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Following in the footsteps of A.P. Moller - Maersk’s Ocean ECO Delivery product launched in 2019, Maersk Japan will be launching a pilot to offer customers sustainable drayage in Japan.

It will utilise renewable diesel to provide immediate carbon emission reductions. This will be the first permanently fixed green solution for container drayage in Japan and promises to reduce carbon emissions for container drayage operations by up to 80% based on lifecycle analysis.

Ground-breaking series

"As we continue to build towards our long-term sustainability goals, at Maersk we’ are accelerating our efforts to decarbonise marine operations, most recently with the order for a ground-breaking series of 8 large ocean-going container vessels capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol."

At Maersk, we are accelerating the efforts to decarbonise marine operations

"At the same time, it is important we make every effort in the local markets to support our global vision, and I am very excited about our sustainable drayage pilot which can bring significant sustainability benefits to our customers in Japan," said Toru Nishiyama, Managing Director, North East Asia Area, A.P. Moller - Maersk. The renewable biodiesel is sourced from Itochu Corporation/Itochu Enex who uses ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) certified used cooking oil as feedstock. The fuel is then imported into Japan and put into specific container drayage trucks to carry containers of customers who purchased the service from Maersk.

Providing drayage connections

"Initially, the pilot will be launched in the Yokohama Kanagawa area providing drayage connections to and from the Yokohama port. The plan is to expand the solution to other parts of Japan, namely Kobe and Nagoya, over the next couple of years. With this pilot, we are honoured and humbled to pioneer a much-needed area of the supply and transport chain, listening to and serving our customers in a cleaner, better way."

"We encourage not only our people, vendors, partners and customers, but also other players and actors in the market to join us in the effort of building together the cleanest, most sustainable transport options henceforth," said Francisco Betancourt, Director, North East Asia Product Management, A.P. Moller - Maersk.

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New generation of wind-driven vessels to lower carbon footprint and cost
New generation of wind-driven vessels to lower carbon footprint and cost

For most of maritime history, wind power drove vessels all over the world; that is until steam and other forms of propulsion came on the scene in the mid-1800s. Now in the 21st century, given a renewed interest in preserving the environment and lowering costs, wind power is on the verge of making a comeback. The latest technologies, including big data and computer simulations, are helping to drive a renewed interest in maritime vessels propelled by wind, with a 90% reduction in the use of fossil fuels among the sustainability benefits of resurrecting the use of wind to power commercial vessels. Wind-powered maritime vessels The new generation of wind-powered maritime vessels will look nothing like the sailing ships of old. Rather, they incorporate a variety of modern approaches to harnessing wind power and channeling it into dependable cargo transportation. These large-scale vessels will be adaptable to changing weather conditions. A new generation of wind-powered maritime vessels will be adaptable to changing weather conditions For example, Swedish company Wallenius Marine is developing the Oceanbird, a 200-metre-long cargo ship with wing sails towering 105 meters high and offering enough capacity to carry 7,000 cars across the Atlantic in 14 days (compared to eight days for a fuel-powered ship). The vessel, which could be in service by 2024, would lower operating costs, especially if governments impose a price on carbon emissions to curb the use of fuel. 90% fewer carbon emissions Although the Oceanbird will have an engine as a backup, carbon emissions of the wind-driven ship will be 90% lower, and the vessel could also be used as a cruise vessel, bulk carrier, or tanker, instead of transporting cars or farm machinery. The first vessel from the Oceanbird concept will be a specially designed car carrier, but the other segments, as well as retrofits on existing vessels, are being evaluated. Wallenius and marine manufacturer Alfa Laval have formed a 50/50 joint venture – AlfaWall Oceanbird – that will supply wind propulsion solutions for cargo vessels and other ship types. The agreement, signed in June 2021, includes a plan is to have the first Oceanbird system onboard a vessel within five years. Transition to wind Technologies such as wing sails and tougher, lighter materials developed for racing yachts are making it possible to implement a broader transition to wind power. The Oceanbird’s “sails,” likely made of aluminum, steel, and compositive materials will leverage wind changes at new heights above the sea surface. Also making new approaches to wind power more feasible are longer-term weather forecasts, improved route planning, and computer simulations to better manage the variables of nature. Computer data helps to drive the ship, but humans onboard augment the data with real-world experience. Clean and renewable energy-based industry The accepted proposal is the result of a strong mobilisation of the shipbuilding industry in the region Another company, Neoline, Nantes, France, is also working on a sailing cargo ship. Theirs is a 136-meter vessel suitable for transporting cars or farm machinery. It can also reduce carbon emissions by 90%. The design provides maritime transport based on the operation of roll-on/roll-off cargo ships with a main velic propulsion system. Neoline has chosen Neopolia Mobility, Loire, France, to construct its first sailing cargo ship. Neopolia Mobility emerged from a call for tenders as being the best able to combine Neoline’s technical requirements, budgetary and time constraints, and a desire to participate in the development of the Loire region. The accepted proposal is the result of a strong mobilisation of the shipbuilding industry in the region and reflects a capacity of adaptation and a strong will to develop a future industry based on clean and renewable energy, the wind. New technologies The International Maritime Organisation seeks to reduce climate-changing emissions by half by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. Given the expected 30-year lifespan of ships, vessels manufactured in the next several years will still be in service in 2050 and contribute to lowering emissions. Given the strict scheduling of the international shipping industry, wind-powered vessels will need to adapt to variable conditions and still be able to deliver dependable and timely service. Right around the corner, new technologies will allow wind-powered ships of the near future to do just that.

