10th Sep, 2021

The terminal of today: should we stop thinking so much about the technology of the future and focus on the technology of now?

There’s been considerable debate about the terminal of the future. However, such speculation leaves us at risk of missing out on the huge gains which can be achieved with what’s already available to us.

Our priorities should be focused on the ‘low lying fruit’ in the form of proven technologies and solutions that should rightly take their place in the terminal of today. Technologies and solutions that are still not as widely utilised as they should be.

To examine the maritime solutions out there that aren’t being used to their fullest we gathered together experts from the world of ports and terminals. Our webinar panel included: Andreas Ritschel from Liebherr, Adam Sharp from NIRAS Group, Hamdi Nadharh from Red Sea Terminal Gateway, plus EMEA Maritime Mark Nailer and US Maritime Manager Rory McBride from Midstream.

Our panel of experts share their thoughts on some of the simple solutions readily available that are being under-utilised and how effective they can be.

Here’s an overview of what they discussed.

Has the maritime industry been looking too far ahead instead of looking at the technology of now?

Adam kicked off the discussion by suggesting that it’s tempting to look to the ‘glamorous’ future that the media predicts. A future with totally automated container ports and crew-less ships. Getting there isn’t going to be easy and won’t be achieved with one leap. We should be looking at the smaller steps we can take now that will help us get there.

Mark made the point that it very much depends on what can be looked at today. For example, when it comes to energy consumption and sustainability, hydrogen as a fuel seems an obvious way forward. This is beginning to happen in other markets. But there’s no clear signposting on how to get there yet for the maritime world. As the industry is renowned for not being an ‘early adopter’, however, a cultural shift is needed. Without it, delaying taking steps like this will hold us back from getting to the port of the future.

There’s also the issue of competing interests within ports to be considered. Each area wants a slice of the budget to achieve its individual far-reaching 10-year goals. They’re not looking at a combined granular approach to getting there though; so they’re ignoring the things that can be done now that will have an impact on the bottom line.

Andreas suggested that optimising everything you have now and making it the best it can be is key. Examining where you’re burning money and where you can be more efficient will help to give you a competitive edge today. This in turn will put you in a better place to take advantage of new technologies in the future.

From a US point of view, Rory highlighted that he’s not seen a port that’s addressed everything they could and there’s no real consistency in what ports are looking at. Energy use in the US has been one focal point, but only because of the rebates available there.

Smart Ports – what are they and how are they performing?

A smart port means different things to different people and can cover so much more than full automation. There’s a whole raft of things that can make a port smart. Again, getting there won’t happen in one big leap. Areas like digitisation, for example, need to be designed to be part of a port’s information infrastructure and implemented to run through the whole supply chain.

As a terminal operator, Hamdi posed the question ‘What is best – a smart port or a usual one?’. He believes it totally depends on the port’s clients. If a smart port doesn’t give a client what it wants, it simply won’t use that port. He surmised that one of the key routes to becoming a smart port is through blockchain integration with stakeholders. It may not be the easiest thing to achieve, but the benefits it can bring, Hamdi believes, are huge. Red Sea now uses it to share data with Customs, which has cut paper flow by 16%. The length of time a container now stays at Red Sea has been cut from 14 to potentially just three days.

For Andreas, a smart port isn’t just about having smart technologies and data. It’s all about making smart decisions from that data. Using Leibheer’s LIDAT software to prove his point, Andreas showed how the information it gives on a crane’s performance can be used to make smart choices, such as giving special offers to clients. The data it gives can be shared with all stakeholders too so they can use it in their planning – an enormous benefit for everyone.

LED floodlighting is another good example of what can contribute to making a port smart Mark suggested. It can give energy savings of up to 70% and much better lighting at the same time, it reduces maintenance costs and lasts much longer too. Together, these will allow operators to achieve the ‘magic’ ROI within three years. It allows you to use your lighting smartly – through things like DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) and provides usage data so clients can understand how to optimise their systems.

Adam pointed out how a lot of what was being discussed revolved around asset management. As a further example, he showed how existing NIRAS laser scanning equipment can be used to monitor and create a ‘digital twin’ of a port’s underwater structure. The current alternative involves divers, weather permitting, taking close-up videos that then need to be reviewed to see if there are any issues. NIRAS laser scanning is quicker and far more precise. The data is incredibly simple to interpret and can be easily shared with insurance providers, for example, to show there are no structural issues to help keep premiums as low as possible.

From a ‘users’ perspective, Hamdi agreed that the data these solutions can give is fantastic. It has to be used though and this means companies have to trust it. At Red Sea, that’s exactly where it’s got to with its OCR system. Red Sea’s whole OCR operation is now controlled by just three people who only need to get involved with day-to-day operations when there’s an exception that can’t be handled by the system itself.

