New NSW Roads, Freight and Maritime Minister named

Newly appointed New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has named Melinda Pavey as the state’s new Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister.
Pavey will replace outgoing Transport Minister Duncan Gay as part of a new-look NSW Cabinet.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) welcomed the appointment of Pavey and thanked Gay, who held the position since 2014 and was one of the original shareholding ministers during the formative years of the NHVR.
“On behalf of the NHVR Board, our Chief Executive and NHVR staff, I congratulate Melinda and confirm our commitment to working with her to reduce red tape for the heavy vehicle industry, deliver consistency across borders and boost road safety for all road users,” commented NHVR Chair, Bruce Baird, adding that he looks forward to working with Pavey to deliver ongoing reform to heavy vehicle safety and productivity.
“Duncan had a passion for the heavy vehicle industry and that showed with his support for a national regulator and the measures he delivered to improve freight and heavy vehicle transport across NSW.
“Under Duncan’s leadership, RMS and the NHVR have worked closely together to give the heavy vehicle industry certainty whether they are using local, state or national roads across NSW.
“Duncan recognised that a more efficient and safer heavy vehicle industry would deliver growth for local economies.”

Government invests $12 million in positioning technology

The Australian Government will invest $12 million in a two-year program looking into the future of positioning technology in Australia.
The funding will be used to test instant, accurate and reliable positioning by Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS). The technology could provide future safety, productivity, efficiency and environmental benefits across many industries in Australia, including transport, agriculture, construction, and resources, and the four transport sectors – aviation, maritime, rail and road.
According to a media statement released by Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, the widespread adoption of improved positioning technology has the potential to generate upwards of $73 billion of value to Australia by 2030.
Chester said, “SBAS utilises space-based and ground-based infrastructure to improve and augment the accuracy, integrity and availability of basic Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals, such as those currently provided by the US Global Positioning System (GPS).
“The future use of SBAS technology was strongly supported by the aviation industry to assist in high accuracy GPS-dependent aircraft navigation.
“Positioning data can also be used in a range of other transport applications including maritime navigation, automated train management systems and in the future, driverless and connected cars.”
The project will test SBAS technology that has the potential to improve positioning accuracy in Australia to less than five centimetres. Currently, positioning in Australia is usually accurate to five to 10 metres.
The SBAS test-bed is Australia’s first step towards joining countries such as the US, Russia, India, Japan and many across Europe in investing in SBAS technology and capitalising on the link between precise positioning, productivity and innovation.
Early this year, Geoscience Australia with the Collaborative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) will call for organisations from a number of industries including agriculture, aviation, construction, mining, maritime, rail, road, spatial, and utilities to participate in the test-bed.

4K Bridge Simulation System helps steer maritime centre into the future

Students and commercial clients now have access to the latest in state-of-the-art situation training technology thanks to $1.4 million upgrade at the Australian Maritime College, a specialist institute of the University of Tasmania.
The upgrade includes the world’s first installation of Panasonic’s ultra-high resolution 4K Full Mission Bridge Simulation Projection System, providing users with unparalleled realism.
“This upgrade provides a higher level of immersion in the simulator,” AMC Centre for Maritime Simulations Manager Damien Freeman said.
“This image is clearer, brighter and more colorful with less visible pixels, so the user experiences a more realistic perception of the simulated environment.”
AMC National Centre for Ports and Shipping Director Professor Thanasis Karlis said the $660,000 project system was part of a multi-stage upgrade which included the installation of two 360-degree tug simulators plus new desktop simulation software specialising in liquid cargo handling and engine room operations.
“These significant upgrades have allowed us to reconfigure the Centre for Maritime Simulations to meet the changing needs of our clients and students, and we’re pleased to be able to offer them the most advanced simulation training experience in the world,” Professor Karlis said.
“Our facilities are used for maritime human factors research and investigation into port development, ship manoeuvring, and improving ship and port safety. They also help bridge the gap between theory and practice in the training of ship masters and deck officers. The upgraded Panasonic projector system enhances that capability and ensure AMC continues to be a leader in maritime simulation.”
An interactive 60-inch electronic chart table has also been developed in-house to record training sessions in the ship simulator and provide clients with debriefing capabilities. The final stage of the upgrade will be the installation of a standalone touchscreen engine room simulator expected to come online mid-2016.
Mr Freeman said that touchscreen technology was a recent advancement for training simulators and would allow for a more tailored experience.
“The advantages of having touchscreeen and computer displays are that you can load a variety of different engines and bring them up to do type-specific training. So the students will be virtually trained using the engines they encounter in the real world,” he said.

