Two-Stage Turbocharger Passes First Test

By MarEx 2015-06-22 19:18:42

MAN Diesel & Turbo’s two-stage turbocharging development project, Ecocharge, has passed a significant milestone on its way to a successful market introduction. The company reports that individual MAN TCR20 and MAN TCX17 units – combined as a single, two-stage turbocharging system – have run for the first time on an MAN 12V35/44 gas engine on a test bed at its Augsburg, Germany works.

The Ecocharge system has been developed for both gas- and HFO-burning engines.

Now that the TCX series has proven its strengths and functionality on the burner rig, the new Ecocharge system will run over the coming months on the engine to prove its strengths and functionality. The test is the first real opportunity to prove the thermodynamic calculations on an engine which is key to a successful field test.

MAN Diesel & Turbo sees great potential in two-stage turbocharged engines, which can be seen in the spate of recent orders for such solutions. The combination of a MAN TCR20 – for the low-pressure stage – and an MAN TCX17 – for the high-pressure stage – offers significant potential for today’s demand for more economical and environmentally-friendly engine operation. This is because two-stage turbocharging supplies engines with improved scavenging air pressures ranging from 5 to >10 bar as well as significantly improved turbocharging efficiencies.

The increase in turbocharging efficiencies, in comparison to single-stage turbochargers, is mainly related to the intercooler – positioned between the low-pressure-stage and high-pressure-stage turbochargers – that significantly reduces the energy required to compress the intake air to high pressure. The resulting, higher efficiencies have an instantaneous impact on the engine by advantageously increasing the air pressure over the cylinder during the scavenging process.

Additionally, greater turbocharging efficiency fosters the reduction of NOx emissions through the Miller cycle while the improved scavenging efficiencies provided by the Ecocharge system make the engine more fuel efficient.

The higher power-density generated by the Ecocharge technology presents the opportunity to choose between significantly boosting an engine’s power output or reducing engine size, all the while maintaining engine performance. The Ecocharge system’s increased efficiencies and higher cylinder rating facilitate the use of a smaller engine with the same power output of a larger unit using traditional, single-stage turbocharging.

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European Shippers Speak Out on Alliances

By MarEx 2015-06-22 19:01:25

The European Shippers’ Council released a white paper on container transport competition at the start of the global summit on maritime container transport competition in Brussels this week.

After Washington in 2013, this is the second meeting between authorities from the United States, Europe and China. Competition watchdogs are gathering to analyse recent global evolutions of the competition landscape of maritime transport of containers caused by strengthening of alliances.

Indeed, the evolution of the market towards a monopoly of four alliances with impressive market shares in certain trade lanes (for example, the G6 has over 45 percent market share on routes between North America and North Europe) and their global reach requires a review of the procedures and safeguards in place until then, says the European Shippers’ Council in a statement.

“Shippers can only welcome these improvements in competitiveness and service quality; however they stay alert on the potential risks of concentration such as reducing of number of direct calls, increasing of transit time or artificial capacity management.”

In order to safeguard from competition breach, European Shippers Council has attracted attention of regulators of maritime competition on the necessity to prior control and monitoring for cooperation between ship operators.

Shippers called on participants in the global summit to jointly define the concept of “relevant market” used in competition analysis so that market shares are calculated uniformly.

They also recommend the creation of a harmonized global file submitted by the ship operators to the competition authorities. It needs to include all the information needed to properly analyse the actual scope of cooperation as well as its governance structure and nautical resources used. These files must be filed for all technical and operational cooperation, whatever their sizes, and must be open to feedback from other market players.

The white paper is available here.

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New Trade Deal Will Challenge U.S. Ports

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-22 17:23:11

Currently 25 port complexes are responsible for moving 85 percent of the volume of international goods in the U.S.

The largest four port complexes (New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Houston) move a combined $1.1 trillion in international goods annually, about 37 percent of all U.S. exports and imports.

This intense concentration of international freight movement underscores the importance to the national economy of the largest U.S. ports, which rely on efficient, reliable freight infrastructure to forge key international and domestic connections.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed international regulatory and trade treaty currently being negotiated, is likely to increase the movement of goods at the few ports handling most of the country’s Asian trade.

