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The Publication for the Industrial Project Supply Chain Industry

Issue 1 / 2019



Modularization Brings Benefits, Challenges to Project Logistics




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12 IT’S A MOD, MOD WORLD Modularization Brings Benefits, Challenges to Project Logistics



SAL’s Archard Trims Sails for Coming Project Rebound



Specialists Run Saudi Wagon Moves



Niche Power Specialist Steps Up Gears





Middle East No Longer Employee Cash Cow

North Africa’s New Rising Energy Star






A QUESTION OF TIMING Lateral Thinking for Time-sensitive Cargoes


STORAGE OF SUBSTANCE Warehousing That Ticks More Than Boxes

Southeast Asia Blends its Energy Mix 30 T HOUGHT LEADER:





4  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

ISSUE 1 / 2019

A PORT AS BIG AS TEXAS They say everything’s bigger in Texas and as the largest breakbulk port in North America, offering over 20,000 feet of docking space and capacity to accommodate cargo of 1,000 pounds per square foot, Port Houston is ready to accommodate all types of bigger-than-life cargo. The 52 general cargo and heavy-lift City Docks have put Houston at the pinnacle of industry rankings for steel and project cargo. It’s true everything is bigger in Texas... Better too. Call or visit us online to learn more about Port Houston, The International Port of Texas.

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Long-time readers of Breakbulk magazine might notice something missing from this, the first issue of the new year. We’ve broken tradition from recent years and decided to forego our annual Outlook, in which we approached a cadre of industry executives and analysts for their views on the coming year, with specific questions for the industry. While the range of insights from all regions and industry verticals have always been well received by readers, the severe downturn and uncertainties of the past four years, coupled with discombobulation from a trade and political perspective, would lead even a heavyweight prognosticator like Nostradamus to simply shrug and Gary Burrows grumble. Frankly, after four years of trying to predict an end to the historic slump, how many different ways can one be “cautiously optimistic?” Tangible signs of a true turnaround were evident as 2018 crawled to a merciful close, with reports of requests for proposals ramping up and analysts anticipating oil prices maintaining above US$85 a barrel. However, trying to tug at threads of hope has merely seemed to unearth new tangles, along with the news of Hansa’s departure from the market (page 9). If anything, 2018 also taught us not to count our chickens before they’ve hatched. Nothing stands still, however, and despite the absence of the Outlook feature, we continue to report on and analyze trends impacting the industry, including our cover story, which explores the advancement of modularization of industrial project cargo. In “It’s a Mod, Mod World” (page 12), Paul Scott Abbott explores what the industry has learned in creating prefabricated modules for shipment, rather than stick-building in far-flung regions – and what challenges still need to be addressed. 6  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

Our “Conversations” section includes forecasts from Stratfor and A.T. Kearney, as well as thought pieces from Stratfor analyst Matthew Bey on the tariff impacts on auto trade, and Margaret J. Vaughan with the advent of Big Brother via 5G technology.


And with this issue, Breakbulk begins a new year of our global conferences and exhibitions, starting with the fourth Breakbulk Middle East which, for the first time, will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates from Feb. 11-12. The event is already breaking records for exhibitor and attendance representing 52 countries and a panorama of project cargo and breakbulk sectors. This issue, which will be distributed to Breakbulk Middle East delegates, includes features on the Middle East project market’s challenges in securing workforce (“Curse of the ‘Permanently Temporary,’ ” page 18), Morocco’s oil and gas resurgence (“Time to Shine,” page 24), and a thought piece (“Strength in the Pipeline,” page 30), by Mohammad Jaber, COO of Agility (Abu Dhabi) and a moderator for a session on alternative energy at the Breakbulk event. We also include a case study on Bahri’s efforts to supply 1,200 rail wagons from Poland to Damman for Saudi Arabia’s Green Birqr phosphate mine (“Making of a Mining Marathon,” page 31).


Also for Breakbulk, the new year brings the introduction of a redesigned website, which will have separate sub-sites for our events in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the Americas, as well as a site specifically for Breakbulk’s media products, augmenting our weekly newswire and print and digital publications. On the media side, we expect to better represent our range of industry-leading content, and to be able to develop additional features to make the website a daily destination for news and analysis. Watch for further announcements soon for the launch of these new sites.

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Gary G. Burrows / +1 904 535 5460 gary.burrows@breakbulk.com NEWS EDITOR Carly Fields carly.fields@breakbulk.com HEAD DESIGNER Catherine Dorrough DESIGNER Mark Clubb REPORTERS Paul Scott Abbott Amy McLellan Greg Borossay Lori Musser Helen Campbell Thomas Timlen Michael King Andrew Willis BREAKBULK EDITORIAL BOARD John Amos Amos Logistics

Ed Bastian

BBC Chartering

Murray Cooper

LV Shipping Group of Cos.

Dennis Devlin Geodis

John Hark

Bertling Project Logistics

Dennis Mottola Bechtel Corp.

William Moyersoen

ArcelorMittal Antwerp Logistics

Albert Pegg

Atlas Breakbulk Alliance

Dirk Visser

Dynamar D.V.

Grant Wattman

Agility Project Logistics

PORTFOLIO DIRECTOR Nick Davison Nick.Davison@ite-exhibitions.com ACCOUNT MANAGER Robert Janusauskas / +353 87 414 3737 robert.janusauskas@breakbulk.com SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe, email gary.burrows@breakbulk.com, or call from inside the U.S. +1 904 535 5460 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm EST. You can also subscribe at www.breakbulk.com/subscribe. A publication of ITE Group plc Transport & Logistics business 105 Salisbury Road London NW6 6RG, UK.

ISSUE 1 / 2019







Conversation is a forum of thought leaders, commentaries, letters, editors’ notes and note-worthy social media from Breakbulk’s audience and staff. Join in the conversation – submit your views to gary.burrows@breakbulk.com, or through Breakbulk’s social media channels on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

ADDRESSING MODULE PLANNING EARLY Going forward, modularization strategies will be more engineered, much earlier on. The costbenefit calculations between module design, transportation and construction will be much more interlinked, with logistics being a valuable contributor.”

UNCERTAINTY AND UNREST Stratfor’s 2019 Annual Forecast is characterized by uncertainty and unrest with power struggles and escalating geopolitical risk threatening to transform global development. The forecast kicks off with “the great power competition intensifies,” anticipating that the U.S. will escalate its strategic offensive against China with “tariffs, sanctions, regulatory buffers around emerging technologies, stronger backing for Taiwan and a more assertive posture in the South China Sea.” This will happen in tandem with failing arms control pacts, which could accelerate an arms race among the U.S., Russia and China. While this may create opportunities for vulnerable borderland powers, such as Poland and Taiwan, it will also create headaches for middle powers trying to find neutral ground, such as Turkey, India and Vietnam, according to Stratfor. The consultant also foresees “increased geopolitical risk for business” in 2019. It expects that the U.S., citing national security threats, will lean heavily on Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, South Korea and Taiwan to erect stronger barriers to Chinese investment. This could affect research and trade in strategic areas, from artificial intelligence to 5G network rollouts beginning in 2019. Under the heading of “Measuring trade volatility in the global economy,” Stratfor expects that a U.S. showdown

with the World Trade Organization could paralyze the body’s dispute settlement process, forcing countries into a “less predictable bilateral track to resolve their trade differences.” Meanwhile a prediction of “hairraising scenarios for Italy and Brexit” sees a “defiantly populist Italian government” posing the biggest threat to the eurozone in 2019, as concerns grow over the country’s rising debt levels and fragile banking sector. Brussels will also be focused on averting a no-deal Brexit scenario with the UK. Keeping “An eye on growing supply in global energy markets,” Stratfor expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to carefully manage oil output in 2019 to prevent a price plunge, as they offset the effects of residual Iranian exports on the market. “There is also the potential for production growth out of Iraq and Libya and a significant easing of export capacity constraints on the U.S. later in the year,” Stratfor said, adding that global liquefied natural gas markets will likely be shaken up when the U.S. takes its place as one of the top three LNG exporters in the world this year. In South America, Stratfor expects “disruptive forces at work,” epitomized by “hardline and U.S.-aligned” governments in Brazil and Colombia. Further, Brazil’s efforts to reform the Mercosur trading bloc are expected to come up against a “politically hamstrung Argentina.”

–A  ndy Young, Logistics Manager, Bechtel Oil Gas & Chemicals

For related coverage, see cover story “It’s a Mod, Mod World,” page 12


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THE YEAR AHEAD A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council has made 10 key predictions for 2019, which it believes will have important implications for the global business environment. 01. The U.S.-China trade war will intensify (see below). 02. Bitcoin will lead the consolidation and maturation of the cryptocurrency market. 03. The global trash crisis will spur innovations in waste management. 04. The global shipping industry will crash into new sulfur regulations. 05. The Xi Jinping-Vladimir Putin relationship will be the world’s most consequential bromance.

BLACK FRIDAY COMES FOR HANSA As 2018 headed mercifully to a close at press time of this issue news came of a Black Friday event that had nothing to do with finding holiday shopping bargains. Breakbulk shipping line Hansa Heavy Lift closed more than a chapter when it filed for bankruptcy, citing the “extremely challenging operating environment” in the global heavy-lift sector as a key driver for the collapse. Hansa Heavy Lift GmbH filed an application with the Hamburg District Court for the opening of insolvency proceedings and the court appointed the restructuring expert, lawyer and tax consultant Christoph Morgen as preliminary insolvency administrator. Asset management firm Oaktree Capital Management created Hansa in April 2011 from the remains of heavy-lift carrier Beluga Shipping, which had collapsed into bankruptcy two months earlier. Oaktree invested more than US$280 million in Beluga in 2010, but was unable to save it.

Hansa was started with 15 Beluga vessels, and at one point expanded its fleet to 21 ships. At its most recent, Hansa operated 11 heavy-lift vessels, focusing on the heavy-lift and super-heavy-lift sector with lifting capacities of more than 900 tonnes. Repair costs for the firm’s P-series heavy-lift fleet had reportedly added significant costs for the operator in recent months. Hansa’s plight wasn’t unexpected, but the end was. Rumors hovered that growth-mode Zeaborn was tempted to step in and whisk Hansa away from its assetmanaged straits, but a source said the issues in such a route appeared insurmountable. More details will come in this year about how Hansa’s assets will be dealt with. But with Oaktree finally pulling the plug on its investment, Zeaborn may now find a more shopper-friendly, post-Christmas market for Hansa’s assets, taking the good without the bad.

06. The global anxiety epidemic will lead to a proliferation of new products. 07. A sand shortage will grind the gears of the global construction industry. 08. The looming emerging markets credit crises will grow in both scale and scope. 09. Africa will be more connected than ever. 10. Real-life “Iron Man” will materialize in the form of exoskeletons. Spring 2019 – The U.S. tariffs on the US$200 billion list of Chinese imports increase from 10 percent to 25 percent. Summer 2019 – The U.S. imposes tariffs on US$267 billion of Chinese imports. China retaliates by increasing the tariffs on U.S. imports.

Sources: Bloomberg, A.T. Kearney analysis

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Driving Trade Deals

Tariff Decisions Could Rock Auto World



The European Union and Germany may not be so lucky. While the U.S. has 10  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com



ero hour has almost come for the White House as it decides whether or not it wants to apply additional tariffs on U.S. imports of automobiles and their parts. The commerce department must make its recommendation on whether or not the U.S. should by Feb. 17 and President Trump could act soon after. The impact of the tariffs would be far-flung. German, Japanese and Korean automakers could find themselves priced out of parts of the U.S. market, while automakers in Mexico and Canada are likely to avoid the tariffs due to the conclusion of NAFTA talks. But the widespread implementation of auto tariffs is not a forgone conclusion. Washington hopes to use the threat of tariffs on the EU, Japan and South Korea to make those countries give up concessions in other areas of trade. Beyond North American Free Trade Agreement countries, Japan and South Korea are the most likely to avoid the tariffs altogether. South Korea has already renegotiated its free-trade agreement with the U.S. and it has President Trump’s stamp of approval. If anything, South Korea could be asked to face a quota instead, and Seoul will likely accept it knowing that Korean automakers like Hyundai and Kia are already moving assembly plants to North America so a quota may never be binding. Tokyo finds itself in a similar position. Japanese automakers have been building facilities in North America for three decades and some of the cars that rate highly on “Made in USA” metrics are made by Japanese companies. But the White House wants a free trade agreement with Japan. Luckily for Japan, most of the concessions that the U.S. will want Japan already agreed to in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that the U.S. withdrew from in 2017. This means that Japan could dust off old concessions and amend them to get a deal.

agreed not to implement tariffs as the U.S. and EU negotiate on trade, the U.S. will eventually want the EU to breakdown some of its agricultural trade barriers, and there is simply no consensus in Europe to do so. Any comprehensive trade deal including the agricultural sector will need France’s approval and the sector is a non-starter for Paris. Unlike their Asian counterparts, German automakers have not moved en masse to North America and will face the brunt of tariffs if implemented. One key question remains to be seen: What is President Trump’s endgame? Is the goal of the threat to break down barriers or to put them up? Trump’s fixation on reducing trade deficits may mean that the goal is the latter and that there are few concessions that Japan, South Korea or the EU – other than quotas – can offer to appease Washington. Unlike raising tariffs on Mexico and Canada, which as they are integrated into the U.S. auto supply chain would have little blowback on the U.S. auto industry. In fact, it could be beneficial. BB Matthew Bey is a senior global analyst with Stratfor.com, a geopolitical intelligence firm providing strategic analysis and forecasting for professionals, government agencies and organizations around the world.