Flexible coatings help protect marine structures

Both abrasive and corrosive, the marine environment is unforgiving of maritime structures such as offshore platforms and rigs, and ocean-going vessels -all of which are major investments for the companies operating them.

All activities in a marine environment are impacted by corrosion; the prevention, control and remediation of which costs industry billions of dollars each year.

One way to minimise and mitigate the effect of some types of corrosion is through the use of flexible surface coatings that are resistant to chemical attack from petroleum products and salts.

According to Denis Baker, Special Projects Engineer at Gold Coast-based Rhino Linings Australasia (RLA) "A corrosion barrier has to have durability and flexibility in addition to being impermeable to the wide range of agents that affect maritime structures."

An offshore structure is also harsh on surface coatings, both in terms of how they wear and also how they are applied.

Some of the areas most affected are the decks, superstructure, ballast tanks and anchor or chain wells.

These are both exposred to salt and other chemical agents as well as to abrasion as people and equipment move about. 

To enhance safety for personnel moving around an offshore structure or vessel, spray applied surface coatings with anti-slip properties can easily be applied to decks to provide safe walkways.

According to Baker, it is possible to minimise some of the effects of drilling operations by applying two particular Rhino Linings coatings that have been developed for maritime structures used in the oil and gas industry.

On an oil production rig, the areas where the 14 metre lengths of drill pipe are laid before being dragged across the deck and pulled up for drilling operations are prone to a large amount of damage. Most surface coatings are quickly abranded away exposing the bare metal to corrosion.

To prepare these working areas for treatment with the Rhino Linings coatings, the platform deck has to be abrasive blasted to clean off any existing coatings and also profile the surface for optimal adhesion of the primer and protective coatings.

Zinc-rich primers can then be applied to the prepared metal surface, over which a proprietaary Rhino Linings primer is rapidly sprayed.

Rhino 161 or 251 are good choices for this type of application because they have no volatile organic component (VOC) properties and can be easily and quickly applied.

For maximum protection, Rhino Pure Polyurea (for example Extreme or PP1195) is then applied over the primed area to nominal thickness of 3000 microns on the desk surface.

This final coating was chosen for its resistance to weather extremes, excellent flexibility and high impact strength.

The ability to walk a Rhino Linings surface in a matter of minutes means that a facility can be back online sooner.

A major consideration in applying any surface treatment to a structure is the requirement to minimise downtime.

Spray coating enables application and less disruption to a client's operations. "The beauty of our coatings is that they are rapid setting," said Baker.

"We can spray them on and they cure in as little as 6 seconds." Unlike all other coatings, Pure Polyureas are now affected by ambient moisture or temperature while being applied which is an important consideration when operating offshore.

"Pure Polyurea is a versatile and adaptable material that is an ideal method of protecting offshore structures," Baker added.

"To encourage further uptake by the maritime market, RLA has a portfolio of projects demonstrating the benefits and cost effectiveness of Pure Polyurea."

Where pipes are other equipment penetrate the deck areas of offshore structures, it is important that liquids do not run down the pipes to the ocean below. Most offshore rigs cover these penetrations with a butyl rubber 'boot' that is taped to the pipe and the deck.

However, the rubber of the boot and the adhesive can be degraded by UV and salt exposure in a matter of months.

To extend the operational life of the deck penetration boots, the butyl rubber and the adjacent steel surfaces are usually scuffed and cleaned prior to the appropriate Rhino Linings primer being applied.

It is important that all loose coatings, oils and dirt are thoroughly removed before apply the new flexible membrane.

Similarly, the surrounding equipment, piping and deck surfaces must be masked off to protect against over spray.

One suitable coating material to use with the boots is Rhine Pure Polyurea (PP1195). According to Baker, when applied at a thickness of 2000 microns or greater, and extending 50 mm up the pipe and 100 mm onto the deck, creates a liquid tight, weather resistant, flexible interface on all deck penetrations from 100mm in diameter with the long term durability demanded by the marine industry.