A key shared benefit of all these existing technologies everyone agreed is, that when used fully, they can create massive saving and revenue opportunities for ports. This positive impact on the bottom line can and will be used to fund the ‘glamorous’ future we’re all looking forward to.

Watch the webinar to discover more of what was discussed by the panel.

If you want to get involved in a Midstream Panel Debate fill in your details below
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1st September, 2021

Protecting lives, reducing risks: how lighting holds the key to safer ports

Ports and terminals are often regarded as one of the highest risk working environments. The daily hazards faced by workers including moving vehicles, mooring lights and unloading and loading cargo. Minimising risk is therefore paramount for smooth, safe and efficient operations and the safeguarding of lives.

Despite it being a vital element of safety, lighting is often overlooked. In fact, the majority of ports and terminals still use poor quality solutions, such as high-pressure sodium, metal halide, or other similarly dated technologies that can lead to diminished visibility and are prone to breaking.

Likewise, many lighting solutions are selected without factoring in a port or terminal’s extreme environmental conditions, such as high heat and high winds. The harsh saline, windy and in some cases, scorching environments of ports and terminals often causing lighting to quickly degrade and therefore can result in dangerous working environments.

To protect lives and reduce risks, many ports and terminals should consider reviewing their lighting infrastructure to see if any immediate improvements should be made. After all, it should not take the occurrence of a serious accident to prompt change.

A discussion for now

In a recent webinar on port safety with TOC, Mark Nailer, our Maritime Manager EMEA, discussed how lighting has progressed over the years, with LED lighting playing a major role in evolving safety, sustainability and operational efficiency in ports and terminals. He stated that LED lighting, as the superior lighting solution, must replace outdated lighting solutions to increase safety standards in the maritime industry and beyond. For example, outdated lighting solutions are a particular cause of accidents in ports and terminals during the night due to dimmer bulbs.

For owners and operators, switching to LED bulbs can also mean lighting lasts up to twenty times longer than standard forms of lighting, such as incandescent bulbs or halogen bulbs. This further reduces the risk of accidents occurring, with less personnel required to carry out frequent and dangerous repairs.

Legal liability

In addition to the safety impact of poor lighting at ports and terminals, owners and operators should also be aware of the legal liability risks, with lighting sitting at the heart of port safety and insurance claims. Records from official accident investigations in terminals often refer to poor lighting as a contributory factor . Port and terminal owners, operators and insurance providers should urgently recognise the role that upgrading lighting could play in avoiding a significant pay out or even criminal prosecution.

By now, you may be asking, if the stakes are so high, why are the majority of global ports and terminals still using outdated lighting solutions?

In most cases, it is not apathy that causes lighting to be overlooked or not prioritised, but a lack of understanding about the advantages of upgrading solutions and concerns about potential disruptions to operations if existing systems aren’t faulty. This is further heightened by a lack of global standards for lighting levels in ports and terminals, which means terminal and port operators mandate their own criteria. The lack of alignment has resulted in varying degrees of quality and in some cases, completely insufficient lighting.

While the lack of standardisation makes it hard to measure performance, there are steps port and terminal owners and operators can take to mitigate risk, improve safety and efficiency, whilst avoiding costly legal battles. For example, investing in a health and safety ‘hotline’ to report concerns confidentially, regularly refresh how risk assessments are approached and on a practical level, checking lighting levels every six months will reduce the risk of accidents both onshore and in the water. Likewise, investing in high quality LED lighting tailored to endure harsh environments, and with a lifespan of ten years at a minimum, will enable the further safeguarding of operations.

Lighting holds the key to safer ports

Lighting is a critical element of port infrastructure both in terms of supporting the efficiency and safety of operations. It is without a doubt, that saving lives and protecting commercial reputation must therefore be at the forefront of decision making when assessing current lighting and purchasing new solutions.

Got questions or want to make sure your port lighting is up to scratch? Get in touch.

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Aug 4th, 2021

Top 5 tips to optimise your port and terminal lighting

High performing lighting is fundamental to ensuring safe and secure operations at ports and terminals around the world, with the continuation of global trade relying on robust and resilient systems. Despite this, many ports and terminals still use inadequate and poor performing lighting solutions, such as high-pressure sodium, metal halide, or other similarly dated technologies.

We spoke with our Global Sales Manager, Maritime, Rory McBride, to find out his top 5 tips for owners and operators looking to evaluate and optimise the performance of their lighting to secure cost, safety and sustainability benefits.

