Saturday, March 29, 2014

V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust registers impressive growth in cargo throughput

Source: VOC Port

Registering a positive trend in cargo throughput year after year, V.O.Chidambaranar Port, Tuticorin, one of the fast growing Union government-controlled ports in Tamil Nadu, has handled all-time record cargo traffic of 282.61 Lakh Tonnes (as on March 28) in 2013-14 period, surpassing the previous year’s achievement of 282.60 lakh Tonnes.

According to Port sources, during the same period last year, VOC Port had handled 278.78 lakh Tonnes of cargo.
In terms of container handling for the period, the Port had handled 5,02,500 TEUs, surpassing the previous year’s achievement of 4,75,599 TEUs. During the same period last year, the Port had handled 4,68,937 TEUs registering a growth rate of 7.16%.
It is worth a mention here that the Port had crossed the target of five lakh TEUs fixed by Ministry of Shipping for the Financial year 2013-14, three days in advance.
During the financial year 2013-14, Industrial Coal, Rock Phosphate, Pet Coke and containerized cargo have shown positive trends in imports and Garnet Sand, Gypsum, Phosphoric Acid were promising in terms of Export cargo.
Commenting on the achievement, Mr S. Anantha Chandra Bose, Chairman, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, thanked all the stake holders viz, port users, vessel operators, the container terminal, the officers and the staff of V.O.Chidambaranar Port for achieving the record performance.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Glovis India honours partners at transporter meet


Glovis India, a group company of Hyundai Motors for providing integrated logistics solutions to exporters/importers, organised its annual transporter meet in Chennai, where its headquarters is located, on March 20
The three-hour event was attended by more than 80 major transporters across India. Special invitees for the event included Mr. V. Anand, Mr. K. Y. Park and Mr. J. M. Lee from Hyundai Motors India Ltd and Mr. Narasimhan, a reputed consultant in the area of Total Quality Management.
Mr. Min Joo, Managing Director of Glovis India, addressing the annual Transporter Meet in Chennai.

The event kick-started with a welcome address by Mr. Nam Gug Joh, the COO of the Transportation Division, followed by the key-note by Mr. Min Joo, Managing Director of Glovis India.
In his address, Mr. Min Joo stated that the annual meet has three main objectives — reviewing the performance of 2013, setting the context and the targets for the year 2014 and honouring various transporters who were recognized for their efforts and performance through the year 2013.

Mr. Anand, Senior General Manager at HMIL, took the gathering through the sales vision of 2014 from a Hyundai Motors and a finished car business perspective. In his presentation, he elaborated about Hyundai’s estimated output for the year 2014, with the estimates of cars in each of the various segments, which was analyzed in detail by comparing it to its market competitors.  Mr. Rajinder Singh, CEO of Janta Roadways, then threw light on the current market scenario for the logistics industry from the transporter perspective. This was followed by a talk on Total Quality Management by Mr. Narasimhan.
Mr. Min Joo, Managing Director of Glovis India, honouring  a representative of Axis Carriers & Logistics Private Ltd, who was adjudged asthe Outstanding All Round Performer, in Chennai.

At the event, Glovis India announced the organizations’ new regional offices being set up in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore and soon in Ahmedabad among various other cities and the respective Chief Regional Officers were introduced as well to the attendees. 
The awards ceremony was the highlight of the show. Awards were given in 12 different categories including Most Supportive Transporter, Critical Dispatch Supporter, Zero Accidents, On Time Delivery – Domestic and Export, Damage Free Delivery – Export and Domestic, Highest Volume Dispatched – Export and Domestic and the most prestigious All Round best Performer Award.

In the Outstanding All Round Performer category, Axis Carriers & Logistics Private Ltd won the accolade, while in Highest Volume Supporter – Domestic category, Chetak Logistics Limited, Cargo Wings (Madras) Pvt Ltd, Mahindra Logistics Ltd and Delhi Baroda Road Carrier (P) Ltd won the awards.