RLA has been working with spray-applied polyurethane and Pure Polyurea since the mid-1990s and now manufactures a range of consistent fromulations in Australia which are suitable for a diverse range of applications.

"Pure Polyurea is a relatively modern material that has been developing rapidly during the past 15 years," Baker said.

Pure Polyureas are formed when a liquid isocynate is mixed under high pressure with an amine-driven resin solution.

Isocyanates are reactive because the double covalent bond attaching the carbon atom to nitrogen and oxygen atoms is easily broken to form single bonds in the more stable tetrahedral configuration around the carbon atom.

The Rhino Pure Polyurea comes as a two-part solution that is mixed under high temperature and pressure (3000 psi at 65ºC) in a specially designed spray apparatus.

When applied, the excellent chemical cross linking produces a dense but flexible surface. The high density makes the coating almost impervious to abrasion, water and chemicals.

Pure Polyurea coatings 'snap cure' to form a solid surface in a few seconds and can be walked on without damage in less than a minute. Another advantage is the ability for it to be sprayed up to 6000 microns thick (and greater) on sloping or vertical surface without sagging or running. The surface of a RLA coating is easy to maintain, clean and recoat if necessary.

Whereas epoxies and paints form a solid, rigid shell, the flexibility of Pure Polyurea coatings allow them to move with the expansion and contraction of the underlying structure as temperatures change.

Rhino Linings Australasia Pty Ltd (RLA) was formed in 2001 and established manufacturing and distribution capabilities for the Australasian region. RLA manufacturers its spray applied coatings at a facility on Australia's Gold Coast and can draw on the more than 30 years experience of its American parent. The company sources all its materials from local suppliers except for some very specialised chemicals which are imported from America. 

DMCA continues successful participation in Dubai International Boat Show 2016 backed by innovation in services

Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) continues its successful participation in Dubai International Boat Show 2016 which is currently taking place at the Dubai International Marine Club and continue until March 5, 2015. 

The DMCA stand is garnering the attention of decision-makers and senior leaders from the maritime sector, who have lauded its ongoing efforts to create an integrated portfolio of smart applications and services to facilitate smart transformation of the local maritime sector.

The Authority has made valuable contributions to support the organizational efforts of the 24th edition of the most established marine event in leisure navigation sector by issuing of permits to allow visiting yachts to sail and anchor in the local territorial waters for a renewable period of 3 months.

The DMCA stand received a large turnout of visitors and water sports enthusiasts to take advantage of the marine licensing services being offered at the venue, enabling them to conduct tests to obtain the license quickly and easily. 

The marine licensing services is one of the most attractive features that is appreciated by the leaders of the maritime sector for facilitating the process of issuing marine licenses using sophisticated methodology.

This methodology verifies that marine crafts fulfills technical specifications, maritime safety regulations, local environmental requirements, and matching the unified international standards efficiently and effectively.

Smart applications were widely acclaimed as a quantum leap in terms of facilitating access to marine services around the clock via smart phones. The Authority’s smart mobile app ‘Smart DMCA,’ ‘Smart Marine Traffic,’ and ‘Smart Customer’ have received overwhelming attention from the visitors and exhibitors alike.

‘Smart Exam’ and ‘Smart Inspector’ came at the forefront as the most interactive smart applications in terms of targeted audience.

They emphasized on the importance of proactive steps undertaken by DMCA to make testing and inspection services for getting marine driving license available 24/7 via smart applications that are complied with the highest standards of reliability, transparency and excellence.

Commenting on DMCA’s continued successful participation in Dubai International Boat Show 2016, Amer Ali, Executive Director of DMCA, said: “The enormous response to our wide portfolio of interactive services and smart applications that are based on innovative practices of the Maritime Creativity Lab, reflecting the growing confidence of our local, regional and international maritime community. We primarily focus on reviewing the latest interactive services and smart applications, as we are keen to support the process of smart transformation and building the government of future that can achieve happiness of customers and community welfare in line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.”

Ali added: “Through the portfolio of marine licensing, we continue our consecutive successes in terms of establishing a strong foundation to improve performance, safety and competitiveness of the local maritime sector. Our participation in Dubai International Boat Show is a perfect opportunity for us to reach out to the maximum number of water sports enthusiasts and the owners of maritime crafts to inform them about the compatibility of the technical requirements and local and international laws in the field of maritime safety, environmental security, and operational efficiency. Our successful participation in the 24th edition of this leading maritime event gives us a new responsibility to continue the march of excellence in developing maritime legislation and creating new services to build an integrated, safe and sustainable maritime environment for achieving our ambitious goal of making Dubai one of the world’s leading maritime capitals by 2020.”