ISSUE 1 / 2019

Big Brother

Superfast 5G Will Come at a Price


other things. Support for 5G will require new mobile millimeter-wave radio antennas with frequencies that are about 10 times higher than current global cellular frequencies to enable the much-greater radio channel bandwidths needed to carry the super-fast data transfers of 5G. Since one of the challenges of 5G is that it’s effective only over short distances and is poorly transmitted through solid material, many new antennas will be required. Fullscale implementation will result in antennas every 10 to 12 houses in urban areas. While this may seem to be more of an aesthetic issue than a logistical one, scientists are only now identifying the carcinogenic effects of 20 years of extensive cellular (3G and 4G) phone use. 5G will massively increase radioactive exposure to everyone – even those of us not hooked to our cell phones. Just understand that with 5G benefits come detriments. Your refrigerator will be watching you … and reporting on you to your insurance company and your doctor. Your car will be watching you and reporting to the same. What else will be watching and reporting your every move? Welcome to the world of Big Brother, made possible by 5G. BB


Margaret J. Vaughan has more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of supply chain management, serving most recently as logistics manager for Wood PLC where she worked for 12 years.



ow would you feel about having a microchip the size of a grain of rice embedded in your hand so that you could communicate with “smart” devices, open your front door, operate the company printer or get into a rental car at the airport just by waving your hand? It’s not science fiction. It’s real and it’s here and it’s being done right now by a firm in Sweden called BioNyfiken. Welcome to the Internet of Things, or IoT, made possible by 5G technology. The first cellular phone I ever saw was the size of a brick, took 10 hours to charge, had a talk time of 35 minutes, and an owner who was inordinately proud of himself. Since then, cell phones and mobiles have evolved at the rate of one generation about every 10 years from 1G to the current 4G technology, also known as LTE. Each new generation is increasing its speed to accommodate data optimization and added features such as text and mobile apps. 3G technology ushered in the age of the general use of smartphones but 4G, with its 100 times faster speed and amplified features, made smartphones not only useful but necessary. Today there are more smartphones in use than people on the planet. Reportedly, 5G will be 1,000 times faster than 4G allowing for, among other things, driverless vehicles, remote medical surgeries, and the ability to track anything on a real-time basis as long as it has a microchip embedded in it. Competition in the microchip industry is decreasing costs to a point where everything can be chipped including you, your spouse, your children, and your dogs. A potential worldwide financial impact of up to US$12 trillion worldwide in goods and services by 2030 is heating up competition internationally as 5G moves mobile technology from connecting people to people and information, towards connecting people to everything. New technologies, however, require enhanced security protocols, new hardware, new software, and new infrastructure among



IT’S A MOD, MOD WORLD Modularization Brings Benefits, Challenges to Project Logistics



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n 1963, American filmmaker Stanley Kramer brought to the screen the epic comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, about a wild quest for buried treasure. More than a half-century later, as big construction projects are increasingly prefabricated into modules prior to transport to jobsite, industry is adventurously rushing into what might be described as a “mod, mod, mod, mod world,” a global order in which financial benefits also await. But, while cost savings and other gains can undoubtedly be achieved through modularization, the evolving concept brings challenges along with opportunities and is causing engineering, procurement and construction firms, or EPCs, to rethink – and even expand – their roles. “Fabrication excellence is going to be a game-changer,” Cyril Joseph Varghese, United Arab Emiratesbased global logistics director for strategy and commercial at Fluor, told Breakbulk. He added that the trend is causing major EPCs such as Fluor to look at themselves these days as EPFCs – that is engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction firms. Varghese’s Fluor colleague Chris Vertanness, vice president and director of operations for COOEC-Fluor, joint venture operator of a 500-acre fabrication yard on the coast of the South China Sea, said modularization adds challenges but can yield significant advantages over more traditional on-site “stick-build” approaches. “When a project is suited to modularization,” Vertanness said, “modularization can provide several benefits, including the cost and schedule certainty of assembling in a controlled environment. This is especially important as projects continue to become more complex. There can also be cost advantages to assembling modules in the AsiaPacific, while maintaining the same high levels of quality and safety that are expected around the world. As projects continue to choose a modular execution strategy, the number of modules being transported will similarly increase.”


Andy Young, Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals’ Houston-based logistics manager, concurred in the belief that modularization, while not always the preferred methodology, is finding increasing application in petrochemical and energy spheres and beyond, although its productive use may be limited by schedule considerations, as well as the capacity of vessels to accommodate super-large modules. “Clearly,” Young said, “modularization has benefits, but it’s not necessarily the standard for all projects. “When evaluating modular versus stick-build strategies, we take into consideration total installed costs – delivery of materials, fabrication, module transportation, construction costs and so forth,” he said. “But, in some cases, schedule may be more critical, reducing overall construction time, getting plants online quicker, allowing clients to generate product sooner. Depending on the priority of cost and schedule, there is still value in both strategies.” Young added that larger prefabricated units that cannot fit into the hold of a typical heavy-lift multipurpose vessel, or MPV, must move on specialized open-deck module carriers or extra-wide barges. “The limited availability of these assets, when compared to the heavy-lift MPV global fleet, is a concern as megaprojects increase and with it modularization.”

Cyril Varghese

Chris Vertanness



In addition, Young said, shipment of modules requires innovative handling solutions, such as reconfigurable lifting frames to allow vertical lifts from multiple points at different positions and heights. “Shipping modules is complex,” he said. “At Bechtel Logistics, we are evolving modularization through detailed transport engineering that results in the optimization of module transport, which then feeds back into module design. It’s a more holistic approach.”


Reducing module sizes to fit on MPVs that are more economical and readily available than specialized open-deck vessels may cut voyagerelated costs, Young said, but sizing of modules goes both ways. “We are also looking at increasing module sizes and using larger Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals relies upon lift-on, lift-off export jetty modules in transport of project cargoes for many liquefied natural gas projects. CREDIT: BECHTEL

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LEFT: A prefabricated platform module leaves

the COOEC-Fluor yard in Zhuhai, China, sailing for an oilfield development project about 105 miles southeast of Hong Kong in the Pearl River mouth basin of the South China Sea. RIGHT: Modules for the Kuwait Integrated

Petroleum Industries Co. Al-Zour project prepare to depart the expansive COOEC-Fluor fabrication yard in Zhuhai, China. CREDIT: FLUOR


vessels to reduce the number of tie-ins at site. Optimization – smaller or bigger – is the key.” Because of potential limitations related not only to vessels but also infrastructure Andy Young restrictions at (and getting to) Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals jobsites, Young said, it becomes all the more crucial for module planning to be addressed in the earliest stages of a project, sometimes as soon as commencement of feasibility studies. 14  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

“Going forward,” he said, “modularization strategies will be more engineered, much earlier on. The costbenefit calculations between module design, transportation and construction will be much more interlinked, with logistics being a valuable contributor.” Bechtel already deploys software including a module transportation simulation tool to meld historical and current information with simulated data to help predict delivery outcomes and expenses, and to mitigate cost and schedule risks. “Carriers, vessels and equipment are an integral part of any strategy development,” Young said. “The problems we face when basing a modularized strategy around limited assets is subsequently securing those assets when the project goes live.”

Leer, Germany-based global project carrier BBC Chartering, which boasts a fleet of 170 multipurpose and heavy-lift vessels, maintains a mission of meeting shipper demands while hoping EPC logisticians understand that, as the immensity of modules increases, the options for shipment do decrease. “Surely, EPCs are aware that, with increasing size and weight characteristics of cargoes, they have lesser shipping options,” said Raymond Fisch, BBC’s senior vice president for strategic projects. “Of course, as a carrier we appreciate simpler lifts, cargo operations and sea fastening methods,” Fisch said. “Whatever cargo design we receive, our main task as carrier is to perform according to the schedule requirements of our customers on the desired ports. “How an EPC plans and prepares its modules and components may follow not only a transport logistical plan, but also an overall engineering and construction master plan,” he said. “Hence, we deliver shipping solutions based on what is asked for.” Fluor’s Vertanness put it simply: “Modularization is creating more demand for larger vessels that can ship modules. It’s increasing the business for large vessels.” ISSUE 1 / 2019

MODULARIZATION INCREASES EXPOSURE TO RISK While frequently delivering cost and efficiency benefits, the burgeoning practice of modularization is adding to risk exposure related to oversize shipments for energy and petrochemical plants and other industry megaprojects. “As an underwriter, because of the way these things are fabricated now, we have much more exposure while these full modules are in transit than we did when things used to be stick-build,” Kevin Wolfe, global head for project cargo at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, told Breakbulk. “When the components got shipped to the site, a loss of any one of those components wasn’t a big issue to us, specifically to the physical damage portion, but also especially to the delay in startup issue,” Wolfe said. “Now that these full modules are built offshore and are then in transit to a project site, we have much greater exposure, first in the physical damage, but tremendous exposure sits in the delay in startup.” Wolfe said a complex module that might take as many as two years to fabricate presents a tremendously high value for a single shipment. Also, because a limited number of self-propelled vessels in the world fleet are able to accommodate such massive units, there is a likelihood of movement by barge, which underwriters see as riskier. “There’s a lot more risk involved to us as underwriters if you have something that’s worth US$300 million or US$400 million on a barge being towed across the ocean versus something on a semisubmersible or a heavy-lift under its own power,” he said. “There’s much more exposure for us.”


Wolfe’s loss mitigation partner on the lead New York-based Allianz marine insurance team, Capt. Andrew Kinsey, senior marine risk consultant with Allianz Risk Consulting, concurred with Wolfe that challenges accompany the modularization trend. Each man has more than four decades of industry experience. “Modularization is really in many cases defining our project cargo approaches for loss control,” Kinsey

Kevin Wolfe Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Capt. Andrew Kinsey Allianz Risk Consulting

said, noting that, in early advance evaluations, one consideration is the location and number of module fabrication facilities, sometimes called mod yards for short, as well as the number and size of modules to be assembled. Infrastructure at and on the way to jobsite, transit routings and anticipated weather conditions are other key considerations. “There are a lot of challenges,” Kinsey said. “In many cases, from a loss control side, the size and scope of modularization, or the mod yard approach, is defining our follow-on actions throughout the whole life of the project.” Wolfe said concerns mount when “a breaking point” is reached, when a module is so large, heavy and/or tall that clients may be counseled on worries that the big unit may not survive the rigors of waterborne transport. That may lead to discussions with naval architects about gravitational forces, deflection issues and other such engineering factors. “You need to make sure long before they start the first rivet in anything that it’s even able to make that transit safely, forget heavy weather or anything, just the normal transit move,” Wolfe said. “A lot of early discussion takes place regarding how big these things can get. It’s a challenge, and we try to get involved as early as possible.” If it appears too risky to move a super-huge and/or not-sturdy module, it may have to be broken down into multiple units for shipment, Wolfe said. Also, by so doing, the share of

the global fleet of vessels suitable for providing transportation increases. Kinsey said greater use of technologies such as augmented reality in early planning stages is proving helpful in determining optimum minimal-risk approaches even before any modules are assembled. Wolfe emphasized the importance of collaborating with clients, saying: “The earlier you are in that connection, the better off you’ll be.” The risk-related concerns are also acknowledged by engineering, procurement and construction firm leaders, including Andy Young, logistics manager for Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals. “We are seeing higher single insurable values which attract greater scrutiny by insurers and their marine warranty surveyors,” Young said. “Modularization of general cargo makes it critical cargo.”

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‘MOD SQUAD’ POISED FOR PROJECT MODULES The world fleet contingent capable of transporting mammoth project cargo modules – what might be termed today’s “Mod Squad” – has two clear leaders in Dutch semisubmersible operator Boskalis and Chinese open-deck ship frontrunner Zhen Hua. Dirk Visser, senior shipping consultant with Dynamar, a Netherlandsbased marine information and intelligence consultancy, said in Dirk Visser a report prepared for Breakbulk Dynamar that those two carriers unmistakably offer more module transport capabilities than competitors in their respective segments. Among semisubmersible operators, Boskalis, the Netherlands-based dredging firm that entered the heavy marine transport business with its

2013 acquisition of Dockwise, offered 19 such ships, with total deadweight tonnage of 937,400, as 2018 came to a close. Visser noted that Boskalis recently announced plans to begin divesting itself of a significant portion of its closed-stern fleet, but the process had yet to begin. “Hence, Boskalis is still by far the largest operator in the semisubmersible segment,” Visser said. The semisubmersible fleet, which is particularly important to the oil and gas industry, including for movement of offshore rigs, floating production units, platforms and modules, numbered 59 ships among operators of multiple such vessels, with Boskalis accounting for nearly one-third of the ship count. Ranking second in Visser’s accounting of semisubmersible tonnage is Zhen Hua, the in-house carrier of Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., or ZPMC, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cranes and other large steel structures. Zhen Hua is listed as providing eight semisubmersibles affording

BOSKALIS TOPS ‘MOD SQUAD’ SEMISUBMERSIBLES Carrier Country Ships Built Dwt Ø Dwt Boskalis Netherlands 19 1994 937,400 49,300 Zhen Hua China 8 1987 437,300 54,700 COSCO Heavy Transport China/Netherlands 7 2010 321,800 46,000 GPO Heavy Lift Norway 4 2019 257,200 64,300 OHT Norway 5 1987 206,500 41,300 CCCC Int. Ship. Corp China 3 1998 112,900 37,600 ZPMC-RedBox Netherlands 2 2015 103,500 51,500 Guangzhou Salvage China 2 2014 82,000 41,000 SAL Germany 2 2010 40,900 40,900 Rolldock Netherlands 5 2013 38,900 7,800 Korea Line South Korea 2 2012 30,000 15,000 OPEN-DECK Carrier Country Ships Built Dwt Ø Dwt Zhen Hua China 19 1986 787,800 41,500 DongBang South Korea 5 2009 74,300 14,900 TPI Mega Line South Korea 3 2010 54,500 18,200 ZPMC-RedBox Netherlands 2 2016 53,400 26,700 BigRoll Netherland 2 2017 41,400 20,700 BigLift Netherlands 2 2016 41,400 20,700 NYK Japan 2 2010 39,600 19,800 Source: Dynamar

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total deadweight tonnage of 437,300, followed by COSCO Heavy Transport (with seven ships totaling 321,800 dwt), Norway’s GPO Heavy Lift (with half of a purposed-built contingent of four semisubmersibles already delivered, to offer a total of 257,200 dwt when all are in place by the end of 2019) and Norway’s Offshore Heavy Transport (with five such ships totaling 206,500 dwt). Among operators of open-deck heavy-lift ships, Zhen Hua decidedly dominates, boasting 19 ships, including converted tankers and bulkers, with total deadweight tonnage of 787,800 amid a global fleet of just 35 such vessels affording total deadweight tonnage of 1,092,400. “Indeed, this may be one of the smallest defined shipping segments,” Visser said of the open-deck fleet. A distant second on the list of operators of open-deck heavy-lift vessels is DongBang, with five such ships totaling 74,300 dwt. Based in South Korea, the company specializes in transport of ship hull parts for the country’s substantial shipbuilding industry. Another South Korean carrier, TPI Mega Line, is third on the list, with three open-deck ships totaling 54,500 dwt. “It seems open-deck ships are sometimes purpose-built for a special project, with the operator hoping to find other cargo for them once the project is finished,” Visser said. One example is the development of the BigRoll joint venture of RollDock and Spliethoff’s BigLift, formed to meet module transport needs associated with the US$27 billion Yamal liquefied natural gas project in the Russian Arctic. With that work done, two of the four identical open-deck ships used in the effort have reverted to BigLift and the other two are operated by BigRoll. ISSUE 1 / 2019

In the past, he said, most shipments for projects consisted of individual pieces of equipment or pipe, but nowadays large modules are being shipped in one piece, with pipe, equipment, instrumentation, electrical units and other items already assembled together. Furthermore, Fluor is fabricating pipe at the COOECFluor yard in China and packing it in containers, the larger ones of which are shipped breakbulk, creating more activity in that sector. With increased modularization, Fluor’s Varghese said, total volumes shipped for projects could “easily quadruple,” with materials and equipment being transported to the fabrication yard, from which finished modules are later shipped to the jobsite. Varghese said Fluor sees significant opportunities to “marry” available deck space on preselected carriers with module design and dimensions, thereby increasing deck utilization and reducing per-tonne transport costs, while economies of scale may also be achieved by using sister vessels with similar grillage design.


