The stumbling economy took its toll on the Great Lakes coal trade in January. Shipments totaled only 778,971 net tons, just half the volume of a year ago, and certainly one of the slowest Januarys in recent memory.
With the Lakes now largely closed by winter, the low January coal total could come back to haunt the nation if power plants find themselves short of coal. A recently-released study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that Great Lakes shipping annually saves its customers $3.6b in transportation costs compared to the land-based modes. However, all U.S.-Flag lakers are now in winter lay-up and undergoing annual maintenance, so the fleet would not be able to meet any demand for coal until March at the earliest.
9. CLS Installs First Iridium-Based LRIT Terminals
Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS) announces on Feb. 3 that it has sold its first Iridium-based compliant Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) terminals in partnership with Iridium Satellite LLC. CLS is a provider of satellite-based environmental data collection, location and ocean observation services. Through the CLS-Iridium partnership, CLS also delivered corresponding LRIT Conformance Test Certificates on behalf of the flag administration.
The new SOLAS LRIT regulation requiring LRIT capabilities went into force December 31, 2008, and applies to all passenger and cargo ships above 300 gross tons. For months, shipowners worldwide have been testing their onboard equipment for compliance with IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1296. In many cases, shipowners opted for a standalone LRIT device to ensure their compliance. In particular, ships navigating in Sea Area A4 having to comply with the LRIT regulation must be fitted with Iridium-based equipment, as Iridium is the only operator in the world able to reliably provide service at such latitudes.
Iridium meets all IMO requirements for serving as a Communications Service Provider (CSP) for LRIT. Iridium provides a commercial low-latency, highly reliable transmission mechanism for LRIT data everywhere in the world. Iridium’s global service coverage includes open oceans and the poles. As such, it offers particular advantages when tracking ships operating in high latitudes above 70 degrees. In those geographic areas, Iridium is the only CSP able to reliably satisfy the requirements of the LRIT performance standard. The Iridium short-burst data (SBD) service is well suited to the requirements of LRIT and forms the basis of Iridium’s LRIT standard.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) recently awarded CLS the contract for the provision and operation of the EU LRIT Data Centre (DC), as well as the associated Application Service Provider (ASP) and CSP functions. The EMSA LRIT DC will not only enable the 27 EU Maritime Administrations, and those of Iceland and Norway, to track more than 10,000 vessels flying their flags, but will also request position reports of non-EU flag vessels entering EU coastal waters.