In the Highest Volume Supporter – Exporter category, Bharat Carriers Ltd, Kishor Transport Services P Ltd, Sundharams Private Ltd and ICM Logistics Pvt Ltd received awards while in Damage Free Delivery – Domestic category, Indian Vehicle Carriers Pvt Ltd, Delhi Gujarat Fleet Carriers Pvt Ltd and Mercurio Pallia Logistics Private Ltd received the awards.
Likewise, in the Damage Free Delivery – Export category, TVS Logistics Services Ltd received the coveted award. In “On Time Delivery” category, Janta Roadways Pvt. Ltd, Ailsinghani Logistics and Kundanmal Mukanmal Traders P. Ltd received the top awards. 

Besides, Glovis India management honoured OSL Logistics Pvt. Ltd. (Zero Accidents – Domestic), Mehrab Logistics and Aviation Ltd (Zero Accidents – Export), Shiv Shakti Transport Company (Quality Improvements – Domestic), Mahaveera Transport Pvt. Ltd. (Quality Improvements – Export), Supreme Auto Carrier (Supportive Transporter) and R Sai Logistics India Pvt Ltd (Critical Dispatch Support) with awards.

The event wrapped up with the vote of thanks proposed by Mr. L. Surendran, HoD of the Transportation Division. 
Being the group company of Hyundai Motors, Glovis India started its business of car transportation with Hyundai and over the years has matured into a successful and independent business house moving from a transactional business to a more strategic-based business covering both domestic as well as overseas transportation.

The year 2007 marked the beginning of domestic transportation. The domestic car transportation wing of Glovis India today handles more than six lakh cars per year. Glovis India has a well connected network of transporters and agents who participate in smooth operations across the nation and beyond. 
Having established its efficiency in the transportation sector, Glovis India expanded its services in the vertical of Container Freight Station (CFS) and the clients include the various vendors of Hyundai Motor Group. The year 2011 marked the growth of Glovis India on the express phase – esteemed brands such Renault Nissan and Mahindra & Mahindra (M & M) have trusted Hyundai Glovis’s supply chain and transportation operations.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

World’s biggest reefer capacity vessel arrives at Port of Hamburg

-Container vessel “Cap San Lorenzo” featuring world’s biggest reefer capacity arrives at Port of Hamburg for the very first time


On her first voyage from South America to Europe, the new container ship “Cap San Lorenzo” docked at the HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai on March 23, 2014, its first arrival ever in Hamburg.
The new “Cap San” class of the shipping company Hamburg Süd has 2,100 connections for refrigerated containers, known as reefers. No other vessels worldwide currently have greater capacity for reefer containers than the “Cap San Lorenzo” and its sister vessels, which are also amongst the biggest ships of the shipping company. These units with a nominal total carrying capacity of 9,600 TEU (20-foot standard containers) are part of a scheduled liner service between the eastern coast of South America and Europe (River Plate Express).

On the occasion of her first visit to the Port of Hamburg, Norbert Browarczyk, Head of Port Office West, and Port of Hamburg Marketing Executive Board Member Axel Mattern presented the admiralty badge of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg to the captain of the “Cap San Lorenzo”, Arie Sluijter.

Immediately after its naming ceremony in Buenos Aires at the end of February, the “Cap San Lorenzo” with a length of 333 metres and 48 metres at the beam was commissioned as part of the River Plate Express service. Hamburg Süd operates this shipping link jointly with its Brazilian subsidiary Aliança.
The shipping companies Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM, MSC Maersk and CSAV also have container storage capacities. The following ports of destination are currently part of the liner service’s rotation schedule: Hamburg, Antwerp, Le Havre, Itaguai (Sepetiba), Santos, Paranagua, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio Grande do Sul, Itapoa, Santos, Tangier, Rotterdam, Tilbury, Hamburg.
The Port of Hamburg is a key hub in international merchandise shipments for handling containerised refrigerated cargo. In 2013, a new record volume of approx. 618.000 sea reefer containers (in TEU) were loaded and discharged in Hamburg. This is equivalent to a 9.3 per cent increase year-on-year. The eastern coast of South America is the second most important region for imports of refrigerated merchandise via Hamburg. This particular shipping region also is of immense importance for exports via Germany’s biggest seaport. The variety of merchandise transported includes, in particular, fruit, meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MHI Receives Order for Very Large LPG Carrier from Astomos Energy


-Identical to Ship Type Ordered Late Last Year- Vessel Specifications Enable Passage through Expanding Panama Canal --

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has received an order from Astomos Energy Corporation for a very large liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier. The LPG carrier on order is identical to a vessel ordered to MHI by Astomos Energy late last year. Completion and delivery of the ship are scheduled for the first half of 2016.

