"Green" importance grows slowly in fenders

Growing global concerns for the environment are beginning to make their presence felt in the fender market, where ports are beginning to give "green" materials a greater importance.

Schuyler (a subsidiary of Maritime International Inc) is introducing a new category of marine fenders for barging facilities that is manufactured from 100% recycled waste truck tyre material.

The finished product is a solid, rugged fender suitable for docks that require significant abrasion resistance rather than energy absorption. These marine fenders are designed to be an improved option to the use of typical wood timbers or moulded rubber fenders which are not as durable for barge docks, or as environmentally-friendly as laminated bumpers.

Laminated rubber bumpers require almost no regular maintenance as they are not as susceptible to the breakage and wear and tear of other types of bumpers.

From an environmental viewpoint the use of wood timbers is not overwhelmingly advocated now due to issues related to chemically-treated wood. The advent of non-treated wood gives an alternative but timbers are easily damaged and subject to normal environmental conditions which rapidly degrade the wood.

Scott Smith, regional director - Asia Pacific and technical director for Trelleborg, says there is growing interest in its fully-recycled plastic piles, including supplying them to CentrePort Wellington (New Zealand).

"The product has been used historically in the US for many years, however only in recent years has interest been generated in other markets."

Meanwhile, ducating port executives how technologically-advanced products will improve their operating efficiency, personnel safety and reduce environmental impacts, remains the biggest challenge to automated mooring equipment manufacturer, Cavotec MoorMaster.

"The advantages of having automated mooring equipment are still poorly understood by the market and we are constantly demonstrating to operators how they can use our new technologies to realise substantial operational efficiencies," says Cavotec MoorMaster technology manager Mike Howie.

"This remains an area where we devote a considerable amount of time."

Mr Howie says virtually all major technological developments seen in the automatic mooring industry are being undertaken by Cavotec MoorMaster.

"These include improving our product range to include products for offshore applications and the oil and gas industry."

Regarding the current market situation, he says there is no evidence of Asian competitors squeezing out established manufacturers, but notes the capital expenditure process has "slowed slightly" in the global economic climate.

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