1. Check your energy output

The first step to optimising your lighting system is to assess its energy consumption against its performance. With many ports and terminals requiring huge lighting infrastructures, and as a necessary annual expense, lighting should be evaluated every six months for its energy efficiency. At present, most owners and operators aren’t aware of the benefits of having regular audit procedures in place. This can lead to poor performing, energy-sapping solutions being routinely applied. When operators do look at performance more closely, the savings can be tangible. For example, upgrading outdated lighting solutions to high quality LED lighting can reduce energy consumption as much as 70%, saving important costs and carbon emissions. Because the individual costs of maintaining each light in an antiquated system are low, they often go unnoticed. This is a common trend in ports, a focus on the ‘big ticket’ items, and why routine audits of best practices is a critical component to a successful operations.

2. Prevent time intensive and costly maintenance

Are you constantly having to replace broken bulbs?

Although initially cheaper, high-pressure sodium, metal halide, or other similarly dated technologies, lack durability or quality – lasting one to two years at most. The maintenance required to continuously replace broken fixtures resulting in unnecessary costs.

For example, while a replacement bulb may initially be the cheaper option ($20-50 per bulb) the labour required to repeatedly replace broken lighting, cost of new fixtures and the avoidable safety risk, means in the long term, it is cost ineffective.

As many ports and terminals do not have a process in place to cohesively track and report maintenance on lighting, or the replacement of singular bulbs, the cost of replacing hundreds of lights can often go unnoticed.

With solutions like LED lighting lasting for a minimum of ten years, assessing the entire product lifecycle is key to increasing safety standards and reducing avoidable maintenance costs.

3. Review the design of your bulbs

The size and design of a lightbulb directly impacts the security of a port or terminal and the safety of workers. Outdated lighting solutions, and even inadequately designed LED lighting, can increase glare, reduce visibility and cause eye strain and fatigue for workers. Bulbs that are designed to effectively funnel light can dramatically reduce glare and increase colour recognition – an element that is also important in enhancing other technologies, such as CCTV systems, for example.

Traditional light bulbs are orb-shaped, meaning that light is emitted from every possible direction. So if you can see the light bulb, then its shining back at your eyes, creating glare. The proprietary optics Midstream Lighting utilizes channels the light to the specifically designated area, dramatically reducing glare perceived from outside the lighted area

4. Work smartly with sophisticated control systems

Investing in a sophisticated control system to automate lighting is fundamental for those looking to reduce energy consumption, increase efficiencies and subsequently save costs.

Control systems can allow you to better define the level of power output, notify workers when a light goes out and create zones to ensure lighting is only on in specific areas of the port or terminal when required.

Similarly, the data from such systems can be utilised to further optimise operations. The greater potential for data amalgamation and analysis enabling owners and operators to identify where further efficiency gains can be made. Through working smartly, owners and operators are not only able to reduce costs through optimising daily operations but increase the efficiency of infrastructure in the longer term.

5. Evaluate if your lighting fulfils its purpose

Lighting is purchased with the primary purpose of creating a safe operating environment. However, following installation, many owners and operators fail to check the performance of their lighting on a regular basis. In fact, around 90% of ports and terminals are not carrying out routine checks – resulting in inadequate lighting that reduces visibility and increases the risk of accidents and occurrence of crime.

It is therefore vital that safety is central to the evaluation of performance, optimisation and upkeep. It should after all not take a major accident, and huge insurance claim, for lighting to be upgraded.

Rory McBride, US Maritime Manager at Midstream Lighting

Rory brings to Midstream a decade of experience earned in the maritime industry for companies all over the world. This has allowed him to get involved in key lighting projects for some of the largest ports worldwide. Having been exposed to countless types of operations, Rory’s background empowers him to meet all Midstream maritime clients exactly where they are and provide the deepest level of consultancy and precision problem-solving.

Want to know more? Get in touch.

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27th July 2021

Light pollution – what it is and how we combat it

Electrical lighting is an amazing thing and has more than helped shape the world as we know it today. Just try to imagine your life without it. Difficult isn’t it?

If it’s not used wisely, however, it can impact the environment greatly. For example, it’s estimated that around 15-20% of the world’s electricity production is used to power lighting. This in turn leads to around 5% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

One environmental impact of lighting that’s less talked about is caused directly by lighting itself – light pollution.

So what is it?

One example of light pollution is skyglow. This type of light pollution comes about because things like street and building lights aren’t aimed just where they’re needed. Instead, a large proportion of their output goes directly, or is reflected, upwards and is scattered by the atmosphere – this virtually obscures anything above it such as the Milky Way and stars.