The newly ordered LPG carrier will measure 230.0 meters (m) in length overall (LOA), 36.6m in width and 11.1m in draft, with gross tonnage of 48,300 tons (t) and deadweight tonnage of 51,100t. It will have capacity to carry up to 83,000 cubic meters (m3) of LPG. The adoption of MHI's unique hull design and other features will provide the carrier with superlative fuel efficiency and outstanding adaptability to the diverse connecting conditions of the world's LPG terminals.
The ship will also be equipped with the industry's most advanced systems, including mooring arrangement, to enable passage through the newly expanding Panama Canal, which is expected to become operable early in 2016. Construction, as with the previously ordered vessel, will be carried out at MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works.

Astomos Energy presently operates a total of 23 large-scale LPG carriers. All six vessels owned by the company were constructed by MHI; of the remaining 17 time-chartered vessels, eleven were built by MHI. Today Astomos Energy is pursuing a medium-term business plan to expand its LPG transport structure, targeting an increase in gross LPG handling volume from the current 10 million tons per year (mtpy) to 12mtpy in 2015. The order newly placed to MHI is an integral part of that initiative. The new carrier, when completed, will replace one of old vessels owned by Astomos Energy.

With the emergence of the "shale gas revolution" in the United States, demand for LPG produced in North America is projected to increase in markets worldwide, including East Asia. In tandem with this expansionary trend, coupled with the enlargement of the Panama Canal, newly constructed ships must offer increased carrying capacities and be able to transport over longer distances. They must also perform to tightening environmental restrictions imposed on such ship navigations. 
Both of MHI's LPG carriers ordered by Astomos Energy will satisfy these various requirements as they simultaneously meet the needs of the company's current plans to build the world's most advanced fleet of LPG carriers.
MHI possesses the comprehensive capabilities in ships and major marine machinery to respond to the heightening demands being made of today's LPG carriers. Going forward, the company will apply these capabilities to the development of ever more efficient LPG carriers as it also pursues more proactive proposal-based solutions marketing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

World’s Largest Ship Propeller begins its journey to final destination


The world’s largest container ship propeller was loaded onto the "Hyundai Together" at the HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder on March 15.

According to a media statement, the ‘HHLA IV’ floating crane lifted the giant propeller, measuring 10.3 metres in diameter, weighing 113 tonnes and boasting five blades, from its pontoon into the belly of the ship.
It may be worth a mention here that the ‘HHLA IV’ can lift up to 200 tonnes and can be steered with millimetre precision, even when fully loaded.

Commenting on the feat, Mr Thomas Kahl, from Hyundai Merchant Marine Germany (HMM), said, “HMM has been active in the break bulk market for 20 years. Shipping heavy and high-volume cargo is part of our everyday business, but transporting a propeller like this is nonetheless a challenge, even for us. We are delighted to have been able to transport this cargo on Hyundai ships."
Mr Thomas stated: "The smooth handling of this shipment in the Port of Hamburg once again underlines the professionalism of all involved, starting with the transportation of the propeller to Hamburg, to the deployment of the floating crane to and at the CTA and the work undertaken on board the "Hyundai Together".”

The huge ship propeller was manufactured by Mecklenburger Metallguss GmbH in Waren (Müritz) and a 30-metre-long heavy goods vehicle transported it to Hamburg along the A19 and A24 motorways at the end of February. The ‘HHLA IV’ took the propeller to its berth for temporary storage.
The ship propeller left the Port of Hamburg on March 16 on the "Hyundai Together", which can hold 13,000 standard containers (TEU). Its journey will take it to a South Korean shipyard, where an 18,000-TEU container ship is currently being built. 
Together with an 85,000-h.p. engine, the propeller will drive the vessel across the world’s oceans.
Six more ship propellers of this kind are to be transshipped via the Port of Hamburg this year, with the next shipment due to take place at the beginning of June, a statement from the HMM further added.

