Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Technology Implementation at Green Terminals


May 1, 2019

Tideworks Terminal View software provides improved data visualization and planning to terminals by allowing terminal operators to view specific areas of their terminal, as well as locate containers or specific pieces of equipment in real time. Photo courtesy of Tideworks Technology.

As part of its Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2021, the Port of San Francisco continues with several environmental and sustainability projects. Between April and December 2015, the Port took part in an Electric Vehicle Autonomous Rechargeable (Charger) Station (EV ARC) pilot study, utilizing an area about the size of a typical parking lot space with a pole that supports a set of solar panels. As a result of this study and a subsequent Request for Information, the Port expects to issue a Request for Qualifications to solicit interested parties who have the resources and knowledge to bring charging stations to the Port.

According to Richard Berman, Environmental Manager, many charging stations are privately owned, plus there is a shortage of charging stations for the general public. Thus, the Port wants to enhance the infrastructure necessary to make these stations a reality. "This RFQ is intended to find qualified teams," he says. "We have four locations where they can provide these stations. This is also in concert with a larger city effort."

In 2016, the Port began using renewable diesel in its operations. Since then, a massive two-year effort with several stakeholders was carried out to gauge the feasibility of using renewable (not bio) diesel in both commuter and excursion ferry fleets. Partners included the Department of the Environment for San Francisco, the San Francisco Mayor's office, regulatory bodies, including the California Air Resources Board, the Federal EPA, and private institutions such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

In mid 2018, it was announced by the Mayor's office that Bay-operating ferries were either underway or would be imminently switching from petroleum diesel to renewable diesel. Overall it was estimated that 30,000 metric tons of Greenhouse Gas Emissions could be reduced annually. Berman points out that while renewable diesel and bio-diesel both contain similar materials, the chemistry to produce the end fuel is significantly different. "[The renewable diesel] meets the ASTM D975 standards and enables the consumer to seamlessly make the transition from petroleum to renewable diesel," he notes.

Another green initiative underway that the Port supported and the Maritime Administration funded, involved the feasibility of utilizing a hydrogen fuel cell in ferry operations. The project was proposed by Red and White Fleet, one of the Port's tenants.

After the feasibility and subsequent optimization study, it was determined that this could be accomplished, however, the Port was unsuccessful in obtaining a grant from the State, so currently, there is no hydrogen fueling station at the Port. However, many of the stakeholders involved in the original research study formed a new company called Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine in order to further this ambitious goal.

It was announced last spring that the company was awarded a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board through California Climate Investments, for constructing the reportedly first US-built hydrogen fuel cell ferry. The new vessel, aptly named Water-Go-Round, is expected to begin plying the waters of San Francisco Bay later this year. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District will be overseeing the project, and in addition to the Port, the partners involved include Red and White Fleet, Incat Crowther, Bay Ship & Yacht Co., Hydrogenics, BAE Systems, Hexagon Composites and Sandia National Laboratories.

Additionally, the Port of San Francisco introduced a new green building code to ensure all new construction or any major alteration projects meet these standards. "That's not just our projects, but also our tenants," says Berman. "The code was modified in 2016 and now we review every building permit for the potential for LEED certification. And we're excited about that."

The Port of Los Angeles has been working alongside its tenant Pasha Terminal, to install solar panels. The solar power will be stored in large industrial batteries, which can enable the terminal to run 24/7 with zero emissions. When first reported, the technology was still under construction, but it is now nearing completion. "The chargers are now being installed and the solar panels are going up in late spring," says Chris Cannon, Director of Environmental Management.

Additionally, battery-electric equipment is also being introduced. The testing of the facility will occur throughout 2019. Equipment involved includes all battery-electric forklifts, yard tractors, drayage trucks, solar panels and power storage units. Negotiations with dock workers are currently underway to assure they will play an appropriate role in the testing process.

At the Port's Evergreen Terminal, a new world-first battery-electric top handler will soon be tested in operation at a marine terminal. "We've had to work with the manufacturers to make sure the equipment was adequate for the terminal's operational needs, so that's all part of the process," Cannon adds.