DMCA participates in Dubai International Boat Show 2016 through a special pavilion in order to raise awareness about the conditions of safe operation, environmental requirements, and safety standards to be adopted by the marine clubs as well as private and public marinas in Dubai.

The event attracts a wide participation of 800 exhibiting companies and brands from 51 countries amid impressive response from visitors who are looking to learn about the latest marine innovations and navigational products.

It also affords a wonderful opportunity to explore more than 430 boats present at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi.  

MUA protest in Newcastle against flag-of convenience shipping

250 Australian seafarers are protesting against the federal government actions that encourages Australian companies to use international crews.

A number of Maritime Union of Australia members, Labor and Greens representatives took part in a protest over foreign shipping at Nobbys Beach on Sunday morning.

Before a curious crowd of onlookers, union members painted two board-riders with molasses to simulate the potential environmental threat posed by foreign-owned “flag of convenience” ships.

MUA Newcastle branch secretary Glen Williams said watered-down legislation meant more under-regulated foreign ships trading on Australia’s coast, costing Australian jobs and posing increased risks to the environment and national security.

“Foreign ships that trade under flags of convenience have time and time again come under the spotlight for their atrocious practices when it comes to safety, environmental protection and labour rights,” Mr Williams said.

Australian shipping is supposedly protected by “cabotage” laws that restrict the right of foreign companies to operate in domestic waters.

But the union says the Coalition government has watered down the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 to the point that it is helping companies get around the legislation to hire 457-style visa crews on “temporary” licences.

Despite various court appeals, Alcoa was recently able to scrap the MV Portland, an Australian ship that had carried alumina to its Victorian smelters from Western Australia for the past 27 years.

Rally planned at PWCS as strike action continues

The long running industrial dispute at the Port of Newcastle is set to continue as coal terminal workers walk off the job again today.

Hundreds of workers will rally at Kooragang Island opposite the Port Waratah Coal Services terminals this afternoon.

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) assistant secretary Ian Bray has again stated the union's long-standing position that the goal is to reach a fair deal.

"We are determined to reach an agreement, hopefully through productive discussions with the company," Bray said.

While MUA Newcastle branch secretary Glen Williams underscored that the membership of the union is solidly behind continued action.

 “Our members, who have made this terminal highly productive and operated in a framework of harmonious labour relations for many years, continue to be greatly disappointed that the company’s continued belligerence and attacks on job security are standing in the way of a fair deal,” Williams said.

Strike action by workers at the site has seen more than 85 hours of stoppages since May 15.

The dispute between workers and PWCS has been running for over 12 months.

MUA branch secretary Mick Forbes said PWCS wants to change enterprise bargaining clauses related to dispute settlement and contracting.

Forbes described the proposed changes as “union busting”.

The MUA claim anti-union proposals in the new agreements seek to undermine the safety and health of workers and tear up longstanding settlement procedures around contract issues.

PWCS has previously told LMH it was hopeful a resolution would be reached.

“There is nothing that PWCS is proposing or seeking to negotiate in the new agreement that does not respect the rights of employees to belong to a union, or to be represented collectively,” he said.

The spokesman said contingency plans are in place to mitigate impacts to the local supply chain.

Chief executive of PWCS  Hennie du Plooy has said though he was ‘disappointed’ by continued industrial action by unions at the coal terminal, strikes had not affected the operation of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain.

More funding for Tas maritime industry

The Gillard Government has announced plans to invest over $22 million in Tasmania's maritime industry to improve infrastructure and training in the sector.

In a statement the Government said it would invest:

  • $5.2 million towards a new $8 million intermodal freight terminal at Bell Bay, to facilitate the movement of Tasmania's logging and other bulk freight, with the Tasmanian Government contributing $2.7 million

  • Almost $12 million over four years in additional funding for the Australian Maritime College (AMC) at the University of Tasmania which will allow the College to deliver specialised training to over 500 maritime students

  • $5 million to assist the Australian shipping industry meet its future workforce training needs as part of the government's shipping reforms.