New Mangalore Port Trust gets new chairman

Mr P.C. Parida, previously Deputy Chairman with Chennai Port Trust, has been appointed as Chairman of New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) by the Ministry of Shipping.
On March 15, Mr Parida took charge as the new Chairman at the port administrative building located at Panambur, 170 nautical miles South of Mormugao Port and 191 nautical miles North of Cochin Port.
Prior to his present assignment Mr Parida was working as Deputy Chairman, Chennai Port Trust from January, 2011.  He also worked as Dy. Chairman, Mormugao Port Trust from November, 2008 to December, 2010, FA&CAO of Chennai Port Trust from September, 2001 to October 2008, FA&CAO of V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust (erstwhile Tuticorin Port Trust) from August, 1996 to September, 2001. 
During his tenure in different ports, Mr Parida was associated with many projects i.e. privatization of first  Container Terminal at V.O. Chidambaranar Port, 1st and 2nd Container Terminal at Chennai Port, privatization of Coal Terminal at Mormugao Port  etc.
He was also associated in merger of Cargo Handling Pool  at Tuticorin with  VOC Port and  Chennai Dock Labour Board with Chennai Port. 
Mr Parida is a Graduate in Commerce and Law and Associated Member of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India.   
After gaining rich experience in various ports in various capacities, Mr P.C. Parida is expected to elevate New Mangalore Port to greater heights. Immediately after assuming the charges, the new chairman had discussions with all the departments of the port, Port Users and Labour representatives and sought their cooperation for the overall development of New Mangalore Port. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Imports of Chinese bicycles bleeding domestic industry: ASSOCHAM


Rising imports of bicycles and their components from China to India at almost 25 per cent cost-comparative advantage owing to free trade agreements (FTAs) together with South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) are posing a serious threat to domestic bicycle industry producing over 41, 000 bicycles per day, according to a just concluded study undertaken by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau.
Picture Source:

“There is a need to increase the import duty on bicycles and its parts from the  prevailing 20 to 30 per cent as by doing this the prices of bicycles made both in India and China would equate in the global market,” noted a just-concluded study on ‘Future of Indian Bicycle Industry,’ conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

“There is an urgent need to impose strict anti-dumping laws to check rising cheap imports of bicycles and components from China which has been dumping its products into India,” said Mr. D. S. Rawat, Secretary General of ASSOCHAM, while releasing the findings of the study.

“The imports of bicycles and their components from China to India have risen by about 41 per cent during the course of the past five years, as such it is imperative for India to review the FTAs and SAFTA to safeguard the interests of the domestic bicycle industry,” he added.

India’s exports of bicycle to other countries have grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 17 per cent while the imports grew at over double the rate of about 35 per cent mainly on account of uncompetitive pricing, noted the study.

China has ranked on top amid countries importing bicycles and their components into India with imports worth about $8, 900 in 2007 to $35, 000 in 2012.

“Soaring fuel prices, rising rural incomes, growing health consciousness together with free distribution of bicycles to students by various State Governments in order to promote education and keep a check on dropout rates will push the growth of bicycle industry in India and the industry is expected to generate about one million jobs during the course of next couple of years or so,” highlighted the study.

However, input cost inflation like rising steel prices (largely due to rising exports of iron ore pellets) and poor condition of roads especially in rural areas are other significant challenges faced by the industry, it added.

India is world’s second largest bicycle producer after China accounting for about 10 per cent of global bicycle production and with an estimated market size worth $1.5 billion Indian bicycle industry produces about 15 million finished bicycles annually.

It may be noted here that ASSOCHAM has batted for reduction in excise duty imposed on bicycles to support the industry and reduce the excess burden.

Friday, March 7, 2014

ICTSI 2013 Net Income Up 20% to US$172.4 million

-Throughput grew 12% to 6.3 million TEUs
-Revenues increased 17% to US$852.4 million
-EBITDA improved 23% to US$377.3 million


International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) reported audited consolidated financial results for the year ended December 31, 2013 posting revenue from port operations of US$852.4 million, an increase of 17 percent over the US$729.3 million reported for the same period the previous year, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) of US$377.3 million, 23 percent higher than the US$307.6 million generated last year, and net income attributable to equity holders of the parent of US$172.4 million, up 20 percent compared to the US$143.2 million earned in 2012.
The higher net income attributable to equity holders of the parent in 2013 was mainly due to strong revenue growth and margin improvement in certain key terminals and the contribution from the new terminal in Karachi, Pakistan.  Diluted earnings per share for the period was likewise higher by 22 percent at US$0.071 from US$0.058 in 2012.  