At the same time, module sizes are continuing to increase, with skidways at the COOEC-Fluor yard designed to accommodate modules weighing as much as 50,000 tonnes – a size that may be too large to ship in one piece, particularly to sites that are remote and/or have limited water access. Vertanness said Fluor breaks virtually all projects into multiple modules, with the number and size of each determined on a project-by-project basis. Individually created execution plans pinpoint optimum module size and type based on logistics, costs and other constraints. For example, if the ultimate project site is landlocked, modules eventually will have to move via truck, therein facing over-the-road weight restrictions plus limits that may be presented by bridge strengths, utility lines and/or buildings. Recognizing that “modular-driven execution,” as Vertanness termed it, is much more complex than abiding by traditional stick-build methods, the COOEC-Fluor yard is seen by him as a vital part of an overall integrated solutions approach.

“It’s critical for the fabricator to be engaged very early in the design so that they are collaboratively involved in how the modules are designed and shipped,” Vertanness said. “That is why Fluor’s integrated solutions approach has been so impactful. “Our fabrication teams are engaged on Day One with our design and procurement teams,” he said. “This minimizes changes and delays as the project advances, helping control cost and schedule. “At Fluor, we’re using manufacturingstyle processes so that everything is designed around that module assembly in order to improve productivity.” Riches may certainly be found in modularization, and EPCs – or EPFCs – along with their transport providers obviously must work collaboratively to navigate the figurative treasure map to reach and unearth the bountiful goal. BB A professional journalist for nearly 50 years, U.S.-based Paul Scott Abbott has focused on transportation topics since the late 1980s.

Equipped to handle our customers’ needs Horizon Terminals is an International Marine Terminal, Processor and Logistics Operator. We provide tailor made solutions to the equipment and project cargo industry.


www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  17



CURSE OF THE ‘PERMANENTLY TEMPORARY’ Middle East No Longer Employee Cash Cow


he Middle East project cargo market might be booming, but securing the necessary workforce of the future faces region-specific challenges. These include managing a transient workforce, adjusting to increased demand for local content in supply and support services amid enduring cultural norms that see locals conventionally flock to the public sector, and balancing the investment economics of training local people with when to bring in talent from overseas. Middle East businesses also face the same human resources challenges that other regions do, including demand for flatter organizational structures, a drive for greater transparency, diversity and inclusion, and employees that are, understandably, seeking a work/life balance. During their years of rapid growth, some of the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, were a magnet for young professionals bored of the drizzle and grey skies of London, Rotterdam or Bremerhaven. Starting out in their bulk cargo logistics careers, looking for three or four years of lifechanging experience and a tax-free salary in the sunshine, they would eagerly take up positions in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Bahrain for a few years before returning to their home countries with new experience on their résumés and a tale to tell. Overseas recruits at a slightly later 18  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

life stage would comfortably opt to relocate their entire families from the U.S. or Europe, lured by housing and education allowances, committing to longer-term rents, school places and perhaps house sales back home, and stay for significantly longer periods. A number of the GCC economies have been built and sustained on this influx of experienced individuals from overseas to lend their professional skills in breakbulk and project cargo logistics, project management, and related port operations.


That boom – in the United Arab Emirates at least – has lulled and project investment is less frenetic. While project cargo stakeholders continue to need global talent like every other sector, there is less of a frantic scramble to entice expatriates over to Dubai or Oman. Additionally, Middle Eastbased operators have grown wise to expatriate demands, and know they no longer have to offer what can now be viewed as extravagant packages. This means expats, especially older, more experienced individuals with slightly older children in key school stages, are harder to entice as the career benefits need to overcome the opposition to uprooting their families. At the same time, some of the regional governments, mindful of the last oil price crash and the global drive for a lower carbon future, are push-


ing hard to diversify away from oil, to future-proof their workforces and to persuade young Emiratis, Kuwaitis and Omanis of the opportunities in the private sector. It’s an interesting time to be in human resources in the Middle East and no less so in project cargo recruitment. Against this background, the Middle East project cargo sector faces much the same challenges in recruitment and retention as any sector in the Middle East. At a macro level, the workforce of the GCC is not sustained by the indigenous population, no doubt a symptom of the pace of investment that began two decades ago far outpacing availability of local staff. United Arab Emirates, for example, ISSUE 1 / 2019

I have lived in UAE for 18 years, but my notice period is just one month. If we decided to part ways, I would have to leave the country if I did not find new employment.” – Mandar Apte, Project Manager, Technip FMC

comprises just 13 percent locals and 87 percent expats, from all over the world. Cultural habits, convention and the prestige of a government career mean that local populations sway towards long-term employment with the public sector and are significantly harder to attract to the private sector. This heavy reliance on overseas workers means the employment market has been of a transient nature for some time. A sector all about movement might make the project cargo sector seem the last sector to be concerned about a lack of permanence; after all, if an item under shipment from one side of the world to another stays in one place for an extended period of time, something has probably

gone wrong with the logistics. Cargoes should, by definition, be on the move, but the same does not go for employees and a key characteristic of employment in a number of Middle East nations is “permanently temporary.”


Staff retention is a major concern for GCC employers, according to a report from international recruitment firm Hays. A high degree of reliance on overseas workers in the UAE, for example, means that while the country’s employers and employees have undoubtedly benefited from recruitment flexibility and swiftness of hire and start dates, that transience is a double-edged sword that makes

it harder to plan and invest in training. UAE does not give citizenships to foreign nationals, even those who reside for 30 years. Consequently, with all overseas employees on short-term renewable contracts, the right to reside goes hand-in-hand with the job so, if the latter comes to an end and is not replaced, the right to reside also ends and the former employee must leave the country. “All the expats in UAE are permanently temporary,” said Mandar Apte, project manager with Technip FMC in Abu Dhabi. “I have lived in UAE for 18 years, but my notice period is just one month. If we decided to part ways, I would have to leave the country if I did not find new employment. That www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  19

would mean one month to close down all my activities, take my children out of school and go back to my home country. “Contracts are permanently on a renewal program. People work in UAE for long durations, but without any confidence that they will be working for a longer duration. This induces a sort of semi-permanence to the jobs market and the work environment also.” Moreover, the cost of living in the GCC has also risen with the introduction of value-added tax, or VAT, at a rate of 5 percent from Jan. 1, 2018, further reducing the financial benefits for those considering a move from elsewhere. This was another, sensible, move by GCC nations to reduce oil dependence and narrow the fiscal gaps that widened during periods of low oil prices. “Last time, there were massive job losses,” Apte said. “More than 50 percent of the UAE workforce lost their job and many had to leave the country. It’s always in people’s minds.”

Mandar Apte

Jason Trenchfield

Technip FMC



Crucially, Middle East firms are a lot more knowledgeable about the “going rate” for an expat. While certain very specialized project cargo roles, and expert-level training roles in particular, are still more likely to have to be filled by an overseas recruit rather than locally or even regionally, firms in the Middle East know they don’t now have to offer the earth to entice someone to move from the U.S. or UK to fill a position. Jason Trenchfield, a consultant with AECOM, highlighted the related generational shift. “For example, I was working with DP World 10 years ago and they would 20  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

struggle to bring over a specialized training manager from, say, the UK. Now it is very different. There is more uncertainty in Europe and the UK, but the client is more knowledgeable about the market generally. People who came to the Middle East over 10 years ago have tended to stay; it’s very family-orientated in the ports environment, younger generations often follow the older generation into the same employer, there is the tax-free salary, the pensions and, of course, the weather … people in this industry spend a lot of time outside! “So those who came over earlier are established, but others coming now find it harder and do encounter more of a brick wall in terms of their expectations. There is less project investment now, particularly in UAE and in cargo in general. Port development has lessened and the inflated salaries don’t exist anymore. The demand is coming to us, so we can pick and choose who we want. A lot of people from the UK or U.S. still expect the glory days over here.” Age is a factor too. GCC nations collectively have one of the world’s youngest populations; 40 percent of the population are under 25. The young graduates and indigenous professionals of the Middle East are no less ambitious than their counterparts in the U.S. or Europe and substantial numbers seek extended study abroad. They do return to the Middle East in large proportions, but the tendency to shun the private sector in favor of the public sector generally prevails. There is a hope that younger graduates returning, having spread their wings and become less conventional, will be less likely to be automatically drawn to a government job than perhaps their older peers.


Planning for a more sustainable future, the UAE government has implemented its Vision 2021 program. One of its aims is to increase the percentage of UAE nationals in the private sector from a very low proportion to about 5 percent to 6 percent – this still-low aspirational target serving as clear evidence of the magnitude of the issue. There are signs of a tentative shift though, as “people under 30 do have more tendency to head towards to the private sector compared with those over 30,” Apte said. “Foreign education broadens the horizons, and also there is a finite number of jobs in

Join us in Dubai 11-12 February 2019 for the following session: Tuesday, 12 February | 14:35 – 15:15

Our People, Our Future – Engaging the Leaders of Tomorrow

Investing in the local workforce ensures community sustainability while filling the knowledge gap for industry. With the percentage of young people on the rise, many governments are focusing on efforts to recruit and train young workers. How can EPCs, project owners and service providers engage these leaders of tomorrow? The panel will discuss: • The face of tomorrow’s project cargo workforce • Ways to take advantage of local workforce initiatives • Planned and existing programs

• Bridging the skills and diversity gap MODERATOR: Mandar Apte, Project Manager, Technip FMC Nadia Abdul Aziz, President, NAFL Tina Benjamin-Lea, Logistics Manager, SNC-Lavalin Suha Abdulla Obaid, Deputy CEO, Folk Group

government and the public sector and a large proportion of the UAE population is under 25. There are not enough jobs in the government and public sector to satisfy the young workforce so moving to the private sector is certainly becoming more of a reality.” Suppliers and service providers bidding for contracts in the GCC project cargo sector will certainly start finding national content growing in importance. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., or Adnoc, has taken the first step with its “in-country value,” or ICV, formula, which has been in place for little more than a year. The ICV requires all suppliers and service providers bidding on a contract to demonstrate their contribution to the UAE economy. The bidder with the highest ICV score will be asked to match the price of the cheapest bidder, moving towards a workforce and supply chain with increased national content. ISSUE 1 / 2019



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Hierarchies are also of high importance in much of the GCC. Organizational structures have started to flatten out in the UAE and the country has been a very effective testbed in investment terms for the rest of the countries in the GCC, which are beginning to show tentative signs of a shift. “Flat structures typically eliminate all managers except executive level managers, so you can run a leaner operation and get more out of your staff, which increases productivity relative to the number of people you employ,” said Hisham Alkhaldi, chief support officer at Bahri in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “Companies are not running after experienced manpower, rather [they are] targeting young talent who can be an active asset for them at low cost. Under limited supervision, they are giving good results.” Companies in the region also increasingly recognize the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace in driving business growth and differentiation. “There is strong momentum for championing a female workforce, as 22  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

ABOVE: A construction site in Abu Dhabi,

UAE, in 2008. While the project boom was frenetic for a time, the pace has lulled. CREDIT: ANDREW PARSONS/PHOTOSHOT/NEWSCOM

well as hiring and promoting women into critical and leadership roles,” Alkhaldi said. “Furthermore, building a trusted and transparent culture has also become a priority for businesses in the region.” Whatever an individual’s gender or background and whatever the location, work/life balance has become a key requirement for the vast majority of job seekers, and particularly millennials who are highly sought after as the future of business in the region. “Balanced employees tend to have greater levels of satisfaction and hence they are more productive at work,” Alkhaldi said. “Even though employees have a key role to play in ensuring work-life balance, organizations can encourage them to do so by providing a healthy and pleasant work environment. Companies must offer flexibility in work schedules, encourage vacations,

provide wellness benefits and conduct employee engagement initiatives.” The GCC nations are all looking to diversify and to build their economies on something other than the “black gold.” In the UAE for example, oil was at one point 60 percent of the economy. This dropped to about 30 percent in 2017 and the government has a target to bring it down to 20 percent by 2021. The sectors looking the most attractive for diversification and where the government is driving investment include manufacturing for sectors other than oil; travel and tourism; hospitality; financial services; and media and communications. These do not instantly scream “large pieces of project cargo” of the sort typical in the oil, power and utilities sector, so the project cargo business serving the region will need to diversify as well if it is to maintain momentum as these economies shift gears. BB Helen Campbell is a freelance journalist based in London who has specialized in energy, environment, sustainability and technology for more than 20 years.

