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US and Italy become leading countries in trade relations with Valenciaport



US and Italy become leading countries in trade relations with Valenciaport. Image: Port Authority of Valencia
United States and Italy have become leading countries in trade relations with Valenciaport. Image: Port Authority of Valencia
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The United States and Italy have become the first and second leading countries in trade relations with Valenciaport worldwide. As reflected in the data of the Statistical Bulletin of the Port Authority of Valencia for the month of July, in the first seven months of the year, the North American ports have mobilised 5,523,420 tonnes, which represents a growth of 22.47%, highlighting the increase in the import of US products, by more than 215%.

For its part, Italy has become Valenciaport’s second largest trading partner with 4,672,967 tonnes of goods handled and an increase of 3.5% compared to the same period the previous year. Between 1 January and 31 July, the situation of the Asian market has left China with less weight, with a total traffic volume of 3,664,901 tonnes, accumulating a decrease of 8.35% compared to the same period last year.

USA specialises in LNG, Italy in transport elements

By sectors, the United States is the main supplier of natural gas, which has made the energy sector the most dynamic in Valenciaport’s freight traffic: this sector has transported more than 2.8 million tonnes in the first seven months of the year, 113.65% more than in the same period last year. In fact, according to data from the APV’s Statistical Bulletin, natural gas entering the Port of Sagunto has tripled the total for this energy source, rising from 736,215 tonnes in 2021 to 2,220,915 in 2022.

The United States ports handled 1,382,302 tonnes of natural gas goods with Valenciaport, which means 62% of the total natural gas entering or leaving through the APV. By sectors, the main products moved between Valenciaport and the USA are construction materials (968,248 tonnes), wines, beverages, spirits and derivatives (375,867 tonnes) and chemical products (346,177 tonnes).

Goods traffic between Italy and Valenciaport is concentrated on vehicles and transport elements: so far this year, 602,572 tonnes of road traffic and 429,146 tonnes of automobiles and their parts have been handled. In total, between January and July, Valenciaport has handled 6,967,047 tonnes related to vehicles and transport elements, +2.73% more than the accumulated figure for the previous year.

Other outstanding products in relations with Italian ports are wines, beverages, alcohols and derivatives (558,755 tonnes) and chemical products (330,765 tonnes).

The main products that prevail in trade relations between China and Valenciaport are machinery, tools and spare parts (892,977 tonnes), construction materials (309,409 tonnes), chemical products (293,804 tonnes) and container cargo (252,798 tonnes).

China maintains its leadership in TEUs

In terms of the number of containers handled, China has 322,307 containers with import/export products, but still shows a decrease of 9.63% compared to the first seven months of the previous year. China is followed by the United States with 308,975 containers (-3.24%), Turkey with 158,031 (-16.49%) and Algeria with 89,888 (-23.48%). The most dynamic countries between January and June were the United Kingdom (+71.41%), Australia (+24.09%) and Greece (+23.97%).

By geographical areas, the main container market is the Mediterranean-Black Sea with 521,277 and a drop of 12.12%; followed by the Far East with 444,292 (-6.14%); and West Africa with 191,498 TEUs (-5.56%). The areas that have grown the most in these seven months have been Atlantic Europe with an increase of 53.51%, Australia (+22.81%) and South Atlantic and Gulf (+9.26%).

The global economic and geopolitical situation is reducing traffic

The APV’s Statistical Bulletin for the first seven months of the year reflects an economic scenario marked by uncertainty, the rise in fuel prices, the distortion of raw material prices and rising inflation, as is the case in other ports of the same name.

If we analyse the data for July, it can be seen that after two months of growth, the full containers of cargo (export) have decreased by 0.67% and those of unloading (import) continue to be positive, adding 3.04%. The biggest fall was in transit containers, down 19.9%. With regard to empty containers, the overall figure reflects a decrease of 4.66%. In total, TEUs stood at 443,159 in July, 9.33% less than the previous month. Something similar occurs with the total amount of goods handled, which reached 6,911,786, 2.47% less than in the same month of the previous year.