ICTSI handled consolidated volume of 6,309,840 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for the year ended December 31, 2013, 12 percent more than the 5,628,021 TEUs handled in 2012. 
The increase in volume was mainly due to the continuous growth in international and domestic trade in most of the Company’s terminals; new shipping lines and routes; full year contribution of new terminals, PT Olah Jasa Andal (PT OJA) and Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT), which were consolidated in August 2012 and October 2012, respectively; and the start of commercial operations of new terminals, Contecon Manzanillo S.A. de C.V. (CMSA) and Operadora de Puerto Cortés, S.A. de C.V. (OPC), beginning November 2013 and December 2013, respectively.
Excluding the volume contribution from the four new terminals and the effect of the cessation of the operations in Syria effective January 2013, organic volume growth increased by two percent.  The Company’s seven key terminal operations in Manila, Brazil, Poland, Madagascar, China, Ecuador and Pakistan accounted for 78 percent of the Group’s consolidated volume in the 2013.  

Gross revenues from port operations in 2013 surged 17 percent to US$852.4 million from the US$729.3 million reported in 2012. 
The increase in revenues was mainly due to volume growth, higher storage revenues and ancillary services, tariff rate increases in certain key terminals, full year contribution of the terminal operations in Karachi, Pakistan and Jakarta, Indonesia, and inclusion of the new terminals in Manzanillo, Mexico and Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
Excluding the revenues from the newly acquired terminals and the effect of the cessation of the operations in Tartous, Syria, organic revenue growth was at seven percent.  The Group’s seven key terminal operations in Manila, Brazil, Poland, Madagascar, China, Ecuador and Pakistan accounted for 84 percent of the Group’s consolidated revenues in 2013.   

Consolidated cash operating expenses in 2013 grew 13 percent to US$359.5 million from US$318.9 million in 2012.  The increase was driven by higher volume-related expenses (i.e., on-call labor, fuel, power and repairs and maintenance), government-mandated and contracted salary rate increases in certain terminals, higher business development expenses as the Company pursued a number of opportunities within the year, full-year impact of the expenses of PICT and PT OJA, and the inclusion of the expenses of new terminals, CMSA and OPC.
Excluding the cash operating expenses of the new terminals as well as the expenses incurred in the Company’s operation in Syria in the same period in 2012, total cash operating expenses would have increased by only three percent.

Consolidated EBITDA for 2013 increased 23 percent to US$377.3 million from US$307.6 million in 2012 mainly due to volume growth and stronger revenues arising from favorable volume mix, higher revenues from storage and ancillary services, tariff increases in certain key terminals, and full year contribution from the Company’s terminal operation in Karachi, Pakistan.  Excluding the impact of four new terminals in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico and Honduras, as well as the effect of the cessation of the terminal operations in Tartous, Syria in 2012, organic EBITDA growth is at 12 percent.  Meanwhile, consolidated EBITDA margin increased to 44 percent in 2013 compared to 42 percent in 2012.  

Consolidated financing charges and other expenses for 2013 increased 38 percent to US$48.2 million from US$35.0 million in 2012 due mainly to higher outstanding interest-bearing debt.  ICTSI issued US$400 million of 10-year bonds in January 2013 mainly to fund its capital expenditure program for 2013 and refinance medium-term loans, and its subsidiaries in Ecuador, Poland and Croatia availed of term loans locally.  

ICTSI’s capital expenditure in 2013 amounted to US$477.6 million against a full year capital expenditure budget of US$550.0 million.  Last year’s capital expenditure was mainly attributed to the development of new container terminals in Mexico, Argentina and Colombia; capacity expansion in its terminal operation in Croatia; and the Company’s newly acquired terminal in Honduras.
The Group’s capital expenditure budget for 2014 is approximately US$310.0 million mainly allocated for the completion of phase one development in the Company’s new container terminals in Mexico and Argentina, and to start the development of the terminals in Honduras and Democratic Republic of Congo.  This does not include the Company’s share in the joint venture project with PSA International Pte Ltd. (PSA) for the development of the container terminal in Buenaventura, Colombia which for 2014 is approximately US$120.0 million.  