ISSUE 1 / 2019

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TIME TO SHINE North Africa’s New Rising Energy Star

24  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

ISSUE 1 / 2019



hen it came to the distribution of oil and gas riches, it seemed Morocco had been overlooked in favor of its North African neighbors. Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ members Algeria and Libya are flush with oil and gas, Egypt is now a liquefied natural gas exporter, and even southern neighbor Mauritania, a relative newcomer to the drill bit, has yielded some significant discoveries, with a major offshore gas field under development. Morocco, however, is having its own small-scale oil and gas resurgence, with major oil companies snapping up licenses, drilling activity on the up and a material gas field under development. Indeed, at the time of writing, the drill bit was again busily grinding its way through the rocks in the east of the country near the border with Algeria on the hunt for more gas. The kingdom depends on imports for 90 percent of its energy needs, so every well counts if it is to push domestic production higher and increase the share of cleaner-burning gas in the energy mix. The operator of the latest drilling project, London-listed Sound Energy, has already found enough gas on its Tendrara project in eastern Morocco to be pushing ahead with a development that could be flowing 60 million cubic feet per day of gas in the coming years. It is described by CEO James Parsons, a former Shell executive, as the country’s “first significant scale indigenous gas production.” The Kent-based company has enjoyed a run of success targeting a proven gas play in the Triassic TAGI reservoir. As Sound’s executives like to highlight, this is an extension of Algeria’s proven geology but in a much more fiscally attractive regime. LEFT: Sound Energy on location in Eastern

Morocco. /



Earlier this year Sound awarded a consortium led by Enagás the frontend engineering design, or FEED, for the project, with a final investment decision expected towards the end of 2018 with a view to funding the US$184 million development on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis for the pipeline and central processing facility. The development envisages five new horizontal production wells, a new 20-inch, 120-kilometer pipeline to connect the gas field, which has independently certified in-place resource of 0.65 trillion cubic feet, or TCF, to the Gazoduc Maghreb Europe pipeline, with the gas used either for domestic gas-fired power or for export to Southern Europe. Sound farmed into the permit in 2015 and drilled the breakthrough wells in 2016 and 2017 when TE-6 found 28 meters of net pay and flowed 17 million cubic feet per day, or cf/d, following stimulation, and the TE-7 generated 32 million cf/d on an extended well test. The wells flowed from the TAGI reservoir, which is predominately generated from a carbonate-rich marine source rock, but the company believes there’s also significant potential in the deeper but untested Paleozoic, which was confirmed in the playopening TE-8 appraisal well of May 2017. Sound thinks this is just the beginning, however, and is on the hunt for more gas. It believes this 14,500-square-kilometer tract of desert could have as much as a 34 TCF resource, and its latest threewell drilling program is testing new plays that will calibrate these numbers. The follow-up program designed to explore three non-related play concepts on the Tendrara permit got off to a shaky start when the TE-9 well, drilled to target the TAGI and the Paleozoic, was a duster in late November, knocking almost 40 percent off the stock price. The well, having encountered poor reservoir quality rocks in the TAGI

and just missing the Paleozoic at this location, was plugged and abandoned without testing. By early December, however, the company was drilling on its second well, TE-10, designed to test a TAGI structural-stratigraphic play with a mid-case gas-in-place estimate of 2.6 TCF (and a high case of 5 TCF) as well as probing the Paleozoic. This will be followed up by TE-11, which is expected to spud in March 2019.


Project cargo players should be watching closely: some big hitters are starting to pay attention to Morocco. In early 2018 Shell and Repsol signed up to explore the 9,990-square-kilometer Tanfit exploration permit while a number of industry heavyweights, among them Eni, Woodside and Kosmos Energy, are scoping out prospects offshore where they hope to have the kind of success seen in other Atlantic Margin plays, such as Mauritania, Namibia and Brazil. Some companies believe the offshore could yield the same oil finds as Nova Scotia, which was once a neighbor before the continents drifted apart. This theory was tested earlier in 2018 when the Saipem 12000 drillship sank the Rabat Deep 1 wildcat offshore northern Morocco. Led by operator Eni (40 percent) on behalf of a consortium comprising Woodside Energy (25 percent), Chariot Oil & Gas (10 percent) and Morocco’s state oil company ONHYM (25 percent), the well was testing the JP-1 prospect with a prospective resource of 768 million barrels, but came back emptyhanded after the Jurassic carbonate reservoir was found to be tight. The consortium will now go back to the drawing board, and calibrate the well results with their seismic findings. In the near term, however, it’s the onshore opportunities that are gaining traction. AIM-quoted SDX Energy, for example, is tendering for a rig for a 12-well program starting in the second half of 2019 in a bid to grow volumes on its acreage in the onshore Rharb Basin. The Londonwww.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  25

LEFT: SDX Energy is drilling for gas in the Rharb

Basin. /

headquartered company is producing 8 million cubic feet of gas per day but its pipeline has the capacity to take 24 million cf/d. “We have the capacity to triple our production and Paul Welch that’s our next objective,” CEO SDX Energy Paul Welch said. Unusually for a small cap company, SDX Energy is a full-service gas company, owning the gas from wellhead to burner-tip and supplying local industrial users, including carmaker Peugeot. It’s an unusual model, and one forced on the company because the country, as yet, lacks a gas distribution network. 26  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com


This could change should Morocco realize its plan to become a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, importer, with the kingdom keen to increase its gas consumption for power generation to 3.5 BCM in 2025 and to develop a downstream gas market. This US$4.6 billion gas-to-power project envisages the construction of a maritime jetty to the north of the existing port of Jorf Lasfar near Casablanca for the reception and unloading of LNG tankers, an onshore LNG regasification unit with the capacity to import up to 7 billion cubic meters of gas, more than 400 kilometers of gas pipelines to connect the LNG terminal to the existing MaghrebEurope pipeline and to deliver natural gas to two combined-cycle gas turbine power plants with a combined capacity of 2.4 gigawatts located in Jorf Lasfar and Dhar Doum. The hope


is the jetty, regasification terminal and 400-kilometer pipeline will be built by 2025. Press reports suggest ministers have yet to decide whether to build an onshore terminal or to take the cheaper – and quicker – alternative of renting a floating storage and regasification unit, or FSRU. “That is being debated now, whether we should opt for FSRUs instead of an onshore facility,” Energy and Mines Minister Aziz Rabbah told reporters earlier in 2018. Existing producers don’t fear Morocco’s transition to an LNG importer. Indeed, Welch of SDX Energy believed LNG imports could bring positive changes. “We don’t see LNG landed 200 kilometers south of us as being a competitive force on price,” Welch said, pointing out that SDX Energy’s gas sells for between US$10 and US$12 per MCF. “Rather we see it being generally positive because associated with landed LNG is the infrastructure that will have to be built, the trunkline to the major cities and the smaller lines to distribute to industrial customers and residential networks. That’s the real positive of the LNG story for us.”


Morocco is certainly keen to make itself a good partner for business in a bid to attract investment and create jobs. It continues its upward journey on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index, ranked 75th in 2018, up two notches since 2017, and has one of the most attractive oil and gas fiscal regimes in the world. Those working in the kingdom are fulsome in their praise of the regulatory authorities and government officials. “ONHYM [the state oil company] has run oil and gas operations themselves and that gives them a perspective and understanding of what we’re trying to achieve,” SDX ISSUE 1 / 2019

Energy’s Welch said. “They’re also very good stewards of industry data, which means you can access data to provide context and background to your operations and that can be critical to helping on the exploration and development side.” And while Morocco’s service industry is, as yet, still quite small, there are few obstacles to importing the essential equipment, from chemicals to rigs, that are required to support a drilling campaign. “Last time we needed a drilling rig we had to mobilize one from Romania and it was relatively straightforward to bring it in,” Welch said. “Typically moving equipment around Africa is not easy, but in Morocco the time from offloading to having the rig onsite was just four to five days, which is really quite efficient and a real credit to them.” This is echoed by others. “For paperwork, as long as everything is checked on both sides, usually it is a quick clearance,” said Harry Croome of Hemisphere Freight Services Ltd. “Morocco operate with EUR1s from the UK, so if paperwork is all in order before arrival, and good partners are utilized at both ends then there is no special paperwork that is required.” Some specialist oil-and-gas cargoes may need an inspection and re-evaluation of cargo value and this is where having the right partners with local knowledge is key. “The work we have done with our partners in Morocco has been a pleasure with absolutely no issues or hardships based on the destination,” Croome said. He lists Casablanca and El Jadida as the best ports for project cargo compared with the slower customs operations of Port of Tangiers where priority is given to roll-on, roll-off vessels and truck ferries. Morocco may be a small player compared with its North African neighbors but, as those already working in the kingdom can attest, small can be beautiful. Freelance journalist Amy McLellan has been reporting on the upstream oil and gas and maritime industries for 20 years.

$ GDP 2017 US$109 billion $ FORECAST GDP GROWTH 3.5% (2019) 3.7% (2020) POPULATION 35 million Source: IMF, Fitch Solutions, World Bank, World Economic Forum

ENERGY MOVES DRIVE PROJECT NEEDS For Morocco, liquefied natural gas imports would help deliver a gas-fired future, shifting from coal and its current reliance on importing energy from its neighbor, Algeria. It would also provide feedstock for its planned push for gas-fired power generation to fuel industrial development and growth – and it’s worth noting that a big renewables push in solar and wind is also underway to deliver reliable clean energy supplies for energy-hungry homes and industrial users. Analysts at Fitch Ratings believe this industrialization strategy is one of the country’s strengths, successfully spawning new foreignfinanced manufacturing capacities, leading to a stronger diversification of exports. “Upgrades to the infrastructure along with the creation of special economic zones and improvements

in the business climate have attracted a steady flow of FDI (foreign direct investment) by large multinationals, mostly in the automotive and aeronautics industries,” Fitch analyst Mahmoud Harb said, highlighting a 10-fold surge in Morocco’s production of vehicles since 2007. Mining and tourism are also strong growth sectors for the country, but there remain a number of drags on growth. Morocco’s large agricultural sector, which accounts for 12.6 percent of GDP and 38 percent of employment, is vulnerable to weather risk, with drought in 2018 resulting in reduced outputs. The kingdom’s dependence on energy imports also weighs on the economy: 2018’s higher oil prices put pressure on the public finances. This could be a concern if budgets were to be cut as with high levels of unemployment among urban youth (around 40 percent) and rumblings of social discontent since 2016, there’s a clear need for ongoing investment in education, training and job creation. BB

www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  27


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Strength in the Pipeline Middle East Reaps Diversification Rewards


Join us in Dubai 11-12 February 2019 for the following session: Monday, 11 February 13:30 – 14:15

Diversifying for the Future: Clean and Renewable Energy in the Middle East MODERATOR: Mohammad Jaber, Agility Javier López Oliver, Abengoa Matteo Pollara, Petrofac Sune Thorleifsson, SAL Heavy Lift Session Sponsor:

30  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com



he role of the construction sector in advancing economic development cannot be understated. In the Middle East, we started 2018 with a strong pipeline of megaprojects in the region, especially in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, with construction being the largest sector with more than US$1 trillion of big and small projects, followed by transport, power and energy. As we draw closer to key economic milestones set by regional governments including UAE Vision 2021, we will see several new projects being announced and coming online, fueling a continued demand for logistics services. Projects that support the logistics industry directly, such as dedicated freezones with purpose-built infrastructure and the increasing network of airports and seaports, will strengthen the region’s trade potential. This is further to economic trends such as a rise in e-commerce, with a projected growth of 16.4 percent over the next threeand-a-half years. Agility’s Emerging Markets Logistics Index identified emerging markets to be in a period of relative stability, but not without risks in the form of tech-driven “deglobalisation.” There will be opportunities and challenges in companies producing as close to end markets as possible and incorporating technologies such as improved automation, computerization and 3D printing. With a commitment to diversifying their economies, countries in the Middle East region are encouraging non-oil growth, creating jobs and attracting new investment. Foreign direct investment remains the largest external source of finance for any developing economy. It makes up 39 percent of total incoming finance in developing economies. However, funding from within is also supporting such growth. In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi government’s economic stimulus package will create even more active space for small to medium enterprises and private-sector companies to start, grow and consolidate their businesses, as well as encourage local production.

The International Monetary Fund expects economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, countries to reach 2.4 percent in 2018, with further growth in 2019. GCC infrastructure projects will continue to see large-scale investment, with government expenditure expected to hit US$288 billion through to 2020. Overall, emerging markets growth prospects look brighter than they have in years to logistics industry executives, who say small and medium-sized companies are the most likely to benefit from fresh acceleration of those economies. Various editions of the Agility’s Annual Logistics Index have reviewed the competitiveness of these economies in terms of market size and growth, business climate, infrastructure and transport connections. It’s now easier to start or buy a business, to commercialize a good idea and to find and hire talent than ever before. BB Mohammad Jaber is COO Agility (Abu Dhabi) PJSC and Regional Director for PL,MEA for Agility.

ISSUE 1 / 2019




audi Arabia is investing heavily in its railway network as part of its Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy and reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil. The plan includes initiatives to transform Saudi Arabia into an investment powerhouse and global logistics hub, as well as a concerted push to develop several nonoil industries such as mining. The Middle Eastern country estimates that its Northern Borders region contains about 500 million tons of phosphate ore, equivalent to 7

percent of the world’s proven reserves. Phosphate is largely mined for its use as a fertilizer in the agricultural sector. Other important untapped reserves in Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region include bauxite, gold, copper and uranium. As a result of these, the G20 country intends to more than triple the mining sector’s contribution to the nation’s economic output by 2030. As part of the diversification strategy, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman recently inaugurated the first phase of a SAR85bn (US$22.7 billion) mining project in the Northern Borders region. The proposed Waad Al-Shamaal project is an industrial city that will

sit on about 440 square kilometers. As well as providing key infrastructure for the burgeoning mining industry, it will also include complexes for the production of glass and plastics, as well as an additional complex for solar energy.