Trade deals like TPP and other international freight developments like the Panama Canal expansion have the potential to increase the flow of exports and imports across the U.S. However, tracking precisely where these flows would ultimately impact producers, consumers and distributors within the U.S. remains an open question.

“Given the TPP’s focus on Pacific trade, many West Coast port complexes that already handle large amounts of Asian imports and exports, such as Los Angeles, would likely be at the center of these exchanges,” says Joseph Kane, Brookings senior research assistant and co-author of the report, “Metro Modes: Charting a Path for the U.S. Freight Transportation Network.”

Trade Networks Impacted

Kane emphasizes that increased exports and imports stretch far beyond the ports themselves. The economic effects are likely to ripple throughout the domestic freight network, ranging from large metropolitan markets like New York and Chicago to smaller areas in Connecticut, Missouri and beyond.

Seaports, airports and land border crossings in markets like Los Angeles, Miami and Detroit, respectively, tend to handle most international goods ranging from machinery and electronics to transportation equipment. “However, only four percent of these goods ultimately start or end in these local markets. The vast majority of international goods flow to and from other parts of the U.S. once they cross over the border,” says Kane.

“In fact, the average international good travels over 1,000 miles within the U.S. to get from a port to its market, underscoring how international trade relies on an efficient, reliable and integrated domestic freight network. From the perspective of ports, these flows create an enormous logistical burden for serving hundreds of different areas across the U.S. in addition to numerous global regions. Prioritizing federal, state and local freight investments at these major ports, in turn, is crucial to the country’s economy.”

Since the nation’s busiest ports tend to operate in the largest metropolitan areas, overcoming congested roads is a key step for freight policies and investments. The sheer geographic extent of markets like New York, Los Angeles and Miami often forces port-related traffic to move through neighborhoods filled with bustling local economic activity. Historically, many of these ports also developed near the economic cores of cities, so today’s port congestion is the inevitable result.

While a variety of transportation modes help stitch these regions together, including airports, railroads and waterways, trucks serve as a backbone for the nation’s entire freight network, moving more than two-thirds of the volume of all U.S. goods annually.

At the center of these movements are the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, which account for 60 percent ($8.1 trillion) of all goods that travel by truck. In particular, metropolitan areas that adjoin each other and have similar economic specialties can depend on trucks for 90 percent or more of their freight activity, as is evident in places like Kansas City and St. Louis or Baltimore and Washington, D.C., says Kane.

“Throughout the country, regions depend on an efficient, well-integrated infrastructure network to exchange goods with other markets. Freight policies must begin to recognize how certain places and infrastructure assets are central to this network, whether it is trucks moving electronics, pipelines moving energy or air modes carrying high-value precision instruments,” he says.

Improving Reliability Is Essential

“Improving the reliability of domestic port connectors in places like Seattle and Philadelphia is essential,” says Kane. “Likewise, investing in major land border crossings, such as Detroit’s New International Trade Crossing, can help relieve congestion in busy freight corridors linking Canada to U.S. metro areas.”

“Now’s the time for federal leaders to work with state and local officials to boost investment inside and outside major ports,” says Adie Tomer, Brookings associate fellow and coauthor with Kane of a second report, “The Great Port Mismatch: U.S. Goods Trade and International Transportation.” “Public policies must recognize the hierarchy and mechanics of international trade flows. That will require a policy framework that prioritizes specific places to boost trade for the entire county.”

The two reports are part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase. More information is available here. – MarEx

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

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U.S. Crude Production Reduces Gulf Coast Imports

By MarEx 2015-06-22 15:26:45

In recent years, higher domestic production of light, tight crude oil has led to a reduction in crude oil imports. Certain types of crude oil have been affected more than others; for example, the increased economic availability of domestic light, tight crude oil has virtually eliminated Gulf Coast imports of light crude oil. In the past year, Gulf Coast imports of medium crude oil have also fallen because of increased production from the Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Permian regions.