ICTSI is a leading port management company involved in the operation and development of marine terminals and port projects worldwide. The Company was among the first international terminal operators to take its expertise overseas.  ICTSI has received global acclaim for its public-private partnerships with economies divesting of its port assets to the private sector.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Adani logs in at KPL; Serious challenge to DP World, PSA International


With the arrival of Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd (APSEZ), India’s largest private port operator, into South India’s container handling market, the existing established players like DP World and PSA International, who operate at Chennai Port, has a serious challenge in their hands.

After selecting Adani Port’s bid for its proposed container terminal, on March 1, the management of Kamarajar Port Limited (KPL), Ennore, signed a concession agreement with them to develop a state-of-the-art container terminal at an estimated cost of Rs. 1, 270 crores.

For smooth execution of the project, the company has floated a special purpose vehicle named Adani Ennore Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd. and the entire project will be funded through debt and internal accruals.

According to official sources, Adani will have the flexibility to build the 730m berth in stages, starting with a berth length of 400m in 27 months that can handle eight lakh TEUs a year costing Rs. 750 crores and scaling it up to 730m to load 14 lakh TEUs over a period of 45 months.

It may be worth recalling here that KPL, ever since its inception way back in 2001 as a satellite port for Chennai Port, successfully developed itself as an alternate facility for breakbulk and RoRO cargo in the region.
Though the KPL (then Ennore Port) the management had signed a similar Concession Agreement with Bay of Bengal Gateway Terminals, a consortium headed by Spain’s leading port operator, Grup Marítim TCB SL, international construction group Obrascón Huarte Lain SA, India’s leading construction, power and engineering conglomerates, Lanco Infratech Ltd. and Eredene in August 2010, it failed to see light of the day after the bidder ran into problem with timely financial closure.

Given the importance of having a container handling facility (besides other cargoes like coal, cars and petroleum)  for sustained revenue in the longer run, the port management seriously pursued the bidding process and finally clinched the deal with Adani Port a few weeks ago. Adani offered a revenue share of 37 per cent, against the 27 per cent offered by DP World.

Though Adani Ports tried to enter South Indian container market about two years ago with a bid for Rs. 3,700-crore mega container terminal project at Chennai Port, its offer of 5 per cent revenue share was rejected by the port management then and eventually stopped its foray to the region.

Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, Mr. Vasant R Murthy, CEO, Container Ports and Logistics, Adani Ports, said: “Having established as a major player in the West, we want to be a pan-India player (with the foray in South).

To a question about its tactics to remain a main player among the already established container terminals run by well-known firms like DP World, PSA International and the latest entrant to the block – L & T’s Kattupalli International Container Terminal, he replied: “We will bring efficiency, quality and customer centric approach to the East too, which has made us a dominant player in the West over the years.”

It may be noted here that Adani’s container terminal would be a reality only in 2016 and by the time it begins commercial operations, three container terminals in Chennai and Kattupalli ports as well as another such facility in Krishnapatnam Port, located hardly 150 km from Kamarajar Port, would have a sustained throughput of TEUs.
About the existing scenario in South India and available chances of survival for Adani’s container terminal project, Mr. Murthy added: “Things may be slow now, but need not be the same in the future. We believe Tamil Nadu has got a healthy industrial base. With the right pricing and infrastructure, we can attract customers.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Singapore and UK Researchers Team up to Transform Marine & Offshore R&D Through Joint Lab

Source: PR Newswire

Building on the fruitful past decade of UK-Singapore cooperation in scientific research and development, A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) officially launched a joint laboratory in Maritime and Offshore Engineering R&D on March 4, to develop innovative technological solutions through modelling and simulation using high performance computing technology, aimed at solving technical issues faced by the maritime, energy and offshore sectors.

The opening of the joint laboratory symbolises both countries' continued commitment to the fostering of greater synergy and cooperation in moving the frontiers of science. The Joint Lab opening was witnessed by UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, The Rt Hon David Willetts MP.

As a globally leading maritime hub that is home to many companies in the offshore sector, Singapore provides an excellent base for the development of innovative technological solutions. The long legacy of the UK as a global maritime powerhouse further ensures the synergy of complementary expertise from both organisations that will greatly enhance the maritime, energy and offshore sectors and bring about economic benefits to both countries.