Several companies outside the Middle East are already benefiting from Saudi Arabia’s push into mining. In 2015 The Greenbrier Cos. won a contract to supply more than 1,000 railway wagons to the Saudi Railway Co., which will use them to transport molten sulfur and phosphoric acid to the Waad Al-Shamaal industrial city.

ABOVE: In 2015 The Greenbrier Cos. won a contract to supply more than 1,000 railway wagons to the Saudi Railway Co., which will use them to

transport molten sulfur and phosphoric acid to the Waad Al-Shamaal industrial city. /


www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  31





wagons from Poland to Saudi Arabia



MAFI trailers purchased

Greenbrier is a U.S. company, headquartered in Lake Oswego, Oregon, which specializes in the design and construction of freight railcars and marine barges. After winning the Saudi contract in 2015 the company’s Wagony Swidnica subsidiary in Poland started to build 1,185 railway wagons to U.S. standards. Between 2016 and 2018 these railway wagons were then transported thousands of miles by rail, ship and road to the project site in Saudi Arabia. The freight forwarder for the project was ALS, a British logistics provider that specializes in the transportation of oversized, abnormal and heavy-lift cargo shipments. “We organized the whole chain from the factory in Poland up to the final destination in Nariyah in Saudi Arabia,” said Ronald Verkaik, ALS branch manager, who oversaw the two-year transportation project. 32  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

wagons by rail to the Port of Gda ńsk,” Verkaik said. To transport the Greenbrier wagons to this historic port ALS hired a Polish locomotive that could pull 30 wagons in one go. These were then left at the station immediately prior to the port where port authorities then collected them using their own locomotive and made the final short journey to the loading area at the quayside. It was important that this changeover happened relatively quickly to avoid graffiti being painted on the wagons, Verkaik said. The locomotive hired by ALS then went back to the Greenbrier factory to collect another 30 wagons, the journey taking roughly a day.



14.3 meters long, 3.2 meters wide, 4.5 meters tall TIME TAKEN


The transportation project was carried out successfully, but was not without certain difficulties. The first hurdle came in the form of different regulatory railway standards. Each 30-ton Greenbrier wagon was 14.3 meters long, 3.2 meters wide and 4.5 meters tall, too high to transport by road. Permission was therefore sought to transport the U.S.-standard wagons over the European-standard Polish railways. To do this Greenbrier produced an initial semi-finished wagon for testing by local authorities. Key areas where U.S. and European standards differ include braking technology and wagon couplers. In the end, adaptors were used to enable a Polish locomotive to pull the U.S.-standard wagons. “It took time but finally they gave the go-ahead in Poland to move these

Once quayside, the railway wagons could not be lifted using cranes on account of their design. So instead each wagon was winched onto a MAFI roll-on, roll-off trailer with embedded rails. “In the port they put a winch on a tugmaster which they could position at the beginning of the ro-ro trailer,” Verkaik said. “And then you just connect the steel cables and winch it onto the trailer. It was a fairly smooth operation.” The main lashing was done to avoid the use of steel chains, using instead Cordlash, which is a material used for one journey and then discarded. ALS hired a marine surveying company to calculate the correct lashing procedure to ensure the wagons did not move while traveling by sea. Each wagon was then lashed to its ro-ro trailer which in turn was lashed to the ship’s deck using chains. Bahri, the national shipping carrier of Saudi Arabia, carried out the transportation by sea. The company owns 92 vessels, including six multipurpose vessels that were used to transport the Greenbrier rail wagons from Poland to Saudi Arabia. The MPVs have the capacity to handle ro-ro cargo on multiple decks and are equipped with heavy-lift cranes. Bahri bought 300 MAFI trailers for the project, all with embedded rails. Sixty railway wagons were loaded onto 60 MAFI trailers and then parked in a storage area at the quayside to await the arrival of a ship. They were then loaded with tugmasters onto the main and one lower deck of the ship. ISSUE 1 / 2019

At the start of the loading procedure there were a couple of teething problems as the stevedores in Gda ńsk maneuvered the units. Initially one individual tugmaster was used to pull a ro-ro trailer onto the ship’s deck, but they struggled with the weight of the wagons. So the procedure was altered so that one tugmaster pulled each ro-ro trailer and wagon while another pushed, solving the problem. “We were probably the only carrier that was in a position to accommodate these railcars, both from a door height perspective and then from a capacity perspective,” said Matthew Luckhurst, vice president for liner services at Bahri Logistics. “And we took on over 300 MAFI trailers. That was by far the largest fleet of that particular type – the 62-foot MAFI with embedded rails.” The railway wagons were gradually loaded and transported over a 20-month period between 2016 and 2018, with one ship carrying 60 railcars departing from Gda ńsk each month. Sailing time to the destination port in Saudi Arabia was about 30 days, depending on port stoppages along the way. The ships typically did not sail direct from Poland to Saudi Arabia, instead stopping at ports like Antwerp and Bilbao before passing through the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal and on to the Port of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. “We loaded all the rail wagons with no damage, no major incident, no significant delays or disruption to either the production or the delivery schedules,” Luckhurst said. “We are extremely proud of that.”

holding the railway wagons were offloaded and driven to a storage area in the port. After customs clearance the wagons were then winched from the ro-ro trailers to low-bed trailers and then trucked to Nariyah, a small town about 250 kilometers north from Dammam. A separate truck carried each railway wagon. “It took 10 to 14 days to move the 60 wagons from each ship to the jobsite. And then we waited for the next ship to arrive,” Verkaik said. In Nariyah a ramp was used to discharge the wagons from the low-bed trailers onto the railway track using winches again. “It was a huge job, but I have to say all the parties involved worked as partners together and that helps a lot,” Verkaik said. “Everyone had the same mindset, and when there were minor issues we managed to deal with them because everyone was open to each other.”


One of the key challenges for all participants in the project was the need to remain focused, given the transportation project’s large scale and long duration. One of the risks posed by the multiple deliveries was that those involved could potentially slip into “routine mode,” leading to a higher probability of damage or accidents, Verkaik noted.

Given the sheer ambition of Saudi Arabia’s diversification plan, more large-scale transportation projects seem inevitable in the coming years. When the second phase of the Waad Al-Shamaal project in the Northern Borders region is completed, Saudi Arabia’s production of phosphate fertilizers is expected to rise to 9 million tons per year, making it the world’s second-largest producer. Saudi officials say the project is expected to create 10,000 new jobs. This is a key component of the country’s 2030 Vision strategy with unemployment hovering above 12 percent. Saudi Arabia’s diversification has already proved to be a boon for foreign companies, and Greenbrier is no exception. In October the company reached an agreement to form a joint venture with the Saudi Railway Co. under which the parties will invest and generate investments totaling 1 billion Saudi riyals (US$270 million) in the Saudi rail industry. And these projects in turn are bringing large-scale jobs for breakbulk carriers with the expertise and capacity to carry them out. BB Andrew Willis has worked as a journalist for more than a decade in countries including Argentina, Belgium and Colombia.


Dammam’s King Abdul Aziz Sea Port is the largest in the Middle East Gulf and a key link between Saudi Arabia and the outside world, exporting the kingdom’s products and importing many of the goods it needs. The port is a major export center for the oil industry, and also a key distribution center for several landlocked cities such as Riyadh, which is linked to Dammam by a railway line. Indeed, the population of Dammam city is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world, partly because of the busy port and the revenue it generates. After docking of a Bahri ship at Dammam, the 60 MAFI ro-ro trailers

A railway wagon on a trailer is loaded aboard the Bahri Jeddah in Gdańsk. / CREDIT: ALS

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Southeast Asia Blends its Energy Mix



egative press about the state of the Southeast Asia energy market, seen by many as being held hostage by decade-long political unrest in Thailand, combined with rising nationalization in Indonesia, conflict in Myanmar, and territorial disputes in Vietnam’s offshore market, belies an underlying continued strength in the sector. In August 2018, Control Risks’ Senior Partner Dane Chamorro and Great American Group’s Managing Director Thomas J. McNulty jointly penned a report for Forbes, arguing that despite long-standing challenges, regional players see longterm opportunities in Asia’s energy infrastructure. Those same players have gotten a head start over U.S. firms who have been slow to join in and risk

missing out on the potential that this market holds. Breakbulk spoke with Chamorro and McNulty to find out if their conclusions remained valid several months later. McNulty still believed that developments in Southeast Asia’s energy market are creating opportunities for providers of heavylift and project transportation services. As examples, Chamorro pointed to projects that have been initiated since August 2018, such as Exxon’s US$10 billion investment to build a petrochemical complex and liquefied natural gas terminal in Guangdong, China. “It seems now that the major international oil companies are getting in the game with local energy partners, similar to initiatives taken by Shell in Nigeria,” Chamorro said. McNulty pointed at recent moves taken by the Swire Group in the region as another indicator of positive developments.

ABOVE: A liquid natural gas plant at PT Donggi Senoro LNG in Banggai, Indonesia. /

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Dane Chamorro Control Risks

Guenther W. Bielfeld BBC Chartering


BBC Chartering’s EPC Director Guenther W. Bielfeld acknowledged some hard truths in Chamorro and McNulty’s initial findings, while maintaining a degree of optimism. “We are seeing some significant inquiries in the Southeast Asian


ISSUE 1 / 2019

Arun LNG Regasification Terminal facilities in Aceh, Indonesia. CREDIT: AZWAR AZWAR/PACIFIC PRESS/NEWSCOM

market. Although they are not all necessarily liquefied natural gas related, they will provide a massive cargo flow,” he said. He also saw major demand in the power plant sector in Indonesia and the Philippines, and opportunities related to sizable refinery upgrades being undertaken by ExxonMobil and Pertamina in Singapore and Indonesia, respectively. “While this is something that may translate into actual shipping activity in 2020 and beyond, it will also attract large shipping volumes as these projects and others in Thailand will require the production of large-scale modules in fabrication shops located in Asia,” Bielfeld said. “This is all a bit preliminary but we do share a positive market outlook.” With regard to LNG, Japan has launched a US$10 billion funding plan for Asian LNG infrastructure, and a somewhat overlooked aspect of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, is the construction of LNG pipelines along its route.

Tim Gould, the International Energy Agency’s head of world energy outlook, saw continued expansion of Southeast Asian energy demand and its infrastructure providing opportunities for a range of energy industries. “As to the outlook for specific sectors,” Gould said, “the picture is complex, since policymakers of ASEAN are targeting multiple tasks simultaneously, i.e. affordability, reliability and sustainability. Whichever pathway policymakers follow, huge investments in new infrastructure will be essential.” However, McNulty felt that the scope depends on the challenges. “In most Southeast Asian nations, the growing middle-class will require better and more efficient infrastructure investment. Two hours in Manila traffic to go a few miles will no longer be tolerated, and the solutions require capital investment and energy.” Japan, for its part, would prefer to move to natural gas and away from coal and nuclear, while China’s demand

depends on its real growth numbers and its desire to become even more dominant as an economic power.


The IEA’s Gould felt that China’s and Japan’s role in the development of the region’s infrastructure could be significant, and that this will drive more rapid and flexible expansion of the Asian LNG market. “However,” he clarified, “it does not automatically guarantee robust growth of LNG business in the face of competition against gas pipeline imports, domestic coal production and declining cost of renewable electricity.” Asia’s demand for LNG is expected to double in the next five years, according to McNulty. This projection is based on the activity he sees in the U.S. on the supply side, and the demand forecast data that he sees from Southeast and East Asia. Gould is less bullish on growth projections, although he still expects imminent growth in LNG demand. “Asia is certainly the driving force www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  35

LEFT: The BBC Greenland handed a pre-

assembled deck house shipment from South Korea to Brazil. / CREDIT: BBC CHARTERING


behind growth in demand for LNG,” Gould said. “China is the key for the moment as policymakers use gas to tackle the poor air quality in many Chinese cities.” The data for 2018 shows another year of very strong consumption growth, although some of China’s demand growth will be met by

pipeline, as the new connection to Russia ramps up in the coming years. The IEA’s five-year outlook for natural gas, Gas 2018, projects that emerging Asian markets, led by China, will account for more than half of the growth in global gas consumption to 2023, with strong effects on LNG markets.

Dwindling resources and environmental concerns are also expected to drive government planners and the market towards LNG and other alternative energy sources. Southeast Asian nations are attracted by the reliability and better margins. Gould sees change as a major driver for the region, bringing opportunities with it. “The bottom line in Southeast Asia is that increasing energy needs are likely to lead to rising consumption of all fuels and technologies. The future won’t look like the past, but how different it will be really depends on the policies that governments adopt and, in particular, how much they try to adapt the energy mix in response to energy security and environmental concerns.” IEA’s analysis considered different scenarios for the future. Looking at government plans and intentions today, coal will continue to do relatively well,

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36  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

ISSUE 1 / 2019

while natural gas and oil demand will increase steadily, and renewables will grow the fastest – helped by falling costs for wind and solar, but from a lower base. However, Gould noted, if governments adopt more stringent policies on environmental issues, that would clearly shift the balance further in favor of clean energy technologies. In relation to natural gas, Southeast Asia as a whole shifts from being a net exporter to a net importer of gas in the 2020s, the IEA’s research predicts. “The interactions between Southeast Asia and the global LNG market are set to grow considerably, requiring new investments across the gas supply chain,” Gould said. The other “fuel” to watch out for is electricity: electricity accounts for the largest share of the increase in final consumption, as rising incomes in the region translate into higher ownership of appliances and increasing demand for cooling.

and investment regimes vary by nation. “The smart money people understand that top-down, the region has substantial potential. But then they apply a bottom-up approach assessing the risks and regulatory structures on a country-by-country basis,” he said. Looking ahead, McNulty expected that LNG, and by extension natural gas, will be the dominant bridge and baseload fuel as developing nations progress toward more renewable energy capabilities.