The same situation is reflected in the accumulated data for the year. Between January and July, Valenciaport has mobilised a total of 48,379,923 tonnes, 2.32% less than the same period in 2021. This situation particularly affects containerised cargo, which fell by 8.20%, while liquid and solid bulk cargo grew by 81.35% and 2.83% respectively. On the other hand, non-containerised cargo increased by 5.78%.

During these first seven months of the year, it is worth highlighting the activity of ro-ro traffic, which has grown by 4.45% and accumulated 7,803,662 tonnes. The number of Intermodal Transport Units increased by 7.31%, while the number of cars in cargo regime increased by 12.88% to 346,571 units.

With regard to TEUs, during these first seven months, a total of 3,080,763 TEUs have been mobilised, representing a decrease of 6.88%. The number of full containers fell by 7.53%, with a 7.99% increase in full containers for unloading (import), while those for loading (export) fell by 6.72% and those for transit by 12.71%. Empty containers fell by 4.5%.

In year-on-year terms, if we compare August 2021-July 2022 with the same period of the previous year, the total of goods has been more than 83.7 million tonnes with a fall of 2.32%. The total number of containers was 5,376,829, a decrease of 6.45%.

Data by sector

As a consequence of the current situation – apart from the energy sector and the vehicles and transport elements sector, which have increased sales abroad by 87.24% and 1% respectively – the APV Statistical Bulletin for the first seven months of 2022 reflects a general increase in imports and a decline in exports.

Sales abroad of most of the industries that use the docks of the València, Sagunto and Gandía precincts fell: agri-foodstuffs (-8.95%) although some products grew, such as canned food (+15.90%) and animal feed and fodder (+15.29%); construction materials (-6.38%), chemical products (-15.80%); the iron and steel sector (-16.19%) and other goods (-14.79%).

Passenger transport, at pre-pandemic levels

Another of the conclusions of the APV Bulletin is the recovery of passenger traffic. The Valenciaport docks have received 664,400 passengers between January and July of this year, which is three times the number of passengers than in 2021. Of these 249,261 are cruise passengers, a third of the total.

In year-on-year terms, between August 2022 to July 2021, the figures also show the reactivation after the standstill caused by the pandemic restrictions: thanks to the APV, Valencia has welcomed 1,062,295 passengers.

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Kongsberg Maritime to provide design and technology for new tugboats



Kongsberg Maritime to provide design and technology for new tugboats. Image: Kongsberg Maritime
Kongsberg Maritime to provide design and technology for new tugboats. Image: Kongsberg Maritime
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Kongsberg Maritime has won a contract to provide the design and equipment for two powerful salvage tugs being built by Alexandria Shipyard as main contractor on behalf of the Suez Canal Authority. The tugs will be based on Kongsberg Maritime’s UT 722 CDT Design.

The UT 722 tugboat design has a length of 71.6 metres, bollard pull of approximately 200 tonnes, and it can operate independently for up to 35 days.

Egypt’s Alexandria Shipyard successfully bid on this significant contract with the Suez Canal Authority in cooperation with Kongsberg Maritime, which is providing technical support including vessel design, main equipment deliveries, maintenance systems, and crew training. Alexandria Shipyard is the main contractor for the building and delivery of the new tugs, which are to be completed in 2025 and 2026.

“The Suez Canal Authority’s tendering process for these tugs has been going for a long time, and a large number of designers, suppliers and shipyards have been involved in this international competition. The Authority recognises the need for increased salvage capacity at the canal, which sees about 70 vessels transit each day and is responsible for about 12% of global trade by volume.” said Jørn Heltne, Kongsberg Maritime Vice President for Sales and Contracts.

He added, “The equipment and systems we are providing will ensure these tugs have trustworthy and precise handling and control, as well as the muscle needed to keep the Suez Canal open.”