Running a tight ship on port security around the UK
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Backlogged ports among symptoms of global supply chain disruption
Backlogged ports among symptoms of global supply chain disruption

Backlogged ports, a shortage of shipping containers and not enough workers are among the factors contributing to supply chain disruptions that have led to shortages of various goods and are likely to impact availability of merchandise, during the upcoming holiday season. Demand is growing rapidly as the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic have diminished. However, lingering consequences of the pandemic are continuing to impact the container shipping market. With each element in the system tightly intertwined, any changes tend to ripple with additional repercussions. Slow circulatory movement of containers A direct upshot of the COVID-19 pandemic was to slow the circulatory movement of containers globally. To increase productivity and save time, some vessels began making their return journeys empty, in effect leaving more empty containers at the delivery destination and fewer at the source of shipments. The varied timing of the pandemic in Asia and the West compounded the problem At one point, Asian containers could not be sent back to Asia, because of COVID-19 restrictions in place. The varied timing of the pandemic in Asia and the West compounded the problem. With empty containers stacking up in the West and a shortage in the East, slower circulation of containers and higher demand have led to sharp increases in costs. Millions of TEU dry container units added A lack of new equipment is not the problem. Last year, the industry added about 2.8 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units of dry containers, in line with the 10-year average. Congestion at ports has been going on for months and still continues. Recently, in the San Pedro Bay region, near the Port of Long Beach, in California, there were 144 ships, including 85 ships that were waiting to unload. In Savannah, Georgia, more than 20 container ships were waiting to dock. Ports in the US states of New Jersey, New York and Texas have also seen record backlogs. Majority of influential global ports face backlogs According to one report, 77% of the most influential ports in the world reported above-average wait times this year. The turn-around time for a container in ports has nearly doubled in 2021, in comparison to 2019. A worker shortage at the ports is aggravating the problem and container ships now carry about 30% more goods, which require more labour to unload. Ports are also doing the additional work with fewer people. There is also reduced labour productivity at warehouses and marine terminals. Investment in workforce training to counter bottlenecks Some port bosses expect the bottlenecks to last through the summer of 2022. To address the problem, some ports are investing in workforce training and scheduling night-time appointments to pick up goods. Although a lot of attention is focused on the ports, they are just one element in the troubled supply chain. Even if the ports could increase their capacity, downstream processes would also have to increase their labour force, to accommodate the higher volume. Difficult to absorb impact of global supply chain disruptions In the best of times, the global supply chain operates like a well-oiled machine In the best of times, the global supply chain operates like a well-oiled machine, despite its complexity and the inter-relatedness of various stakeholders. However, the sheer size of the system makes it difficult to absorb the impact of any disruptions. Turning the system around takes time, and a burgeoning global demand for goods, in the aftermath of a global pandemic, makes recovery even more difficult. The Biden Administration in the U.S. has established a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, to monitor and address short-term supply issues. This task force is convening meetings of stakeholders in industries with urgent supply-chain problems, such as construction and semiconductors, to identify the immediate bottlenecks, as well as potential solutions. Role of global supply chain more critical now There have been supply chain disruption and staff shortages in several countries, including the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and New Zealand, according to business surveys. As the economy recovered and demand increased, businesses have not yet been able to bring inventories fully back to pre-pandemic levels, causing inventory-to-sales ratios to fall. The role of the global supply chain has never been more critical.

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