Extensive Berthing Speed Research at Port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Extensive Berthing Speed Research at Port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Berthing speeds have been the subject of research by a PIANC working group aiming to provide guidelines for designers on vessel speeds and ultimately to improve safety. Extensive berthing speed research at the Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands, has concluded and results are undergoing analysis. After six months in the Dutch city, the study will now move to Houston, Texas, U.S.

Trelleborg Marine Systems, Delta Marine Consultants (DMC) and Gemeente Werken Rotterdam have been investigating berthing speeds as part of their involvement with the PIANC Working Group 145. The objective of the group is to produce a report providing data on actual recorded vessel approaches, under a range of environmental conditions, aiming to provide clear guidelines to designers for the use of appropriate vessel design speeds.

Data for the study has been recorded in the day-to-day operations of some ports, or, as is the case with Rotterdam, by taking measurements specifically for the purposes of this research. Smartdock LITE from Trelleborg Marine Systems has been used to gather the results in Rotterdam, measuring both speed and angle of approach.

Involved in the research was Sebastiaan Rath, who has been using the data as part of his graduation thesis. Rath, a student at Rotterdam University of applied Sciences (HRO) says: “It’s great to have the technology available to be able to carry out actual berthing speed measurements for my thesis at the largest container terminals at the Port of Rotterdam.

“I have been working alongside Trelleborg, DMC and Gemeente Werken Rotterdam over the past few months and I’m very pleased that the preliminary results are now in. Although we can’t share the results yet, we’ve gathered some interesting data and I’m looking forward to seeing how the research impacts on fender design, port authorities and shipping lines in terms of maintaining a safer port environment with updated berthing speeds.”

Alfred Roubos, Project Manager at Gemeente Werken Rotterdam says: “The Smartdock LITE has really enabled the research that the working group has undertaken at Rotterdam, measuring berthing speeds, berthing angles and logging all vessel data. Over 100 berthing speed measurements have been carried out by Sebastiaan Rath, which will give us an enormous amount of data to work with in the PIANC Working Group 145. All the berthings measured are logged and can be replayed; making the system a great fit for the in-depth analysis that the data will undergo.”

Marco Gaal, Regional Manager at Trelleborg Marine Systems says: “The Smartdock LITE system was ideal for our purposes, as obviously it would have proven impractical – and costly – to install additional equipment to support laser sensors permanently at the ports involved. However, unlike most laser-based DAS, the SmartDock LITE laser units are not fixed to the jetty, and can be safely stored with their tripod mountings when they’re not in use. Subsequently, we were still able to enjoy the reliability benefits of using laser equipment, whilst ensuring we had a system that was portable and easy to set up.”


Trelleborg, December 17, 2012