GL at the SMM 2012
Efficiency, Innovation and Integration, these were the watchwords for the maritime industry of today and the future at the GL Group’s press conference at SMM 2012 in Hamburg today.
The members of the media and industry stakeholders who had assembled for the presentations were first addressed by GL Group CEO Erik van der Noordaa, who looked at how the Group had broadened its focus in recent years and taken advantage of the integration of new business units to expand its range of services.
Expanding GL’s Maritime Perspectives
A programme of growth and targeted acquisitions had transformed the GL Group into a global service provider, said Mr van der Noordaa. He looked at areas, especially in the offshore industry, where complementary competencies within the Group’s three business units – Maritime, Oil and Gas and Renewables – meant that contributions were made to projects on multiple fronts, with cable laying and installation, offshore wind farms and wind turbine installation vessels, being notable examples.
Offshore Innovations within the GL Group
The benefits of this interdisciplinary approach and the synergies which have arisen through integration at the GL Group were pointed out by COO Torsten Schramm, who looked at how the GL Group has been able to leverage its expertise by merging its offshore competencies. The offshore market was poised for explosive growth, said Mr Schramm, with per year MW installations set to more than triple over the next three years. Working offshore, especially in the offshore wind area, required a unique mix of skillsets, he noted as the often massive projects required multiple vessel types, expertise in both fixed and floating structures, cable and power supply knowledge, and often all within a single vessel.
The new “Pacific Orca” project was an excellent example of how the GL Group’s multi-disciplinary capability could come together in a single project, Mr Schramm said. A truly collaborative project involving multiple GL Group business units, GL Noble Denton, the Group’s Oil and Gas business, undertook the engineering and design work for the legs, spud-cans and the jacking system, including FMEA, as well as integration of these components into the ship’s hull. They also provided the shipyard consultancy and site-specific assessment services. Germanischer Lloyd (GL) subsidiary FutureShip carried out the global strength and fatigue analyses for the ship afloat and was responsible for owner consultancy. While GL, as a classification society, conducted the in-place analysis in jacked-up mode and provides the classification services for the “Pacific Orca”.
The classification process for the “Pacific Orca” was based on new rules for Hull Structures of Offshore Service Vessels which were published in 2010, Mr Schramm said. These rules have recently been supplemented by a set of classification rules for Crew Boats and Offshore Wind Farm Service Craft. This was done to consolidate all the relevant GL rules, international codes and recommendations applicable to the classification of crew boats into one coherent framework. Using this compendium, designers developing vessels for the needs of their clients will be able to rely on one single collection of rules and guidelines with full confidence that their design will comply with classification requirements.
Paradigm Change in the Container Industry
Albrecht Grell, Head of GL’s Maritime Solutions, evaluated new opportunities in the shipping markets. Given the current circumstances sailing speeds have been reduced across the board and fuel efficiency has become the biggest lever to increase cost competitiveness, he noted.
Investors with the ability to finance new vessels in the current economic climate could lock in significant competitive advantages over the existing fleet. A study conducted by GL’s consultancy subsidiary FutureShip reveals that the differences in design efficiency between major container liner fleets is substantial: Average EEDI gaps to the IMO baseline differ by up to 15% and more.
In a multi-tier market that differentiates between vessels based on their efficiency, this will result in significantly improved employment opportunities and earnings. These benefits stem from three sources, said Mr Grell, the design of new vessels for lower speed, the utilization of state-of- the-art optimization technology and services, and significantly lower newbuilding prices. According to GL research, the financial benefits are so substantial that a newlybuilt fully optimized vessel will be more economical to operate than an existing vessel, even if the existing vessel’s capital costs are removed from the calculation.
Update on LNG
GL’s Head of Research and Rule Development, Dr Pierre C. Sames gave an update on LNG as ship fuel, showing how it was emerging as a viable alternative to HFO, especially in emission control areas (ECAs). The more widespread use of LNG as an alternative to conventional shipping fuel has the potential to make an immediate positive impact on the maritime industry’s environmental impact. The elimination of sulphur and nitrous oxide emissions, particulates and a considerable cut in carbon dioxide are factors which make LNG an attractive option.
Dr Sames looked at the many LNG projects ongoing at GL, which examine the technology’s use in vessels, the regulatory and technical requirements for safe bunkering, supply and port operations, and the potential economic and ecological benefits of LNG as ship fuel. Several new designs had received approval in principle (AiP) from GL recently, he noted, including a 13,000teu container vessel from IHIMU and a range of smaller container vessels from TECHNOLOG, where GL had issued an extra AiP for an extension to the LNG tank system.
Currently under construction under GL supervision was a new marine pollution prevention vessel for the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, being built at STX Finland and due for launch in 2013, said Dr Sames.
The vessel has three LNG-fuelled main engines, with LNG-fuelled auxiliary engines. Designed with a dynamic positioning system with CPP, two podded propulsors and a thruster, the new ship is being built to for oil and chemical recovery, has the highest Finnish/Swedish ice class and has helicopter operations, refuelling, towing, fire fighting, crane and small craft operational capabilities.
LNG is set to become more important in passenger shipping as well.
Already a feature of the Norwegian ferry industry, Dr Sames showed how GL was performing safety studies for the LNG supply systems of new passenger ship designs – dedicated fuel gas systems have been developed for the varied ship types, with a key challenge being to identify the location of the LNG tanks. Part of the R&D project GasPax, the full results of the study are due to be published in Hamburg later this year.
One of the keys to the more widespread use of LNG in shipping was developing a regulatory framework for bunkering in ports, noted Dr Sames. As such GL has been involved in a number of research projects in the area. As part of the Clean North Sea Shipping project, GL performed safety assessments for LNG bunker vessel operation in ports and looked at safe LNG transfer, bunker stations and the compatibility of the involved systems as part of the BunGAs R&D project. As well, GL had undertaken a study on behalf of German Ministry of Transport to develop a draft safety guidance for ports.