How we work to avoid skyglow:

  • All our lighting designs and installations seek to minimise this type of light pollution as much as possible. They never direct light straight to the sky – it would be a total ‘waste’ and compromise what we’re trying to achieve. So, all our products have shields that prevent this.
  • Our luminaires, with their proprietary lenses, are also designed to produce an even light, just where it’s needed, rather than an intense light in one area that would cause greater reflection up to the sky and add to skyglow.

As well as skyglow there are three other main types of recognised light pollution. These are:

  • Glare – excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort.
  • Light spill – light falling where it’s not intended, needed or wanted.
  • Clutter – bright, confusing, and excessive groupings of light sources.

You’ve probably experienced these on a personal level. The dazzle of an oncoming car’s headlights – glare. A neighbour’s garden security lighting shining in your home – spill. If you’re standing in somewhere like the middle of Times Square or Piccadilly Circus– clutter.

They can all happen with industrial lighting too. So in the rest of this short blog, we’ll focus on just these aspects, and what we as an environmentally aware, specialist lighting company do to combat them,

Industrial lighting glare:

Just the same as a car’s headlight glare can cause safety issues, industrial glare can too. Poorly configured aviation apron lighting produces significant safety problems for staff and passengers on the ground, and pilots in their planes. It’s the same for ports and maritime terminal lighting. If high mast crane lighting isn’t properly aimed, with the right shielding also in place, those working on the ground and the crane operators themselves can be affected by harsh glare and safety can be compromised. Glare can also be a problem with sports lighting – for the players, spectators, and broadcasters.

Our lighting Design and Engineering teams have years of experience in creating lighting solutions for airports, ports, and sporting venues. We’ve completed over 100 global airport projects and are the leading supplier of LED lighting systems for airport aprons. We’re also the preferred supplier to many of the world’s busiest and biggest port and terminal operators. We’re a leading sports lighting supplier too. So, we know more than anyone about how to create lighting solutions that minimise the risks of glare – in all applications and environments around the world.

How we prevent glare:

  • Our luminaires have been specially designed with glare in mind. Our Titan Series, one of our flagship products, is manufactured with our propriety optics which deliver maximum light levels on very precise designated areas. Plus, its asymmetric floodlighting provides an excellent solution for low glare applications. Our Modus R Series for sports venues has been designed to ensure low-glare, broadcast-ready, flicker-free lighting too.
  • We test, test, and test again. When we start a project – new build or retrofit – one of the very first things we do is to test our designs on paper to see where glare may be an issue. We then test our proposed designs using things like DIAlux software to make sure they’ll reduce any glare to an absolute minimum. We don’t stop there. Before we install a lighting system we test for any glare in-situ – at the points where it could make an impact. For example, at airports we make observation tests not just at ground level but also at the various heights pilots would be depending on the type of plane.
  • All our lighting installations and products are also designed to be as ‘future-proofed’ as possible. This means, for example, that if changes to the layout of an airport are needed we can easily add extra luminaires to allow for these changes without causing any increase in glare.
Industrial lighting spill:

This is less of a problem when it comes to airports and ports, as they’re usually situated away from urban areas. Sports venues, however, such as soccer grounds, are often found in the middle of cities and close to people’s homes. Poorly designed or installed venue lighting can spill a lot of harsh light – during matches and evening training. Just imagine what this would mean for you if it were shining in your bedroom when you needed to be at work early the next day.

Midstream light spill solutions:

  • Here again, our designers and engineers know exactly what to look for before they even put pen to paper.
  • Our Modus S Series, for sports applications, has been designed with specialty light shields to provide high uniformity as well as to specifically reduce light spill to provide an ideal solution for venues in urban areas.
  • We’re also experts when it comes to national and local lighting planning regulations. So we know:
    • Exactly what regulations need to be complied with.
    • When any additional planning permission is needed.
    • How to stay compliant if any things change later down the line.
Industrial lighting clutter:

This can be a problem almost anywhere if the lighting design is poor and too many light sources are involved. Let’s think again about somewhere like Times Square. Each of the illuminated advertising billboards is vying for your attention. To make their advert stand out, advertisers will ramp up their lighting to the maximum. Other advertisers then follow suit. The results in an excessive grouping of lights that can be hard to distinguish and can be confusing. Light clutter often causes glare issues and also adds to skyglow pollution.

An example of light clutter in an industrial setting can be found in port and terminal layouts. If a port’s lighting system were made up of a close series of lamppost high mast around the entire area with each holding a lamp that’s always lit and directs light straight in front it would produce light clutter. The same can be seen on poorly designed motorways, especially on their slip roads.