Such opportunities bode well for companies that provide the transportation needs for the expanding energy sector in Southeast Asia. BB Thomas Timlen is a Singaporebased freelance researcher, writer and spokesperson with 28 years of experience addressing the regulatory and operational issues that impact all sectors of the maritime industry.


Does this all culminate in the ASEAN region being the world’s fourthlargest energy consumer by 2030? “The answer depends how you group the world’s consumers,” Gould said. “But there’s no question that Southeast Asia is one of the most dynamic parts of the global energy system.” In the IEA’s main scenario to 2040, Southeast Asia’s energy demand is predicted to grow by almost twothirds, representing one-tenth of the rise in global demand, as the region’s economy triples in size, and the total population grows by one-fifth with the urban population alone growing by more than 150 million people. “That is why, at the IEA, we attach great importance to our relationships with countries in this region; what happens in Southeast Asia will be critical for the future of global energy,” Gould said. Overall, the projected picture in 2040 is that China remains by far the world’s largest energy consumer, followed by the U.S. and India. Southeast Asia is in the next group, with broadly similar energy consumption to the European Union, Africa and the Middle East.” Great American Group’s McNulty takes a similar yet more nuanced approach to the question of ASEAN’s ranking by 2030. He said it can be hazardous viewing Southeast Asia as a “monolithic block,” as the trade www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  37


ROADIES TO RICHES Niche Power Specialist Steps Up Gears |


redecessor companies of energy specialist APR Energy were the progeny of visionary rock and roll roadies who recognized a widespread need to provide temporary power to large-scale but underserviced music venues. One of those visionaries was APR Chairman John Campion, who parlayed an entertainment-venue power niche into a global turnkey power plant business. APR Energy was established in 2004. It now defines itself as providing flexible, cost-effective electricity when and where clients need it, for as long as

they need it. If an earthquake disables a power grid, or a city suffers from repeated solar power lapses, or an EPC needs to power up a remote site, APR offers an energy service. Its pins on the map show operations from Myanmar to Mexico. APR President and COO Chuck Ferry said he expects global growth to continue, most notably in Australia, Europe, U.S., the Caribbean and Canada. Founded in Jacksonville, Florida, APR Energy specializes in fast-track flexible power generation. Following its 2013 acquisition of General Electric’s turbine rental business,

ABOVE: A modular power station is installed in South Australia. / 38  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com


APR Energy became one of the largest turbine rental suppliers in the world, according to Ferry. Competitors include the likes of Aggreko, Siemens and Pratt & Whitney. “We have installed more than 60 power plants totaling more than 5 gigawatts of capacity across more than 35 countries, keeping cities and industries running,” Ferry said. While a conventional power plant can take perhaps five years to build, a modular plant made with mobile technology can take just a few weeks. APR’s modules can be transported by ocean, air, rail or truck, and the power


ISSUE 1 / 2019


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is scalable and reliable – so reliable it is often used to stabilize renewable energy grids or provide supplemental generation for peak-demand periods. It can also be easily integrated into existing infrastructure. APR Energy handles engineering, procurement and construction via a turnkey approach that offers installation, operation, maintenance, security, fuel management (when needed) and flexibility and balance of plant (the infrastructure over and above the turbines such as fuel forwarding systems, high and mediumvoltage cable, transformation gear, switch gear and other connective tissue). And because APR builds, owns and operates its power plants, Ferry said customers get the electricity they need in a one-stop shop.


CHALLENGING POWER PROPOSITIONS Puerto Rico’s widespread infrastructure damage following Hurricane Maria created an immediate need for generating capacity and stabilization of the fragile power grid. Three weeks after the hurricane, with 90 percent of Puerto Rico still out of power, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its federal contractor Weston Solutions hired APR Energy to rapidly install and operate two mobile turbines at the Palo Seco power plant near San Juan. Mobile turbine technology was favored for high-power density, lower emissions and its ability to stabilize the grid – reducing the risk of

blackouts. APR installed two TM2500 turbines producing 70 megawatts. APR Energy was then awarded a separate contract to install a TM2500 at the Yabucoa power plant in southeast Puerto Rico, generating 25 megawatts of emergency power. The plant became fully operational 20 days later. Logistics were a definite challenge. Ferry said: “So many relief vessels were trying to get access to port, all at the same time. We worked closely with the Coast Guard, Customs, the port … and others. We had a great team, and terrific cooperation, which helped us move equipment through areas and along roads that were badly damaged.”

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Ferry claimed that APR’s power generation fleet is the newest in the industry and features fuel-efficient technology from GE. Because emissions control is increasingly important, APR’s feature turbine is the latest generation TM2500, a unit that is dual-fuel capable, burning diesel, natural gas, LPG, LNG and other alternative fuels. “We really specialize in aeroderivative mobile turbines that can deliver blocks of power from 5 megawatts up to 300, 400 or even 500 megawatts anywhere,” even to the far reaches of the world, Ferry said. These turbines offer up to 94 percent reduction in NOx emissions compared with diesel reciprocating engines typically found in the temporary power market, according to Ferry. Adapted jet engine technology results in a lighter, smaller turbine. The turbines require regular maintenance by highly skilled technicians and the service life of the turbines, when properly maintained, is about 25 to 30 years. “APR also deploys ancillary power plant equipment, some of which the company manufactures itself, such as containerized fuel forwarding, transformation and switchyard equipment,” Ferry said. The components are usually shipped by sea, and while most of the pieces can be containerized, the modularized aeroderivative turbines are trailermounted. Each comes in two or three trailers, which are out-of-gauge. The trailer-mounted turbines can be piggyISSUE 6 / 2018

backed on a multi-axle lowboy. The oversized loads sometimes require special permits depending on the country, but are otherwise relatively easy to move. “We can pull right up to a ship to easily load or offload. They run about 50 to 80 tons depending on the piece. They can also be moved by an Antanov aircraft – in two or three lifts. Following the earthquake in Mexico we airlifted two Gen 8 turbines for PEMEX,” Ferry said. “Over the years, GE has improved its mobile turbines. First, they have increased from 20 megawatts in older versions to 35 megawatts in the newest version,” Ferry said. They are increasingly modular and easier to transport, and fuel and heat efficiency have been improved. There have been enhancements to software, to allow newer machines to help stabilize a customer’s grid, and to lower NOx and CO2 emissions. Ferry said APR Energy’s ongoing relationship with GE and its research and development capacity has provided a continuous stream of advancements.


The well-established power rental market is highly fragmented by provider. According to the Technavio Research report, Global Power Rental Market for Utilities 2018-2022, demand is growing about 3 percent annually. The strong demand is largely due to increasing global infrastructure activity. Several takeaways from the study were reported by BusinessWire in its October 2018 review: • In 2017, the diesel generator segment accounted for nearly 70 percent of the power rental market and will continue to dominate the global market over the next five years. • In 2017, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa held the leading market share, at nearly 43 percent; 48 percent of market growth is expected to originate in the region through 2022. • Connected devices, Internet of Things and cloud computing are encouraging the development of smart and automated cities, leading to increased global power consumption and increased demand for continuous, reliable, quality power. Because mobile power can be rapidly deployed it is an obvious solution for big projects with accelerated schedules. “We have two main types of

requests for our business. One follows a natural disaster or unexpected permanent power plant outage, when there is an immediate need,” Ferry said. “Two stems from a situation where utilities and countries need replacement power for a short to midterm period when buying replacement power generation is otherwise prohibitive. For example, when a power plant operator takes large generator sets offline for maintenance, or when a large coal or nuclear plant is shifting over to renewables, they often need interim power to bridge the gap. “Renewables are especially hot now. They are coming online faster than experts may have expected just a few years ago, but they are less stable because the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow all time,” Ferry said. That leads to a third important market for APR: as older plants reach the end of their lives and are replaced with renewables, the loss in stability of the grid needs to be addressed, and fast-firing aeroderivative turbines, combined with batteries, can be a solution and effectively serve as an inexpensive form of spinning reserve.


Helping restore power quickly to industries and utilities following natural disasters and other unexpected power emergencies is another strength of fasttrack flexible power. But it also serves industry in a more structured, proactive manner. It can be used as a cost-effective bridge for permanent power that is temporarily on the blink, for distributed generation for remote locations, for rapid response following disasters, or for dedicated generation for powerintensive industries such as mining. Fast power can and does serve project owners around the globe. Ferry said: “We’ve taken a number of enquiries of late related to the oil and gas exploration boom. Some of the projects are in very remote areas where the utility company is challenged to reach the site in a timely manner. And some are for pipeline construction and compression stations from remote areas to port locations.” Ferry said this market is an important growth area for his industry. Based in the U.S., Lori Musser is a veteran shipping industry writer.

RAMPING UP THE POWER The Bangladesh Power Development Board, or BPDB, required massive supplemental power over a five-year period to complete large-scale coal and nuclear facilities under construction. APR Energy was contracted to provide 300 megawatts. The sheer size of the project was a challenge. Ferry said: “The site [near the Pangaon container terminal port in Keraniganj] wasn’t hard to get to, but the project required a tremendous amount of equipment – roughly equivalent to 8,000 20-footequivalent-units – plus diesel power plant.” In September 2018 the installation and 100-hour commissioning test was completed. The plant is owned and operated by APR Energy Bangladesh Ltd., which will also manage all fuel logistics and handling. This was one of APR Energy’s largest projects to date. “Unprecedented population growth and economic expansion make Bangladesh one of the largest electrical markets in the world,” said APR Energy Chairman John Campion. “While the country continues development and implementation of numerous long-term solutions, BPDB recognized a need for a fasttrack power solution that would help them meet their peak electricity demands over the next five years.” BB


NAVIGATING PROJECT TRADE WINDS SAL’s Archard Trims Sails for Coming Project Rebound BY GARY G. BURROWS

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uthor William Arthur Ward, who spun hundreds of inspirational maxims, once wrote “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails.” The project and breakbulk shipping industry is witnessing a change in trade winds, with rising oil prices and the return of business, and executives and analysts are throwing caution from “cautious optimism.” Justin Archard and SAL Heavy Lift GmbH, while acknowledging the growing momentum, are opting for the realist approach. Archard, corporate director, commercial division, said that, ISSUE 1 / 2019

construction, or EPC, executives, where participants spoke positively about prospects for the market and for shipper-carrier relationships. “It was nice to finally sit on the stage where even the demand side are willing, finally, to say ‘times are a-changing,’ ” Archard said. “We’re going to have to adapt to this new environment. At the same time the supply side is still reorganizing and tightening the carrier pool, to take advantage of what we see is going to be a rising market, a rising tide.”


SAL Svenja in Teesside, England. CREDIT: HARREN & PARTNER GROUP

provided oil prices remain in the US$85-per-barrel range – or higher as some analysts suggest – “then we’re talking about a freight train that’s going to be tough to stop.” However, he’s not taking for granted the depth nor the sustainability of an industry rebound. “We can prepare for everything, we can talk to each other, we can make all the plans you like, but if the macro environment goes against us – it can and it will – it won’t make any difference,” he said in an interview from the sidelines of Breakbulk Americas in Houston. Archard had earlier participated in a panel session with carrier and engineering, procurement and

In some respects, it’s not merely seeing project cargo shipping as a glass half-full, it’s acknowledging that the size of the glass has changed. “There’s one really big difference between the beginning of the last cycle and the beginning of this cycle. The last cycle we had a very small industry. My former employer, Jumbo, we were at 14 ships and we were the biggest player in town,” Archard said. “Nowadays, of course, 100 ships, 150 ships is what you’re seeing.” So, larger carriers; but another change is emptier pockets. “While we’re talking optimistically about a good market, we’re all still carrying the last 10 years with us, and those last 10 years have been ruinous for many others. It will be a long time before we see a lot of those balance sheets corrected,” he said, adding it still may not be enough for some carriers, depending on how long or how high the upcycle occurs. These same carriers have been deferring maintenance and repairs on ships, which means the question of fleet renewals, let alone expansion, will be forced sooner than anticipated. “Bad maintenance means accelerated aging. So we may see in the next few years some vessels that were built to last 20-25 years only making 15 to 17 before they hit the beach … that will be another driver of the new and changing supply and demand curve,” Archard said, adding SAL has been “very, very careful to maintain a very high level of investment. “There’s no money in the

business. The access to capital for fleet renewals and fleet expansions is just not there,” Archard said. “The KG system went bye-bye and we’ve seen a lot of the North German banks, which traditionally – or at least in the last cycle – were the expansionary facilitators, are not there anymore. And so the access to capital is simply not there. “All of which would mean in the 2020s there could be a really difficult supply/demand of ships.”


Admittedly “partly tongue in cheek” to emphasize his point, Archard said: “Freight rates need to double in the next year or so to get us back into a position where we can start to meet all of our operating expenses comfortably in order to actually make money to reinvest. That’s the part we’ve been missing for so long.” Throughout history, supply/ demand cycles in the ocean shipping industry have occasionally brought out the worst in carriers and shippers and forwarders. However there was a unity among shipping partners at Breakbulk Americas, and Archard expects the climate to last. “For a year or two we’re going to be holding hands” with EPCs and forwarders, he said. “I think we’re going to work very well with each other. A rising market benefits us, but it benefits them as well. The relationship will be healthy and collaborative and will be a nice place to be.” But, if ship scrapping begins anew, or if fleet renewals and expansions are slow in coming, as Archard suggests, hostilities could return. “There are still too few ships and too many cargoes. That would bring stress to any relationship. … We don’t like having to say no to people, but if it gets to the point where it’s too strong … that of course is going to be difficult.” Archard said SAL would continue to emphasize customer relationships and stress quality service. “Those shippers that supported us in the bad times will always be supported in the good times. That’s just the way relationships work. www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  43

RELATIONSHIPS ARE ARCHARD’S FOCUS Justin Archard is in his 19th year in the heavy-lift shipping industry, having joined Jumbo Shipping in Rotterdam in May 2000 as regional commercial manager. Jumbo moved him to Singapore to lead Southeast Asian operations as the region emerged from the “Tiger” financial crisis. He relocated to Perth, Australia, in 2007 to start an office for Jumbo, focusing on the mining and oil and gas development. After nearly 12 years with Jumbo, Archard moved to SAL Heavy Lift as managing director for the Singapore office, while working with SAL’s corporate and executive management team. He moved into his current role, corporate director, commercial division, returning to Europe in September 2015. “It would be very easy to draw back into the office and simply become an administrator. I don’t think it helps the company to be that way,” Archard said in an interview at Breakbulk Americas in Houston. “I like to be out and I still want to be talking with clients and attend events and continue the relationships I’ve had over many years, even if I’m not on the front lines nowadays. Because only then can I appreciate what my commercial staff is doing, what my operations staff is doing, and understand the pressures that are going on aboard the ships. “I need to still be as much involved in the front end of the business even though I am now on the back end of the business.”

