Securing the right support while berthed in port

Passenger shipping operators depend on the efficient delivery of a range of services on the ground to keep their services running while they are in port. Michele Witthaus reports

Securing the right support while berthed in port
Bermello Ajamil and Partners worked on The Pier 27 project in Sab Francisco as part of a joint venture

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2015 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review.

No matter how efficient a passenger shipping operator is at sea, there is a complex network of activities that need to happen seamlessly on arrival at or departure from any port or destination. From passenger gangways and terminal facilities to logistics, destination information and more, service providers are relied upon for their knowledge and expertise in often stressful situations.

TTS Marine AB is a global provider of passenger gangway systems connecting terminals and vessels to allow for secure access by foot passengers. In ferry ports, TTS supplies linkspans for rolling cargo and passengers and automooring systems for safe docking.

In Stockholm, Sweden, the company is installing over 600m of fixed walkways together with six units of flexible gangways to vessels at the Port of Värtan. The project, due for completion in October, is part of the redevelopment and extension of the port for client Ports of Stockholm. Sales manager Håkan Jönsson says: “The installation is performed by lifting prefabricated module units by mobile crane on top of steel columns. The steel framework is covered by glass and insulated plate cladding in a pattern outlined by the architect to harmonise with the terminal building and the surroundings.” The movable gangways are operated from two different floor levels with the upper level reached by elevators, escalators and stairs to allow disabled visitors to have access to the new facilities. “To ensure a good interface between the movable gangway and the cruise vessels, a ‘follow me’ function has been introduced in Port of Värtan,” says Jönsson. The installation will further improve access for groups of users with limited mobility. “Access for the older generation has been a criterion in the design of gangways in Scandinavia for many years and is now spreading worldwide and is a part of the European rules.”

Bermello Ajamil and Partners worked on the newly opened San Francisco Cruise Terminal Pier 27 in a joint venture with Kaplan, McLaughlin, Diaz Architects and Pfau Long Architecture. Rowe says: “This is an excellent example of efficient terminal design that includes features to support facility use on non-cruise days,” says partner Jim Rowe. “With some cruise locales being seasonal or weekend-oriented in call scheduling, often these assets remain unused for more than half the year, sacrificing potential earnings.

“On non-cruise days at Pier 27, the terminal quickly converts to a spectacular event centre. We designed the terminal to support a variety of events with flexibly designed spaces and dividers, stackable furnishings, mobile check-in booths and security screening equipment that can be stored away, shared AV resource hubs, open-air exterior terrace and multiple entrance lobbies for simultaneous event use.” Pier 27 has hosted the 34th America’s Cup Race, Fleet Week, Tall Ships Festivals and various private events.

Bermello Ajamil and Partners also offers extensive analysis and design services related to terminal renovation, reconfiguration or expansion. “We typically begin with an analysis of operational efficiencies at various stages of the embark and debark process,” says Rowe. “For complex scenarios, we prepare passenger and baggage flow simulations to test and quantify various design and equipment improvements. For those improvements selected by the facility owner, we prepare design and bid documents for procurement and construction and oversee the construction process on behalf of the facility owner.”

Specialist boarding bridge manufacturer ADELTE designed, manufactured and installed two new seaport passenger boarding bridges (SPBBs) for Hamburg’s Cruise Center Steinwerder in time for the inauguration of the port’s new cruise facility on 9 June.

The new terminal’s arrival and departure buildings are each connected to ADELTE’s HYDRA-model SPBBs to allow for fast and flexible boarding operations, in particular for large cruise ships. The two custom-designed bridges are equipped with a special feature designed by the company’s R&D engineering department for the terminal. A docking cabin telescopic ramp can be converted into stairs using electromechanical actuators, allowing access to cruise ship doors below quay level. The SPBBs can dock a wide variety of vessels as they adapt to each access door position as well as to the tidal variations of the port.

“This is a very special case, using the latest technology,” says ADELTE vice president Jordi Floreta. It is a tailor- made solution for this port with a very specific solution to connect the ships by means of electronic apparatus. The range of operations is huge because of this.”

