Green Matters

Keeping an Eye on Draft

September 7, 2012
The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC)   announced availability of the Draft Information System, an optional tool for vessel operators to monitor real time information on current and projected distances between the vessel’s keel and river bottoms.

The new on-board technology will reduce the potential for groundings and allow ships to carry more cargo by taking advantage of the available water levels, said the SLSDC.

Often the logistics sector is made aware of the harm it may cause the environment, but not what the environment does to logistics. The announcement came as portions of North America were experiencing record drought conditions. In fact, OOCL and other vessel operators were announcing or considering imposing low-water surcharges for moves over the St. Lawrence Seaway.

OOCL told customers, “We will increase our Low Water Surcharge for all cargo shipments via the Port of Montreal with effect from August 6 to the following levels: $100 per 20-foot container and $200 per 40- or 45-foot container.”

Reduced water depth, said another carrier, negatively affects the loadable capacity of each sailing, leading to increased costs.

“[The Draft Information System] is an important improvement in maritime safety,” said Ray LaHood, secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation. “This new technology will increase the safety of vessels traveling through the Saint Lawrence Seaway while increasing their productivity.”

The SLSDC noted that use of the DIS is an optional requirement. “However, ships with DIS can travel the Seaway more safely with more cargo, at a draft of up to three inches more than the published maximum. Depending on the commodity carried, an additional three inches of draft could mean transporting as much as 360 additional metric tons per voyage.”

The Seaway has long required a minimum safety margin between the ship’s keel and river bottom, or “under-keel clearance,” that vessels must maintain while transiting the waterway.

 The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC)   http://www.seaway.dot.gov/    announced availability of the Draft Information System, an optional tool for vessel operators to monitor real time information on current and projected distances between the vessel’s keel and river bottoms.

The new on-board technology will reduce the potential for groundings and allow ships to carry more cargo by taking advantage of the available water levels, said the SLSDC.

Often the logistics sector is made aware of the harm it may cause the environment, but not what the environment does to logistics. The announcement came as portions of North America were experiencing record drought conditions. In fact, OOCL and other vessel operators were announcing or considering imposing low-water surcharges for moves over the St. Lawrence Seaway.

OOCL told customers, “We will increase our Low Water Surcharge for all cargo shipments via the Port of Montreal with effect from August 6 to the following levels: $100 per 20-foot container and $200 per 40- or 45-foot container.”

Reduced water depth, said another carrier, negatively affects the loadable capacity of each sailing, leading to increased costs.

“[The Draft Information System] is an important improvement in maritime safety,” said Ray LaHood, secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation. “This new technology will increase the safety of vessels traveling through the Saint Lawrence Seaway while increasing their productivity.”

The SLSDC noted that use of the DIS is an optional requirement. “However, ships with DIS can travel the Seaway more safely with more cargo, at a draft of up to three inches more than the published maximum. Depending on the commodity carried, an additional three inches of draft could mean transporting as much as 360 additional metric tons per voyage.”

The Seaway has long required a minimum safety margin between the ship’s keel and river bottom, or “under-keel clearance,” that vessels must maintain while transiting the waterway.

 

 

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