The integrated equipment from KONGSBERG for each tug includes KONGSBERG Promas propulsion systems with Twin-In-Single-Out Reduction Gears, KONGSBERG bow and stern tunnel thrusters, propulsion control systems, joystick control systems, integrated bridge control systems, power electric systems including switchboards, dynamic positioning, passive stabilisation systems, deck machinery, and K-Fleet maintenance software systems.

“These new tugs will be key to ensuring the future reliability of the canal for international shippers. We look forward to working with Kongsberg Maritime to build the world’s most important tugboats!” said Rear Admiral Hossam El-Din Ezzat Kotb, Chairman of Alexandria Shipyard. The shipyard is one of the largest in Africa and the Middle East, with enormous capacity for building all vessel types, including tugboats.

“I am proud to say that Kongsberg Maritime’s cutting-edge design and world leading technology have been chosen for this prestigious contract. This is a testament to our unwavering commitment to innovation, reliability, and performance. My congratulations to our team and to Alexandria Shipyard for winning this all-important contract.” said Lisa Edvardsen Haugan, President of Kongsberg Maritime.

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Maritime professionals warn of insufficient investment in cyber security




Maritime professionals warn of insufficient investment in cyber security. Image: DNV
Maritime professionals warn of insufficient investment in cyber security. Image: DNV
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New research published by DNV reveals that less than half of maritime professionals think their organization is investing enough in cyber security at a time when vessels and other critical infrastructure are becoming increasingly networked and connected to IT systems.

While the maritime industry has focused on enhancing IT security over recent decades, the security of operational technology (OT) – which manages, monitors, controls and automates physical assets such sensors, switches, safety and navigation systems, and vessels – is a more recent and increasingly urgent risk. Three quarters (75%) of the 800 industry professionals surveyed by DNV believe that OT security is a significantly higher priority for their organization than it was just two years ago. Just one in three is confident that their organization’s OT cyber security is as strong as its IT security.

“The maritime industry is still thinking IT in an era of connected systems and assets,” says Svante Einarsson, Head of Maritime Cyber Security Advisory at DNV. “With ship systems being increasingly interconnected with the outside world, cyber-attacks on OT are likely to have a bigger impact in the future.”

DNV’s new research report Maritime Cyber Priority 2023: Staying secure in an era of connectivity reveals an almost universal expectation that cyber-attacks will disrupt ship operations in the coming years. Three quarters of maritime professionals believe a cyber incident is likely to force the closure of a strategic waterway (76%). More than half expect cyber-attacks to cause ship collisions (60%), groundings (68%), and even result in physical injury or death (56%) as an overwhelming majority (79%) of professionals say the industry considers cyber security risks to be as important as health and safety risks.

While this new era of connectivity is resulting in new vulnerabilities, it is also enabling new possibilities, according to DNV’s research. Some 87% of maritime professionals say the future of the industry relies on an increase in connected networks, and 85% say that connected technologies are helping the industry reduce emissions.

“Cyber security is a growing safety risk, perhaps even “the” risk for the coming decade,” says Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO Maritime at DNV. “But crucially, it is also an enabler of innovation and decarbonization. Because as we pursue greener, safer, and more efficient global shipping, the digital transformation of the industry is deeply dependent on securing these inter-connected assets. Making it vital that we work collaboratively to strengthen our collective cyber security.”

DNV’s wider Cyber Priority research explores the changing attitudes and approaches to cyber security in key industrial sectors, and includes a complementary report on the energy industry: Energy Cyber Priority: Closing the gap between awareness and action.

