is directly tied to the credibility of Rotor Sails as a decarbonisation technology.  As alternative fuels and other eco-friendly innovations become market-ready, auxiliary wind propulsion methods can be used in tandem to garner even more environmental benefits for the shipping sector.

 

Photo credit: Anemoi Marine Technologies
Published: 16 May, 2024

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Mass Flowmeter

Bunker vessel “Margherita Cosulich” achieves Metcore Certificate of Conformity for MFM

Metcore International’s accreditation as an ISO/IEC 17065 certification body by Singapore Accreditation Council ensures stringent assessment processes, ensuring compliance with international standards such as ISO 22192, says Fratelli Cosulich.

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Genoa-based international shipping, shipments and logistics company Fratelli Cosulich Group on Wednesday (8 May) announced the issuance of the Certificate of Conformity for the mass flow metering (MFM) system of its bunker vessel Margherita Cosulich by Metcore International Pte Ltd. 

“Metcore International, a prominent marine solutions provider based in Singapore, brings unparalleled expertise in MFM systems for bunker applications,” the firm said.

“Their accreditation as an ISO/IEC 17065 certification body by the Singapore Accreditation Council ensures stringent assessment processes, ensuring compliance with international standards such as ISO 22192.”

“Our adoption of MFM technology underscores our dedication to innovation and efficiency in fuel measurement. By adhering to ISO 22192 guidelines, our company establishes itself as a pioneer in the direct mass measurement of marine fuel.”

“This not only streamlines bunkering operations but also enhances accuracy and transparency, setting new industry benchmarks for best practices.”

Margherita Cosulich is currently operating in Oman, aligning with SOHAR Port's framework, which underscores our broader commitment to industry collaboration and standardisation. 

“By implementing mass flow metering for bunker vessels, both Fratelli Cosulich and Metcore contribute to improving operational efficiency and environmental sustainability within the maritime sector,” the firm concluded.

“The partnership between Fratelli Cosulich and Metcore is built on mutual trust and shared objectives. The issuance of the Certificate of Conformity reflects our joint commitment to driving excellence in marine bunkering.”

Related: Metcore International receives ISO/IEC 17065:2012 recognition from Singapore Accreditation Council

 

Photo credit: Fratelli Cosulich
Published: 13 May 2024

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