September's top stories: Khalifa Port opens and the EU's emissions regulations
September saw a number of new port expansion plans announced, while Khalifa Port's first phase was completed and an Indian container terminal contract fell through. Ship-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from September 2012.
Port development is an important aspect of economic diversification in a number of oil-rich Middle Eastern nations, a process that the largest of the UAE's emirates, Abu Dhabi, has embraced with the large-scale Khalifa Port project.
At the beginning of September, the Abu Dhabi Ports Company opened the $7.2bn first phase of the port, which received its first ship from a commercial customer on 1 September.
Khalifa Port, with a 16m draft and a four kilometre quay wall, has a container capacity of 2.5 million TEUs each year, as well as 12 million tons of general cargo, including four million tons a year from the nearby Emirates Aluminium berth.
The port's official inauguration will take place at the end of 2012.
With the increasingly strict environmental controls being placed on ships, new vessel designs have been emerging with the specific goal of improving their environmental performance.
A new hull design unveiled by partners APL, DNV and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) that will be used for APL's new series of ultra-large container vessels, will form part of the most fuel-efficient ships operating on the Asia-Europe trade route, according to APL's parent company Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).
The first vessel of the new 13,800 TEU series is set for delivery in 2013 after being built at HHI's shipyard in South Korea, and will reportedly be 20% more fuel-efficient per TEU than existing designs.
Barbados last month revealed plans to further capitalise on its reputation as a tourist destination with the construction of a new cruise terminal at Sugar Point in the capital of Bridgetown.
The facility, being developed by Barbados Port, Royal Caribbean Cruise and SMI Infrastructure Solutions, will help to separate cruise and cargo operations at the existing port, as well as creating the capacity to accommodate six to seven large cruise vessels a day.
The $300m first phase involves the construction of two cruise piers, arrival and departure facilities and car parks. Dredging work for the project is expected to begin in November 2012 and be completed within two years.
After a protracted back-and-forth process during the last year, India's Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) Port has terminated its $1.5bn contract with a joint venture of ABG Shipyard and PSA International to build a fourth container terminal.
The contract was originally awarded in the summer of 2011, but the partners repeatedly backed out of signing the concession agreement for the project.
This strange hesitance reportedly stems from the JV partners' decision to part ways, with PSA International unable to continue with the project on its own due to the rules of the bidding process.
The contract was finally cancelled after partners failed to sign the agreement before the extended deadline of 10 September, with JN also claiming a security sum of more than $12m.
The European Union is set to introduce its own proposal to reduce emissions from shipping in the next few months, a move reportedly prompted by a lack of action from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
"We are including different types of measures, ranging from measurement, reporting and verification, to technical standards, to setting baselines," said the head of the European Commission's international carbon market unit Elina Bardram.
The European Parliament has also announced legislation to reduce sulphur levels in shipping fuel used in EU waters from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2020.
For its part, the IMO has responded that it has already introduced mandatory efficiency measures and formed a group to evaluate proposals on market-based mechanisms.
Taiwan, in continuing its heavy investment in national infrastructure, announced last month that it would spend around $2.2bn during the next two years on six port projects, as part of the Major Port Construction for International Harbour programme.
The municipality of Kaohsiung is set to receive $1.45bn of the funds to kickstart a number of projects, including the second stage construction of the Intercontinental Container Terminal, the refurbishment of three piers and the construction of elevated roads.
Along with Kaohsiung, projects will also be carried out on other harbours, including Taichung, Keelung, Taipei, Suao and Anping.