The Government said Bell Bay was the state's largest heavy industrial precinct, and with direct exports to Asia reopening this year, a boost in funding was necessary to support its growth.

 

“The new terminal will make freight movements in and out of Bell Bay more efficient and generate broader economic benefits,” it said.

 

“Design plans will be finalised later this year with physical works to start in the first half of next year.”

 

The Government also said funding for the AMC would ensure the skills base was in place to support the state's maritime industry in the future.

Nationwide transport regulations at last?

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has today agreed to microeconomic reforms that will streamline the regulations applying to the nation’s $46 billion transport sector. These long-overdue reforms have the potential to boost national income by as much as $2.4 billion a year.
 
COAG has endorsed:
  • The establishment of a single national heavy vehicle regulator with responsibility for regulating all vehicles over 4.5 gross tonnes, including inspection standards, safe driving hours, mass limits and registration;
  • The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) becoming the national regulator of all commercial vessels operating in Australian waters. At the moment ASMA only regulates interstate operations; and
  • The creation of a national rail safety regulatory system and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) becoming the preferred investigator of rail accidents. Currently Australia has seven rail safety regulators, three rail safety investigators and different rules in every state.
The governments of Australia are attempting to put in place a seamless national economy – a long-overdue outcome that would lift national productivity and allow transport operators to get products onto supermarkets shelves and our exports to market at the lowest cost.
 
For example, at the moment an interstate truck driver must comply with all the regulations that apply in each of the jurisdictions they drive through. Even small differences can create extra costs, red tape and confusion for the trucking industry, particularly for the many family operators.
 
Agreement on these reforms followed the finalisation of Regulatory Impact Statements and a recommendation from the nation’s transport ministers.
 
It is proposed that all reforms will be fully implemented by 2013.  Transitional arrangements will come into effect in 2011 for heavy vehicles, maritime, and rail.
 
Example: rail freight
 
The transport ministers have unanimously voted to approve a policy and process for regulators to recognise industry-developed rail safety standards as ‘good practice’.
 
The agreed mechanism will improve the take-up of national standards across the rail sector. Common standards reduce costs where freight moves between different rail operations in the supply chain. Previously, the rail industry had to ‘prove’ its standards were robust on a case-by-case basis.
 
“This is a great example of co-regulation working successfully in the rail industry,” said general manager – safety and environment, Tim Eaton.
 
The National Transport Commission developed the National Policy Statement for the Recognition of Industry Developed Standards for Rail Safety through consultation with industry, unions and rail safety regulators. The document is available for download here:
 
 
Rail safety is based on the principle of co-regulation where safety risks are managed by industry through accreditation, including the use of technical standards. In 2007, the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board was established to develop national rail industry standards. Standards Australia owns 29 other rail standards.

Tripodi calls for more attention to ports

NSW Ports Minister Joe Tripodi has called for greater emphasis to be placed on strategic maritime issues, ports and port land-side links to promote better consistency in port regulation and national reforms.
 
Fresh from his global sojourn to find a buyer for NSW electricity assets, Mr Tripodi said this would be a key recommendation in the NSW Government’s response to the 2009 Review of the National Transport Commission (NTC).
 
“We want to elevate strategic port issues to a national level to ensure they’re given appropriate priority,” Mr Tripodi said.
 
“Australia’s ports are essential to its economic welfare, with 90 per cent of our trade going through our ports. They are dependent nodes in critical export and import supply chains.”
 
Mr Tripodi said NSW strongly supported elevating the importance of port considerations as part of the development of a national transport policy.
 
“To this end, a recommendation will be made to hold one Australian Transport Council (ATC) meeting a year to discuss strategic maritime issues and matters concerning ports and port land-side links.
 
“The aim is to promote greater consistency in port regulation and reforms nationally.”
 
Mr Tripodi said there were many strategic issues related to Commonwealth and state/ territory ports policy such as ports planning, access both from land and sea, duplication of resources, port ownership and administration, the domination of wharves by two stevedores, terminal ownership and access to terminal space for third parties, as well as infrastructure investment and who should pay.
 
Port and maritime matters to be considered as part of the development of a national transport policy would include:
How strategic port issues would be progressed at a national level. In particular, consideration of the development of a national ports strategy; and
Institutional arrangements to ensure that strategic port matters are afforded a high priority at a national level.
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