“But on the other side, ship owners are optimistic by nature, as it is human nature to be that way. We’ll have to strike a balance between maintaining very, very close relationships with our customers, but also look for the opportunities where they are. We will be searching for those once-in-alifetime type of deals because they do come around every high cycle.”

An investment in scrubbers would benefit those ships that burn the most, he said. “Eco carriers and guys that are doing less than 20 tons a day are going to find the return on a €2 million investment being a lot longer. It kind of drives the debate on how many of the MPV vessels in the world are actually going to convert to scrubbers,” he added.



Before carriers can approach fleet renewal, they have more pressing investment decisions, brought by the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s low-sulfur regulations, which take effect Jan. 1, 2020. While some carriers have lobbied IMO to extend the deadline, neither Archard nor his company are expecting IMO to defer implementation. “It would be suicidal of the IMO or any other regulatory body to simply say, ‘we’ll give it one more year’ … It would bring chaos into the community,” he said. “I’m sitting here as an English person and I see this with Brexit as well. How ever little we know about what’s going to happen; we know that it’s going to happen. And yet we will get on with it one way or another.” Archard estimated it would cost about €2 million per ship to convert to scrubbers; otherwise a ship would have to burn low-sulfur bunker. “We’ve got 20 ships. It’s also coming at a time when there’s not a lot of money around to do the things we need. So we have to be selective. One vessel type would benefit from scrubbers and be quite marketable as well.” SAL’s fleet comprises five vessel types, all geared, ranging from 8,919 to 12,500 deadweight tons. All burn different amounts of bunker, and are different ages and designs, which impacts how costs are calculated, he said. That impacts the decision on investment. “There has to be a genuine and appreciable gain for it to be worthwhile. The return on investment has to be relatively short for it to be tolerable. If it’s five years, that’s an incredible burden on your company. If it’s two years, then you’re getting down to a manageable area,” he said.

SAL traces its history back to 1865 when the Heinrich family took delivery of its first sailing vessel. It remained family owned until “K” Line became its sole shareholder in 2011, four years after entering into a joint venture with SAL. It was renamed SAL Heavy Lift GmbH in 2012, relocated to Hamburg and entered the offshore market with a subsidiary in 2013. SAL was acquired in 2017 by the Harren & Partner Group, which maintained the company as its own brand and has sought to increase the fleet. “We’re at 20 ships today, and we were at 16 ships at this time last year,” Archard said. “As we sit here next year we will have more ships again.” Unlike major MPV carriers like Zeaborn and BBC Chartering, which have aggressively expanded in the market, SAL is not far from its ideal fleet size, Archard said. “We have no ambition to be a 50 … 60 … 100-ship company. We still want to be a very, very highly serviceoriented company, with a very high level of quite expensive resources to maintain,” he said. He anticipated between 20 and 30 vessels would fit its business plan. “The reason we need to expand is we need to develop enough margin on TCEs (time charter equivalents) to be able to pay overheads … If you’re only making US$1,000/day on 15 ships it doesn’t take you very far. You’ve got to find your sweet spot with economies of scale that actually provides you the margin to deal with your overheads,” he said. BB Gary G. Burrows has served as a business editor and journalist for more than 30 years, focusing on global supply chain logistics, customs and regulatory issues across all shipping modes.

ISSUE 1 / 2019






Lateral Thinking for Time-sensitive Cargoes

hether it is manufactur-ing parts to keep a plant up-and-running or fast-tracking an out-of-gauge part for an offshore project, getting urgent cargo to site to maintain operations is critical. While the movement of time-critical oversize items often falls to the air sector, other modes offer alternative options. At a practical level, every item shipped, regardless of size and value, has some time-critical characteristics. Demurrage is a common factor for movements by sea, motivating shippers to avoid costly delays that will generate substantial costs. Containerization brought with it a time-critical element, as manufacturers reduced warehouse inventories and the related costs, but in

so doing they simultaneously became more dependent on just-in-time delivery of components needed at specific times for the assembly line. Shippers that opt for just-in-time delivery options in turn become increasingly dependent on carriers meeting the agreed delivery schedules. Without doubt the fastest form of unhindered freight transportation is by air, with rail in second place, road in third and sea steaming along in fourth. However, the achievable or even optimum speed can be hampered by numerous factors such as the weather, traffic, congestion, strikes and human error. Road haulage can be stymied by traffic, but is capable of door-to-door operations. The cost of air freight might

appear to be prohibitive, however this mode of transport offers speed and the ability to reach remote locations. Sea transport is slow, but can handle enormous consignments. Rail rarely facilitates door-to-door shipments on its own, however rail freight rolls past road traffic.


To assess the time-critical nature of a seaborne project cargo shipment, one benchmark that is particularly useful is the agreed amount for demurrage: the higher the demurrage, the more critical timely delivery becomes. Demurrage is a charge payable to the owner of a chartered ship on failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed. www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  45

ABOVE: Time-

George Wall, managing director at construction project management CREDIT: AIR PARTNERS expert Asgard Project Solutions, described a recent project in which demurrage was the key motivating factor in developing a strategy to minimize the risk of delayed arrival at destination. “I have been involved in some timecritical delay analysis work in relation to the heavy-lift transportation of several drilling rigs. By independently monitoring the work of the shipyard our team was able to realistically forecast the load-out window and hence eliminate the demurrage costs,” Wall said. The shipyard involved is owned by one of the largest drilling rig builders in Singapore. The rigs, a series of semi-submersible drilling rigs as well as jack-up drilling rigs, were to be transported to multiple locations. The semi-submersibles were destined for Australia, the Gulf of Mexico and locations off West Africa, while the jack-ups were destined for deployment in the North Sea, off Malaysia, and off Thailand. The Asia-based rigs were transported using tugs, while those on other continents were transported using heavy-lifts. The project is ongoing. “The construction period for each rig varies from 650 to 750 days. Construction of the first rig in the seven-rig series that I was involved in commenced operations in 2009. The last of the jack-up rigs will be completed in 2019,” Wall said. critical military equipment is loaded onto an Antonov aircraft.

46  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com


When planning the moves, demurrage was a major concern, as was loss of day rate revenue. “I seem to remember that demurrage was of the order of US$70,000 per day, and loss of revenue for some of these assets was north of US$300,000 per day.” While there were liquidated damages, in practice these were capped and would not have covered all of the loss. The move to closely monitor progress at the shipyard reduced the margin of error within which delivery could be completed from an initial level of about only 50 percent accuracy to close to 90 percent accuracy, which enabled very accurate heavy-lift vessel scheduling. Both strategic and detailed monitoring of shipyard works was necessary, through a detailed resource loaded critical path program, to accurately forecast completion. The data collected during the monitoring of the shipyard work was also useful, as it identified issues unrelated to the transport that could also be rectified in real time, mitigating future costs and problems. Wall felt that companies involved with time-critical heavy-lift and project shipments would be well-advised to ensure that an appropriately detailed, resource-loaded, logically linked critical path program is in place to monitor the works, and that it is produced by someone senior and/or experienced enough to know whether it makes sense. “Both the shipyard and your own procurement also need to be monitored,” Wall added. “I would also advocate some external oversight, so as to avoid

groupthink. I really think that helps, especially when we are talking about the loss of revenue and other consequences that companies are exposed to.” Wall listed four key lessons learned during the experience: • A detailed, reliable plan is needed from day one. • The importance of regular and accurate progress monitoring. • The approach of working together with the shipyard – not against them. • The importance of reacting swiftly to problems when they arise. However, with breakbulk, project and heavy-lift cargo transport by sea, industry professionals accept that this is comparably “slow in execution” and the reality is that a 100-percent guarantee of delivery at a specific time in shipping is close to impossible.


Dispelling the myth that airfreight costs are prohibitively high for relief and aid cargo operations, Jack Burt, Air Partner’s vice president of U.S. cargo, told Breakbulk: “When working with oversized items that have urgent deadlines, aircraft charter is often the most economical solution when time is the most valuable component.” When urgency relates to saving lives, the costs are quickly found to be justifiable. For relief operations as well as conventional freight movements that demand urgency and punctuality, the Air Partner cargo division provides immediate response to global timecritical air charter requests and regularly handles complex air charter operations for various industries and market segments such as the oil and gas ISSUE 1 / 2019

industry, automotive, aviation, mining industries, humanitarian/aid groups, militaries, NGOs and others. Air Partner gives the example of a recent life-and-death situation that took place only a few months ago. Following the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yutu to the Mariana Islands in October 2018, Air Partner’s cargo charter division was called upon to deliver a wide array of supplies, equipment, vehicles and tools to rebuild and restore power to the island of Saipan on an immediate basis. To meet this challenge the U.S. cargo team completed a series of urgent, timesensitive charter flights to support these efforts, working around the clock and in conjunction with their U.K.-based operations team to deliver 4.5 million pounds of cargo within three weeks. To support these relief efforts, and since the Port of Saipan was closed indefinitely following the storm, the Air Partner cargo team arranged the transport of many large heavy-duty utility vehicles, power and light trucks, generators and various other breakbulk cargoes to Saipan using AN-124 and

B747F freighter aircraft. The use of Air Partner’s cargo charter service guaranteed quick and efficient delivery of all equipment and vehicles to ensure fast restoration of power to a vast majority of the island’s population.


Technology improvements could help to balance the scales when it comes to the cost/time ratio of different transportation modes in the future. The goal of 100 percent reliability for the slower modes may well be the stuff of fantasy now, but the speed of technological advancements is increasing at an exponential pace. Blockchain solutions are being pursued for activities far-flung from its initial application with digital currencies, while big data and artificial intelligence systems play increasingly effective roles in freight transportation. Road transport providers are looking towards big data to improve efficiencies and performance. The World Road Transport Organisation, or IRU, feels that for “gig data” technology to take hold, and for the industry to

truly benefit from it, the foundations must be in place. This means first getting the basics right, such as full transitioning to digital documentation, improving traceability, security and efficiency. This means that stakeholders must work harder to join the dots between operators, service providers, manufacturers and governments to nurture a supportive environment for innovation and digitization. Regardless of whether technology is forced upon the providers of transportation or embraced and implemented voluntarily, the Internet of Things will eventually lead to a world in which the position of every asset is known. When that day comes, calculating the time of delivery will have become a much more precise exercise, for all cargoes, time-critical or not. BB Thomas Timlen is a Singapore-based freelance researcher, writer and spokesperson with 28 years of experience addressing the regulatory and operational issues that impact all sectors of the maritime industry.

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www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  47



STORAGE OF SUBSTANCE Warehousing That Ticks More Than Boxes


mid the anarchy of the New York shopping festival season in late November in an office just off Fifth Avenue, the CEO of a major e-commerce 3PL bemoaned to Breakbulk the difficulties of finding enough storage for high-value e-commerce parcels. “In Germany we just can’t convince developers to build logistics space that we can use, it’s a constant battle,” she said. “And it’s not much better here. And what is available isn’t the sort of space we can use most of the time.” She was talking about high-value consumer products requiring minimal storage space for short periods of time – a very different set of logistics challenges compared 48  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

with those faced daily by many Breakbulk readers. The warehousing options available for, say, a generator, are, of course, far more limited than those available for iPads and Kindles. Non-standardized cargo also requires specialist onward shipment arrangements, handling, lifting, security and, sometimes, maintenance. This further reduces the available and suitable storage solutions. Shippers evaluating warehousing solutions for oversized or breakbulk goods at ports, inland terminals or other distribution centers need to check off a lengthy list before they entrust their precious cargoes to a specific storage or warehousing facility.


According to DHL Global Forwarding, when searching for storage and warehousing options, much needs to be taken into consideration, and the criteria will vary based on the individual project. For example, shippers and forwarders need to consider the nature and specifications of the cargo, the distance to/from port and destination delivery point, how the journey from storage facility to delivery is planned, and the handling capability of the storage facility – for example, lifting gear, space for maneuvering and groundbearing capacity. Case studies and security assessments should also be conducted including an assessment of the ISSUE 1 / 2019

ABOVE: Artist’s impression of Broekman’s

facility Heijplaat, Rotterdam, for Broekman Project Services. / CREDIT: BROEKMAN

experience of the facility and its personnel, while the location of the facility in terms of road, bridges, overpasses and access to barges and inland waters is another critical factor. “Depending on the project, a site visit may be required as well,” said Mads Mikkelsen, head of industrial projects, U.S., ocean freight, DHL Global Forwarding. “At DHL Industrial Projects we have a thorough and extensive vendor vetting process, which includes a screening of all vendors we use.

“This is the first step for any project we oversee to ensure all safety and security protocols are met. Some of the areas we assess are HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) policy statement, HSE manual and plan, external certification of HSE management system, example of task risk assessment, crane/lifting gear certification, HSE training register and HSE statistics.” Gary Dale Cearley, managing director XLProjects Network, stressed the importance of security, particularly in Asia where the independent forwarding and chartering network has a strong presence. “Security is a major factor here, and security takes a few forms,” he said. “You need to know that no one who isn’t authorized will have access to the storage area, whether it be a lay down yard, warehouse or other facility. It needs to be free of foreign objects that can come into contact with it. If the cargo is laden outside, it will need the best weather protection possible. The entrance and exit to the facility are also very important. The cargo should be able to pass easily.”


