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Port of Tallinn opts for automated vacuum mooring

Trelleborg’s marine and infrastructure operation has been awarded a contract to install its rope-free automated mooring system, AutoMoor, at the Old City Harbour at the Port of Tallinn

This is the second contract for automated mooring awarded by the port. Last month Cavotec announced that it has a contract to supply, install and commission two multi-unit MoorMaster automated mooring systems at two ro-pax ferry berths in Tallinn used by vessels operating on the busy route between Tallinn and Helsinki. Cavotec MoorMaster systems have been in use in Helsinki West Harbour since 2016 and in June Cavotec announced a contract for a similar installation from the Port of Turku.

With ferries making frequent and relatively short crossings, minimising mooring time with vacuum mooring technology saves valuable time and makes a major contribution to safety in the ports.

The contracts concern the quays in the Old City Harbour. Cavotec’s contract concerns quays 5 and 8 and Trelleborg’s is at the Quay 13 cruise ferry wharf.

Trelleborg will be installing its AutoMoor T40 Twin Arm design. This features two mooring arms that can operate in synch or independently to provide flexible mooring of vessels with varying hull profiles, thus enabling ports to accept a greater range of vessel types. It also has a compact footprint, allowing for installation in limited spaces including between gantry rails and the wharf edge.

Commenting on the Trelleborg award, Peeter Nogu, Chief Infrastructure Development Officer at the Port of Tallinn, said: “Berth 13 will service large cruise ferries from Finnish shipping companies including Viking Line and Eckero Line, on the Tallinn to Helsinki route across the Gulf of Finland, our busiest route. As a result, it was vital that we upgraded the berth to ensure a high vessel throughput. With that in mind, it was essential that the upgrade saw the adoption of automated mooring systems to facilitate quick, safe and reliable mooring operations."

Nogu made another very interesting point. He explained that while the port has opted for vacuum-pad based systems, it also considered newer types of magnetic mooring systems, but concluded that they are still at an early stage of development and usage. "For this reason, the full impact of the electromagnetic waves on either a ship’s electronics or the surrounding environment isn’t yet fully known."

Commenting on the award, Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine and infrastructure operation, said: “Along with Port of Langnas, Finland, where multiple AutoMoor units are to be installed across two berths, it’s great to see that forward-thinking port operators across the globe are acknowledging the operating benefits of the low power passive damping technology and innovative flexible mooring options that AutoMoor offers end users."

Trelleborg’s AutoMoor solution falls under the Trelleborg’s SmartPort portfolio. SmartPort connects port operations, allowing operators to analyze performance and use data to improve decision making. The system integrates assets like fenders, mooring equipment, ship performance monitoring, and navigation systems, underpinned by cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

The new automated mooring systems from Cavotec and Trelleborg will all be installed by the end of 2020. Each quay will be equipped with six vacuum pads. As the first vessel, Viking Line’s VIKING XPRS will start using the new system in spring 2020, while Tallink’s shuttle ships and Eckerö Line’s vessel can utilise the automated system by the end of the year.

The projects at all three berths come under the TWIN-PORT 3 project, a collaboration between Tallink, Viking Line and Eckerö Line, the ports of Tallinn and Helsinki and the City of Helsinki. It is being co-financed by the EU Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). According to the Port of Tallinn, the total budget for the years 2018-2023 is €61.2M, of which it is investing €15.8M.

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