A new initiative the Port is involved in is a project establishing a fuel-cell-electric technology network for freight transport to move goods from "Shore to Store". The Port received a $41 million grant from the California Resources Board, with additional investment of another $42 million from project partners Toyota, Kenworth and Shell to build 10 zero-emission heavy-duty hydrogen fuel-cell-electric trucks, two heavy-duty hydrogen fuel stations and four zero-emissions cargo handling equipment. According to the Port of LA, the initiative will help reduce emissions by 465 metric tons of Greenhouse Gas and 0.72 weighted tons of NOx, ROG and PM10.

The two hydrogen fuel stations will be located in Wilmington and Riverside, Ontario, CA. Two zero emission forklifts will be demonstrated by Toyota's Logistics Service. "The idea is that these trucks will be able to fuel near the Port and then deliver to the UPS warehouse and the Toyota warehouse in Riverside, and also fuel in that area," explained Cannon. "These fuel-celled trucks will also move up the coast to make deliveries to and from the Port of Hueneme and the ultimate goal will be to have them connect with Merced County in the Central Valley of California."

"We're excited about hydrogen fuel cells because [the technology] allows a drayage truck to have up to a 400-mile range," says Cannon. "Most of the zero-emission battery-electric-only drayage trucks that we have tested have a range of about 100 miles."

A different kind of green terminal initiative is also changing the way the business of shipping is done. Tideworks Technology®, headquartered in Seattle, is a full-service software supplier of comprehensive terminal operation systems for the maritime and intermodal markets. The company was founded by terminal operations professionals and grew out of the IT department of SSA Marine, the largest privately-held terminal operator in the Americas. President TJ Rucker says, "We were given the vision to separate and productize a set of tools that we had built for our affiliated-based companies. We've gone out and grown in a controlled, organic method."

Numerous opportunities have come to Tideworks over the years, particularly with the advent of carriers merging to form alliances. With the massive changes involved, terminals have had to upgrade their infrastructure and equipment, which has created complexities on several different levels.

"Ports and terminals have a large community of stakeholders who see value in their product and some of the global green initiatives are becoming a focal point throughout the shipping industry," says Rucker. "We ensure that our system and solutions aid in the reduction of these community impacts through comprehensive integrated planning with all stakeholders."

Rucker explains, "We leverage a variety of technology to allow faster gate processing and we integrate with long-standing port community systems such as Advent Intermodal Solutions based in Southern California that provide the community with information they need to ensure efficient cargo movement. For example, we have multiple terminals tied into a central gate processing area that gives them the ability to run multiple gates from a remote location." He adds the safety element is also vital, reducing the time maritime workers spend standing in lanes, processing trucks.

The installation of Tideworks Technology system at Crowley's San Juan terminal has helped significantly reduce trucks' gate processing. Cameras identify trucks and containers and check their condition. Dockworkers then communicate with truckers at kiosks via communication handsets. Photo courtesy of Tideworks Technology.

The company's software applications also provide yard strategies that allow terminals to stage containers and cargo with more efficiency. And for peel-off requirements, Tideworks' software tools can enable the pre-position of cargo in the terminals into separate accessible stacks after discharge from the vessel. Designated truckers then take delivery of the grouped containers on a last-in-first-out basis. This dramatically reduces multiple set-aside moves. "We've created programs that take advantage of this functionality working towards an overall reduction in congestion, wait times and turn times.

Tideworks Technology® offers a suite of seven different products, which can be configured to each terminal's requirements. The software can be installed at the terminal or be accessed "in the cloud" (via a web browser). "One of the most important conditions created by automation is safer working conditions for maritime staff and other companies doing business at the port," says Rucker.

"We're working hard toward standardizing interfaces to ensure interoperability with all automation technology and creating a modular design that will allow our customers to benefit from the scalability of a cloud-based platform. Real-time information is important to ensure that the entire port ecosystem can collaborate and collectively work towards increased transparency and cargo flow from producer to consignee."


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