And then, of course, there is price and how to manage the cost-benefit analysis of what the shipper wants in his/her perfect world versus the budget available. For many in the industry, this would be the first and most important consideration once negotiations begin in earnest and decisions are made. DHL, however, takes a different tack. “Price is, of course, also a factor to some extent,” Mikkelsen said. “It really depends on what the shipper requires.

Where requested, we can offer different solutions – for example, open versus covered storage at different price points. However, we will never compromise on security and safety.” Cearley, however, believed there is invariably a trade-off, even in the best of situations, between what the shipper would like and what can be afforded. This is particularly true when the location of the project is an additional variable. “If the projects are remote often the entire facility will have to be built from the ground up, thereby limiting alternative options and the ability to negotiate a better price. In Europe and North America, it is another situation. Many times there the project owner, the manufacturer of the cargo or the logistics service provider will have their own facilities. In less-developed countries this isn’t always the case.” For many cargoes with specific requirements, a port will be the ideal location for short-term or long-term storage/warehousing given the onward distribution and handling options often available. Cearley said finding a skilled stevedore in Asia is often at the forefront of the planning process. “Stevedores vary greatly out here in Asia,” he said. “In many places you don’t have any choice who to use. For instance, offshore supply bases in Vietnam – whether they are good or bad, you are stuck. And often stuck with a high price. “Others, like in Singapore’s ports, have global reputations. If you are dealing with private ports there are often greater stevedoring options, but state-owned ports tend to keep monopolies. And that coin can flip in either direction.”


Hugo du Mez, advisor for dry bulk and breakbulk at the port of Rotterdam, believes the port offers a global one-stop shop for project and heavy-lift cargoes, including for warehousing and storage. Moreover, Europe’s largest port by volume is also enhancing its storage and terminal operations for specialist cargo. www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  49

ROTTERDAM’S HEAVY STORAGE INVESTMENT Rotterdam is making major investments designed to improve its attractiveness to breakbulk, heavylift and project cargoes. Hugo du Mez, advisor for dry bulk and breakbulk at the port, explained that heavy-lift and project cargo is of great importance to Rotterdam. “We have large industries in our hinterland focusing on supplying heavy pieces which need be stored for long or short time periods,” du Mez said. “We have indoor warehousing, fixed-temperature storage and top-class security, and we have one facility where we can store cargo weighing up to 700 tons in a warehouse. We have the facilities for loading and off-loading through floating cranes available, including up to 1,800 tons, and we have the lashing and securing expertise so there is no need to use other ports.” The bulk of Rotterdam’s project handling is for export, in particular generators, transformers and oneoff project items produced by the oil and gas, construction, offshore and heavy machinery sectors in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. While much of this cargo tends towards the heavy end of the project/breakbulk spectrum, du

Mez said the port authority was also trying to attract smaller, but still rather large, cargoes. “Anything between around 80 tonnes and 250300 tonnes is the area we’re looking for,” he added. Rotterdam is developing a new terminal complex targeting a range of project and heavy-lift cargoes, which will be located on 70 hectares of reclaimed next to existing offshore operations managed by the SIF Group. “In recent years, we have found that the oil and gas industry and other sectors were looking for better locations for mobilization and demobilization for projects, and the current facilities weren’t big enough or capable of handling multiple vessels at the same time,” du Mez said. “At the same time, we see new developments coming up for the offshore wind industry which require more space. And for future decommissioning projects we’d like to be one of the locations where platforms and underwater infrastructure can be decommissioned here on land.” Offshore Center Rotterdam is expected to address these requirements. It will provide 1,600 meters of heavy-lift berthage, with around 25 hectares of the Maasvlakte 2 development set to come on stream next year to be used in the manufacture and storage of windfarm components and other specialist cargoes.

50  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

Hugo du Mez

Rik Pek

Port of Rotterdam

Broekman Logistics

du Mez said he believes Rotterdam has an advantage over its rivals in the shipping options shippers have for preand post-warehousing. “For heavy-lift and project cargo, there is no typical way of transporting,” he said. “So we have deck carriers coming in, short-sea vessels, deep sea vessels, pontoons, barges … everything. Whatever the shipper requires, or the end receiver requires, or the shipping line requires, or the freight forwarder requires, we can accommodate it. “And remember, it’s not only the breakbulk shipping lines offering capacity on the vessels, it’s also the container-shipping lines offering capacity on their vessels and from here they have scheduled services worldwide.” With Rotterdam’s floating cranes in the port, container operations can continue on the landside while a transformer, for example, is loaded from the water side of the vessel, he said. One company at the heart of Rotterdam’s project and heavy-lift community is Broekman Logistics. Based in the Netherlands, the company supplies a range of forwarding and shipping services aimed at the project and breakbulk markets supported by three dedicated terminals at Rotterdam and Eemshaven ports offering storage, handling and onward distribution as well as access to Rotterdam’s heavy-lift and project shipping services. The company’s flagship Broekman Distriport Botlek facility, for example, is 270,000 square meters with 50,000 square meters of overflow. Open storage is 225,000 square meters while covered storage takes in almost 60,000 square meters of which 13,500 square meters is temperature controlled. All ISSUE 1 / 2019

Broekman Logistics’ flagship Broekman Distriport Botlek facility. cREDIT: BROEKMAN

of this is supported by crane capacity with lifting capacity of up to 700 tons and its own covered rail access. Managing Director Rik Pek told Breakbulk that the needs of shippers are usually simple when they are boiled down to the basics. “What they need is expertise in project cargo and someone who will get it right the first time,” he said. “All the projects are unique and specialized, and the value of the products is high so the risk of the products being damaged or delayed is also high. So at port you need to minimize value-added activities such as construction and packing where needed. Then the shippers want deliveries to schedule and without damage.”


Pek said Broekman Logistics is expanding Broekman Distriport Botlek. “At the moment we’re making investment decisions because we see an opportunity in the market for expanding the quay capacity and making sure that we have enough

available space for our key accounts which are using the warehouses,” he added. “It’s related to oil and gas, so we’ll see more activity in the North Sea, especially the Dutch contracting companies. But also the power and renewable sectors.” Onward distribution is always critical for post-warehousing in any supply chain management strategy and, forwarders report, the various shipping and modal options would generally be whittled down at the time of the tender for the storage and/or its supporting logistics contract. With access to Europe’s major waterways, rail, short sea shipping and road networks, the port of Rotterdam is well endowed. Elsewhere things can be more complicated, however. According to Mikkelsen, in the U.S. where regulations can vary by state, onward shipment has to be a priority when choosing storage. “This is, of course, part of the overall route development and solution package,” he said. “Modes of transport are analyzed at the time of the bid. Part of that is indeed a close study of each leg of the

route, including selection of vendors, for example railroad companies, as well as road permit requirements which would need to be reviewed as the turnaround time can vary state by state.” In developing countries Cearley said assessing the options and finding one suitable to the cargo and client could be a painstaking and complex task. “It isn’t just the road, rail, etc., that has to be taken into consideration but the availability of equipment in many developing countries,” he said. “Many project forwarders are non-asset based, thus the quality of subcontractors as well as their experience is king here. If it is a barge that is to be used does it have the proper registration? What are the conditions of the prime movers and trailers? Are the cranes and loading equipment up to [standard] and do the operators know what they are doing? “No one can afford cowboy firms.” BB Michael King is a multi-award-winning journalist as well as a shipping and logistics consultant.

www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  51



Gone with the Wind INCOTERMS Blow Through Confused Liabilities


• Gantry crane manufacturer/ vessel operator: Shanghai Zhen Hua Shipping Co. Ltd. (ZPMC) • Landlord port authority: Port of Felixstowe, UK (POF) • Terminal operator/stevedore: Hutchinson Ports and Terminals Intl. Hong Kong (HIT) On March 1, 2008, with high winds and a late winter storm forecast on the North Sea, the Zhen Hua 23 approached a berth at the Port of Felixstowe’s Southside Landguard Terminal in Harwich Harbour, UK.


Notwithstanding the forecast of a windstorm on the North Sea as early 52  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

as the afternoon of Feb. 28, 2008, the decision was made to berth the Zhen Hua 23 with five brand new super-postPanamax gantry cranes, each worth about US$7.9 million. Greg Borossay During heavy winds in the early Port of San Diego morning hours of March 2, 2008 the lines holding the Zhen Hua 23 at berth broke loose and the vessel was driven ashore on a nearby beach. While the vessel was adrift,


it struck an older smaller gantry crane that was utilized for short-sea operations at the Port of Felixstowe. That crane in turn struck an adjacent crane and the two collapsed like dominos. Additionally, one of the five new super-post-Panamax cranes destined for Sweden was declared a total loss. The three new cranes for the Port of Felixstowe and the fourth crane destined for the Port of Thamesport UK were undamaged. The two smaller cranes were 12 and 28 years old, respectively, so the depreciated value of these existing assets to the Port of Felixstowe could be estimated to be about US$1 million. Fortunately, there was no loss of life or injury, but in the end the parties ISSUE 1 / 2019

were left with losses approaching US$10 million. Who was negligent and who should pay?


The dispute arose as to which party’s negligence was the proximate cause of the accident given the foreseeability of and the actual forecast of high winds in the English Channel on the North Sea in early March. One argument put forward was that the master of the Zhen Hua 23 was negligent given the valuable and fragile nature of the cargo and the comparative instability of ships carrying such loads. Another argument puts the terminal staff at HIT and POF staff at fault, as they should have been aware that the windstorm was imminent and, given their local knowledge of the severity of late winter storms in the North Sea, should have known that berthing the Zhen Hua 23 at that particular location may have proved imprudent. Such was the complexity of this case that 10 years later the actual outcome is still difficult to ascertain. Public record requests for release of the Marine Accident Investigation Report have been denied. Case history suggests that in situations where joint and several liability is found among the parties that the INCOTERMS are the determining factor in settlement and claims negotiations. In a much older case from the early 1990s, Maersk, a tug operator and a crane manufacturer, were found to be jointly liable for the total loss of a gantry crane that fell into the water alongside the intended dock at the Port of Long Beach, California. Here, although all parties were liable when the tug pulled away from the dock with lines still attached to the crane, Maersk bore the entire risk of loss since the INCOTERMS were Free Alongside Ship (FAS) destination port. More recent cases have held that

the gantry crane manufacturer can still be held liable for damage that takes place after delivery because a Delivered At Terminal (DAT) destination terminal INCOTERM has been used and the crane was damaged before it had cleared U.S. Customs & Border Protection. When multiple parties are negligent, liability is generally assigned based upon the passing of risk as per the INCOTERMS utilized. Therefore, the party carrying the risk at the time of the accident pays.


A recent report from specialist insurer TT Club noted that nearly 35 percent of all claims at marine terminals involve gantry cranes. Some of these involve the breakbulk delivery of a new gantry crane or the relocation of a used gantry crane from one port to another. Port authorities and terminal operators need to be prepared to protect their interests given the high dollar value associated with these precarious breakbulk moves. A few takeaways from the above examples are:

• Be mindful of INCOTERMS and make sure that such terms are carefully selected with the help of competent maritime counsel. Legal help in advance of an accident is much cheaper than help after the fact. • Use of DAT and Delivered at Place (DAP) delivery INCOTERMS favor the port and terminal operator, while use of FAS and Free on Board (FOB) terms favor the ship operator. If you don’t know your INCOTERMS, you should learn them. • Plan ahead: Involve the manufacturer in the delivery process early on, and send your engineers and staff with navigational expertise to the place of manufacture well in advance. • Hire competent surveyors and breakbulk experts to monitor the delivery from start to finish. • Spend the money to buy quality cargo insurance – losses can be huge. BB Greg Borossay is principal of the maritime business line at the Port of San Diego. He joined the port in October 2017 and is responsible for the development of its automotive, bulk, breakbulk, container, project and carrier cargo accounts.


www.breakbulk.com  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  53


The World Bank Group's ease of doing business rankings are benchmarked to May 1, 2018, and based on the average of each economy’s ease of doing business scores for 10 topics included in the aggregate ranking. A positive change indicates an improvement in the score between 2016/17 and 2017/18 (and therefore an improvement in the overall business environment as measured by Doing Business), while a negative change indicates a deterioration. RANK ECONOMY







New Zealand







101 Fiji






















103 Dominica




Hong Kong SAR, China







104 Jordan



Korea, Rep.




Brunei Darussalam













106 Lesotho











107 Namibia




United States











United Kingdom







109 Brazil




Macedonia, FYR







110 Nepal




United Arab Emirates







111 Malawi















Taiwan, China







113 Paraguay








Puerto Rico (U.S.)



114 Ghana












Solomon Islands












West Bank & Gaza








Costa Rica



117 Eswatini











118 Bahamas











119 Argentina








Kyrgyz Republic














121 Honduras






















123 Ecuador











124 Philippines











125 Belize











126 Tajikistan











127 Uganda






















129 Barbados










St. Vincent & Grenadines 56.4


Russian Federation








Cabo Verde








South Africa



132 Nicaragua











133 Palau











134 Guyana




Czech Republic




El Salvador



135 Mozambique











136 Pakistan











137 Togo








San Marino



138 Cambodia








Bosnia & Herzegovina



139 Maldives






















141 Senegal




Slovak Republic




Saudi Arabia



142 Lebanon








St. Lucia



143 Niger











144 Tanzania











145 Mali











146 Nigeria











147 Grenada











148 Mauritania











149 Gambia








Sri Lanka






Dominican Republic

Trinidad & Tobago

Papua New Guinea

Antigua & Barbuda

Egypt, Arab Rep. Côte d'Ivoire

Iran, Islamic Rep.

St. Kitts & Nevis

Marshall Islands


1.4 -0.1

0.0 0.0

Source: Doing Business database, Doing Business 2019, World Bank Group 54  BREAKBULK MAGAZINE  www.breakbulk.com

ISSUE 1 / 2019










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