International Bulk Journal
Issue 2, 2016
Canada-based Fednav is thinking long term and investing, despite the worst global shipping market that many in the industry can recall
A familiar theme, repeated by management on the many occasions that IBJ has visited Montreal-based Fednav, is that the company aims to be the best in the shipping business. This year's IBJ visit was no different and recent additions to the fleet of Canada's largest ocean-going dry-bulk shipping company despite the difficult bulk shipping market, would suggest that the mantra may well be true.
Thomas Paterson, Fednav's Senior Vice-President, Ship Owning, Arctic and Projects, told IBJ: "This is the worst shipping market I have seen. I have been through other downturns, but the gap between supply and demand is greater this time." However, when asked if the company has had to cancel or delay new building orders Paterson replied: "We honour our commitments. We are a private company which thinks long term and we aim to be the best we can be. We have eco-friendly, fuel efficient ships and a tremendous staff, both afloat and ashore. By the end of this year we will have 57 owned vessels. "
Regarding the year ahead, Paterson said: "We aim to ship around 5m tonnes of base metals, concentrates and ores from the Canadian Arctic in 2016."
The Federal Biscay is equipped with a ballast water treatment system, a first for ships transiting the Great Lakes. Fednav announced last April that it would equip twelve of its new ships with these systems, well before the regulatory requirement. The vessel, an ocean-going laker of 34/500dwt/ is destined to ship general cargo to the Great Lakes and bulk commodities, such as grain, from the Midwest to world markets.
Developed by JFE Engineering Corporation in Japan, the BallastAce system will be effective in both fresh and salt water. BallastAce operates through a sophisticated filter and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) injection mechanism in the ship's ballast system.
"This is a pivotal step in protecting the Great Lakes against invasive species and preserving biodiversity in the region," said Paul Pathy, president and co-CEO of Fednav Limited. "Fednav is proud to be the first shipping company to deploy such systems, and we are pleased that the Federal Biscay is serving as a test ship for this technology."
Fednav will therefore start using BallastAce in the Great Lakes at the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 2016. With the assistance of Fednav, BallastAce is continuing the necessary stages of its approval for fresh, brackish, and salt water by the US Coast Guard, at the GSI facility in Superior, Wisconsin and at MERC in Baltimore, Maryland. During the first six months of 2016, the system installed on the Federal Biscay will also test under this certification.
Built at the Oshima shipyard in Japan, the Federal Bering and its sister-ships have box-shaped holds in order to facilitate the handling of general cargo. With a combination of Handysize, Supramax and Ultramax vessels, Fednav also owns and operates two of the most powerful bulk-carrying icebreakers along with the largest ice-class bulker fleet in the world.
The outstanding environmental characteristics of these vessels include: 25 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar vessels built less than 15 years ago; a decrease of over 15 per cent nitrogen oxide emissions; a B+ rating from shippingefficiency.org; and a CLEAN notation from the DNV/GL classification society
ICENAV INCREASES EFFICIENCY
During IBJ’s visit, Thomas Paterson also highlighted IceNav, Fednav’s shipboard navigation system designed specifically for vessels operating in ice-infested waters. "The system means that we are seven to eight days more efficient on what was a 24 day voyage," said Paterson.
With IceNav, owners can provide their fleets with clear, accurate, and the most up-to-date ice information and satellite imagery available. Using a satellite communication link, a ship fitted with IceNav can retrieve and manipulate satellite imagery as well as ice and weather information, enhancing the safety and efficiency of navigation.
The IceNav system consists of two completely integrated modules: a navigation module and the ice radar, running on a single station with dual-display capability. Route plans created with the navigation module can be viewed on the radar image. Likewise, radar data can be overlaid on satellite images and ice information products. IceNav can also be used in a shore-based setting, as a single display system without the ice radar, for the planning of fleet operations.
IceNav’s ice radar works by tapping into the existing X-band radar. The radar signal is processed to highlight ice features that would be undetectable on a standard marine radar display. In contrast, standard marine radar systems are designed as target detectors, not as imaging devices. As such, they provide very poor images of ice conditions around a vessel.
IceNav uses industry standard connections to the existing marine radar for creating a superior ice navigation radar image. Since most brands of marine radar are compatible with IceNav, there is no need to acquire new equipment.
IceNav’s multiple features include: fully integrated dual-display system; enhanced marine radar image for better ice detection; automatic tracking of ice features; network link to shore-based data services; route planning; exchange of radar images, route plans and ice information between ships of the same fleet
Enfotec Technical Services Inc., a subsidiary of Fednav Limited, is the developer and distributor of IceNav. Enfotec provides support to enhance the safety and efficiency of navigation in ice and produces sea ice assessments and marine accessibility studies for current and projected shipping operations. Enfotec is crucial to Fednav's operations in the Arctic and the Baltic regions, offering expertise in ice dynamics and remote sensing. Furthermore, its involvement in research and development helps keep Fednav at the forefront of ice navigation knowledge and technology.