The customised nature of this installation is not unusual for ADELTE, remarks Floreta. ““Most of our projects and equipment are tailor-made. There are many criteria we take into account in order to design unique and specific equipment for each terminal. In this case we developed this specific ramp because of the requirements of the cruise terminal.

“It is a growing market, a lot of new terminals are appearing and a lot of old terminals are upgrading.”

Floreta adds: “Currently we are doing a survey of our clients in order to measure key points, and of course one of them is the feedback of the passengers. It is very important for cruise lines and for terminals to maintain high standards in the experience of passengers, whether in the terminal, in the ship or in between – in the passenger boarding bridge.” He is particularly pleased with feedback ADELTE received on a project in Singapore. “We installed four passenger boarding bridges and they were very happy with the fact that in fifteen minutes, passengers can embark or disembark from the ship and enter a cab. That’s a very efficient passenger flow.”

Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) has developed, designed and delivered cruise terminals as well as ro-ro and ferry facilities around the world for over 40 years.“Commissions are frequently undertaken with input from multidisciplinary teams comprising RHDHV’s own in-house building services and structural engineers, environmental scientists, coastal engineers, transport economists and urban planners,” says Tim Davies, Director of Passenger and Vehicle Terminals.

RHDHV recently helped to complete a new ferry terminal at Ullapool Harbour in Scotland to support the arrival of CalMac’s new larger ferry Loch Seaforth. RHDHV worked on various aspects of the project including installation of an SPBB designed by ADELTE, as well as extension of the existing berth structure, a new passenger terminal building, and a vehicle linkspan with supporting hoist towers and dolphins. The new installation means that up to 632,000 passengers and 130,000 cars can now be transported each year by the new MV Loch Seaforth.

The company worked with ADELTE during the design and manufacturing phase before the equipment was delivered.

Cruise lines depend on reliable shoreside support during port calls and port agents play a major role in ensuring things go smoothly. Meyer Agencies are ports agents in Bermuda with offices in all three ports. The company also has a shore excursion division called Meyer Tours that arranges shore and sea-based tours for the various cruise ships calling at Bermuda. “In recent years we have offered all types of services including waste disposal, bunkering, provisions, crew transfer, and medical/dental for crew and passengers,” says VP marine operations Joseph Simas. “In the past, work was mostly a 9-5 operation. Now with mobile devices we are on call answering emails and calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.” From assisting guests debarked for medical reasons, to advising local tours, boat operators, and shops of expected passenger numbers and ETA or liaising with public transportation and local taxi operators, Meyer Agencies takes on many tasks that facilitate cruise calls.

“Arrivals of passenger ships cannot be navigated successfully without shoreside support for smooth flow of guests for tours, shopping, transfers to beach, or for sightseeing,” says Simas. “Most guests notice land-based shoreside vendors when they arrive; buses, ferries, taxis, tour boats, and shop keepers. Also, on arrival you will notice tugs, linesmen, and pilots. However, what they don’t see are the people who arrange for all these services to be ready on demand.”

Timely and professional handling of enquiries, correct budgeting, accurate invoicing and competitive pricing are all critical for shoreside service providers, says Anders Christian Larsen, COO, Cruise Agency at Copenhagen-based SDK Shipping, which provides services such as crew transfers, hotel accommodation, medical handling, stevedoring and logistics services. “We work closely with ports, immigration and other authorities to improve the service and quality level and ensure that the special requirements of the cruise lines are met.”

Keeping the end users – the ships’ guests – happy is a crucial aspect of success for service providers in this sector. “At the end of the day we all know that the passenger experience is the key in the cruise business,” says Larsen. “So of course we always keep in mind that the services we provide one way or another have an effect on this. We aim to be as efficient as possible and hope that that will help to make a positive experience for the passenger when they visit in one of our ports.”

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Michele Witthaus
By Michele Witthaus
Tuesday, December 22, 2015