One of the key characteristics of crude oil is its density, measured by API gravity as established by the American Petroleum Institute. Less-dense liquids have higher API gravities. Crude oils with API gravities of 35 or above are considered light; 27 to 34 are medium; less than 27 are heavy.

From the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, medium-grade crude oil imports to Gulf Coast refineries decreased 45%, from 1.5 million barrels per day (b/d) to 0.8 million b/d. On the other hand, over that same period there was a 0.4 million b/d (22%) increase in imports to Gulf Coast refineries of heavy crude oil. Improved refining margins from processing additional volumes of heavy crude have resulted in a 3% increase in gross atmospheric distillation unit (ADU) throughput in the Gulf Coast region over this period, from 8.0 million b/d to 8.2 million b/d.

Almost all medium-grade crude oil imports are from Middle Eastern countries. Gulf Coast imports of medium crude oil from Saudi Arabia decreased by 52% from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, from 0.9 million b/d to 0.4 million b/d. Similarly, Gulf Coast imports of medium crude oil from Kuwait decreased by 46% over this period, from 0.4 million b/d to 0.2 million b/d.

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U.S. Merchant Marine Academy 2015 Graduation

By MarEx 2015-06-22 14:47:22

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Class of 2015 Graduated at Kings Point, N.Y. on Saturday, June 20, 2015 and Maritime TV was there to webcast it live, thanks to the support of industry sponsors. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administrator, Paul N. ‘Chip’ Jaenichen, Sr., delivered the 79th Commencement address. This year, USMMA awarded degrees to 227 midshipmen. Click here to view the video.

Graduates represent nearly every state, as well as Malaysia, South Korea and the Republic of Panama. Approximately 2,500 guests attended the event, including family members of the graduating class, and distinguished visitors representing the federal government, flag and general officers from the U.S. Military, senior executives from the maritime industry, community leaders, alumni, faculty and staff.

Paul “Chip” Jaenichen was appointed by President Obama and sworn in as Maritime Administrator on July 25, 2014. Before his appointment, Administrator Jaenichen served as Acting Administrator beginning in June 2013. He joined the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration in July 2012 when he was appointed Deputy Maritime Administrator.

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5 Pirates Involved in Tanker Hijacking Still at Large

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-22 13:37:04

Five pirates involved in the hijacking of the Orkim Harmony are still at large, according to the latest reports from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

The 7,301 dwt Orkim Harmony and her crew were seized by pirates on June 11 and held for one week. The stolen vessel was located last Thursday and eight Indonesian pirates were apprehended the next day by the Vietnam Coast Guard. The group was reportedly trying to escape from navy ships and aircraft in the Orkim Harmony’s life boat.

However, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director-general Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar told a press conference June 22, that there were a total of 13 attackers involved in the hijacking.

The five pirates still at large are believed to have been separated from the group apprehended last week. They were responsible for manning a tugboat, which was first used to approach the Orkim Harmony. The tugboat was found abandoned in Batam, Indonesia over the weekend, however there were no signs of the pirates.

Ahmad Puzi said that all 13 assailants are believed to be professional maritime criminals based on advanced communication equipment as well as large amount of money found in their possession. Additionally, the pirates in custody have a high-degree of seafaring knowledge and criminal records for piracy.

Malaysia is in the process of extraditing the eight detained by Vietnamese authorities. The group is believed to be part of a larger piracy network, operating in Southeast Asia. The Malaysian government hopes the suspects will be able to give the whereabouts of the five pirates still at large as well as information about higher-ups in the suspected criminal organization.

The pirates reportedly attacked the Orkim Harmony with pistols and machetes. One crew member was shot through the thigh during the attack, but all others were uninjured.

Additionally, the tanker’s fuel cargo is believed to be the motivation for the attack. The Orkim Harmony was carrying 6,000 metric tons of RON 95 gasoline when it was seized, estimated to be worth $5.63 million.

According to anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP,‘very significant’ incidents including fuel syphoning have been on the rise in Southeast Asia throughout 2015. This year has already seen more severe incidents of piracy than all of 2011-2014 combined for the same period.

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