Stronger incoming regulations set a platform for cyber security investment

Tighter regulation of maritime cyber security is on the horizon as industry bodies and government authorities seek to encourage the sector to improve its security posture. Maritime organizations must prepare to comply with new rules, including the IACS Unified Requirements and the EU’s NIS2 Directive from 2024. Most maritime professionals believe that regulation provides the strongest motivator to unlock much-needed cyber security funding, according to DNV’s research. 84% believe that it will drive investment in cyber security, but only just over half are confident the effectiveness of cyber security regulation (56%) and in their ability to meet requirements. Just 36% of maritime professionals agree that complying with cyber security regulation is straightforward and almost half (44%) say that regulatory compliance requires technical knowledge that their organization does not possess in-house.

“Regulation only sets a baseline for cyber security. It doesn’t guarantee security. Rather than taking it as our goal, the maritime industry should use it as a foundation, on which to further improve and adapt to the changing threat landscape,” says Svante Einarsson, Head of Maritime Cyber Security Advisory, DNV. “As we have seen in the safety domain, regulation becomes more straightforward and effective when it is supported by industry players coming together to share knowledge. Our research indicates that the industry needs to take big steps forward in openly sharing cyber security experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly – to collectively create security best practice guidance for a safer, more sustainable maritime sector.”

Barely three in 10 (31%) maritime professionals believe that organizations are effective at sharing information and lessons learned around cyber security threats and incidents. This lack of transparency is reflected in the belief of the majority (60%) that the maritime industry lacks standards for building an effective, repeatable approach to cyber security.

In Maritime Cyber Priority 2023, DNV recommends maritime organizations take the following actions:

  • Consider cyber security as an enabler
  • Treat cyber risks like safety risks in an operational setting
  • Champion insight-sharing across the industry
  • Reframe regulation as the baseline to improve cyber security posture
  • Rethink how to manage supply chain vulnerabilities
  • Resource a strategy for more effective training
  • Maintain an ‘analogue fallback option’ amid the shift to connected systems.

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First drone vertiport in the Netherlands now operational



First drone vertiport in the Netherlands now operational. Image: Port of Rotterdam
First drone vertiport in the Netherlands now operational. Image: Port of Rotterdam
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The first drone vertiport of the Netherlands became operational, following the landing of a multirotor drone in the presence of several invited guests.

Vertiport ‘Galileo’ is located on the Future Mobility Park site at Merwehaven in Rotterdam, with a similar vertiport being located at the RDM shipyard on the other side of the Nieuwe Maas. This configuration is a prototype for a network of vertiports in the port area.

Testing in practice

In the future, drones will be used for all kinds of tasks in the Rotterdam port area, ranging from carrying out inspections and monitoring to transporting packages. This requires the establishment of a strategic network of universal take-off and landing platforms for drones, known as vertiports.

However, some experimentation is needed before then, preferably in the most realistic setting possible. These two experimental vertiports meet that need. The challenge is not so much in the technology, emphasised Tsjerk Kooistra, the Director of Dutch Drone Company, the company performing the test flight. ‘Drones are still mainly used for inspections and the next step is logistics. We can already do a lot in terms of technology, but there are still many regulatory restrictions. This demo is just a first step in alerting industry to the developments so they know this is on its way.’ Drone operators are free to carry out test flights as long as they meet all the requirements.

Next step: BVLOS flights

For this test flight, the DJI M300 RTK drone was controlled by a pilot on location. The ultimate aim is for drones to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight and for 1 operator to oversee multiple drone flights. Corridors between various areas also need to be established. Kooistra continued: ‘This enables new business cases such as freight transport and later human transport too. It’s time to put the theory into practice.’

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is playing a facilitating role in supporting drone operations in the port area. This includes providing digital support for drone traffic, which should ultimately enable large-scale operation of BVLOS flights.

Consortium partners

Vertiport ‘Galileo’ offers entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions an operational test environment to test drone services in the urban living environment within regular ‘time-slots’. This also enables simultaneous low-key demonstrations to be held. In addition to the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the organisations involved include: Future Mobility Park, IT partner Almende, drone operator Dutch Drone Company, helideck supplier Bayards, the municipality of Rotterdam and the Province of Zuid Holland.

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