The strategic aim of the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab is to deepen the understanding of the science and technology deployed in the design, construction and operation of future ships used, and new offshore structures that are utilised for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and renewable energy sources from deep oceans under extreme harsh environments and translate these insights into impactful industrial applications.

The research areas are aimed at addressing two major challenges faced by the maritime and offshore sector: Continuing trend in deep-water offshore oil and gas drilling, where the main challenge is in the more complex engineering requirements, both in terms of the environment in which the platforms will operate, and in their design and risk analysis based on more reliable scientific approaches.

Growth in shipping, from (a) the increasing size, variety and complexity of ships and, (b) a requirement for vessels to be "greener" from an environmental emissions viewpoint.

Prof. Alfred Huan, Executive Director of IHPC, said: "This joint lab is another key component toward building a hub to catalyse further R&D activities in marine and offshore companies in Singapore. IHPC is keen to promote the development of high performance computing techniques that can be applied to pertinent issues, that will lead to improved design of offshore structures and better understanding of their performance and reliability in harsher environment and more severe conditions. We intend to draw upon participation from industry players so that the benefits of the research can propagate through the economic sector."

Prof. Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton, said: "The Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute is a world-leading hub for international collaboration which really has no parallel in terms of its scale and ambition. With Singapore being home to the world's leading maritime economy and supporting major strengths in marine and maritime engineering we are very pleased and excited for the SMMI to be working in collaboration with A*STAR here to deliver a number of projects to develop safer, improved and more efficient offshore and marine structures and ships to deliver real and tangible economic and environmental benefits for the future."
Prof. Ajit Shenoi, Director of the SMMI, added: "The SMMI serves as a magnet to attract partners from around the world to draw upon our fantastic research and development capabilities and specialists. The future of humanity depends on us learning together and by working collaboratively through this new collaboration with A*STAR in Singapore is a catalyst for making major strides in all sectors of the maritime community, both academically and commercially."
The multidisciplinary research leverages the complementary expertise and skillsets possessed by the SMMI researchers, and IHPC research scientists from the Fluid Dynamics and Engineering Mechanics departments. The collaboration draws upon IHPC's strength in computational modelling and simulation, and SMMI's strength in marine research. The Joint Lab projects will focus on developing solutions in the marine and offshore sector where the technical challenges are complex and often beyond the capabilities of a single organisation.

The Joint Lab will undertake projects in collaboration with other partners in the maritime and offshore R&D community, including researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS) and the IHPC-Lloyd's Register Joint Lab co-located within IHPC premises.

The first four projects undertaken at the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab cover the following areas: hydrodynamics and fluid-structure interactions, applied mechanics and structure engineering.

The Joint Laboratory is located on A*STAR premises to promote engagement and more seamless scientific exchanges with researchers from other research fields, such as those from the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

The Rt Hon David Willetts MP commented, "As two of the world's top proponents of scientific endeavour, the UK and Singapore celebrate 10 years of close cooperation in pioneering cutting-edge research innovation for global markets. Many leading British companies such as GSK, Lloyd's Register and Rolls-Royce have collaborated with A*STAR, jointly developing R&D capabilities to drive innovation and achieve growth in Asia. This new partnership symbolised in the Joint Lab has the potential to catalyse our countries' reputations as international maritime hubs, translating to a wealth of economic opportunities in Asia Pacific and beyond."

As a national research institute supported by A*STAR through its Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) was established in April 1998 to provide leadership in high performance computing as a strategic resource for scientific inquiry and industry development. IHPC seeks to power discoveries through advanced methodologies, techniques and new tools in modelling, simulation and visualisation. Its core research areas are in the realm of complex-coupled systems, mechanics and fluid dynamics, large-scale systems, digital modelling, adaptive and collaborative computing, data mining and analysis, computational electronics and electromagnetics, computational materials science and chemistry.

Formally launched in 2012, the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton is a major hub for marine and maritime innovation, education and expertise. SMMI comprises over 1000 academic staff and researchers in various disciplines relating to engineering, sciences, social sciences and humanities and cover industrial, business and government sectors underpinning climate and the environment, energy and ocean resources, trade, manufacturing and transport as well as societal and policy issues.

The University of Southampton has a global reputation for academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to delivering world-leading research, scholarship and enterprise. Southampton fully supports a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of development across a wide range of disciplines - from engineering, science and technology to management, law, social sciences, health and humanities.