How we stop light clutter:

  • On the whole, our lighting solutions are housed on high masts – especially in ports and terminals. This helps prevent clutter from reaching anyone at lower levels – such as the road or the deck of a ship.
  • Also, even when they’re all on the same mast, our lights are positioned so as to not ‘compete’ with each other. Our lighting designs aim each luminaire slightly differently to create a uniform level of light across an entire area – thus avoiding clutter.
A quick summary of just some other environmental benefits LED lighting provides compared to traditional lighting
  • They’re much more efficient – they use much less electricity, so far less global warming CO2 is produced to run them.
  • They give a better quality of light and its distribution – so a lot fewer lamps are needed to cover the same area. This means less need to be produced which leads to environmental savings across the whole production to distribution chain.
  • As they last much longer, not as many need to be produced – giving the same environmental saving as above.
  • They can be controlled very easily and work with things like motion sensors. So, for example, if an area of a port wasn’t being used it can be left unlit and the lights only come on when someone is in that area. They’re also dimmable. Both of these can produce big energy and environmental savings that can’t be achieved with traditional lighting which can’t be dimmed or come on instantly.
  • Traditional lighting can contain environmentally harmful, toxic elements – these aren’t found in LED lights.
Hetty Leiwy, Bid Manager - Midstream Lighting

Hetty Leiwy, Bid Manager at Midstream Lighting.

June 15th, 2021

Why port and terminal owners must invest in energy-saving lighting solutions now

Have you ever tried to load a ship in the dark?

That is one of the first questions we pose to port and terminal owners and operators asking how important investing in lighting is. A fundamental yet often overlooked asset, lighting underpins the safety, security and continuation of operations. Taking this into consideration, and despite it being a significant annual expense, economically and environmentally adverse lighting solutions, such as high-pressure sodium, and metal halide, remain the predominant solutions in ports and terminals across the world.

The reason for this often being a lack of awareness by owners and operators of the significant and easily accessible efficiency gains that upgrading lighting solutions can incur.

However, the argument for investing in energy-saving lighting solutions is two-fold. Firstly, with lighting accounting for nearly 5% of global CO2 emissions, with a proportion of these existing within logistics operations, lighting must be factored into port and terminal decarbonisation strategies. While there is currently no set regulation for the energy efficiency of lighting, European environmental initiatives such as EcoPort, which comprises of 102 different members from 25 nations, highlight energy efficiency in the top three environmental concerns for ports in its 2019 and 2020 report.

Upgrading outdated lighting solutions to LED lighting can result in over a 70% reduction in energy consumption. Owners and operators can therefore massively increase the energy efficiency of their maritime hubs, and as a result generate fewer CO2 emissions, by re-evaluating one of their most important assets. Likewise, LED light bulbs last up to 20 times longer than standard forms of lighting, in turn, reducing waste.

A prime example of a port successfully including lighting in its decarbonisation strategy is the Port of Tyne. With an investment in LED lighting, alongside a suite of other proven energy-saving solutions targeted in it its clean energy plan. The investment in a range of energy saving technologies saw the port win two clean energy awards at the Maritime UK 2020 Awards. The port also cut its carbon emissions by 700 tonnes in 12 months, with LED lighting highlighted as fundamental in achieving this.

Secondly, significantly increasing energy efficiency significantly reduces cost. While the initial cost of traditional lighting solutions can be higher, and an initial deterrent for some owners and operators looking to invest, LED lighting is undoubtedly the most cost-effective solution. Its durability, and the energy efficiency savings it realises, meaning that the technology pays for itself over a very short period of time. .

Not only this, but as an enabler technology, LED lighting can pave the way for performance gains in other areas of port operations, such as safety, security, and operational performance. For example, LED lighting delivers greater visibility when compared to other lighting solutions, increasing light levels by up to and above 50%. This in turn can increase the performance of CCTV systems and safety of vessel loading equipment – capitalising on existing assets.

The answer as to why port and terminal owners must invest in energy-saving lighting solutions boils down to reducing OPEX, supercharging operations, and increasing energy efficiency. As the maritime industry, and wider society, seeks to reduce GHG emissions in line with the energy transition, every element within the supply chain must be scrutinized. And lighting is an incredibly fundamental element.

Mark Nailer, Maritime Manager EMEA - Midstream Lighting
Mark Nailer, EMEA Maritime Manager at Midstream Lighting

An experienced Sales and Marketing professional, Mark has an extensive maritime background, both in the UK and internationally, covering over 11 years.

Mark’s a strong networker, with a track record of building lasting relationships. His role here at Midstream is, with our in-house lighting design and engineering teams, to help prospects and customers achieve and maintain the perfect lighting solutions for their operations.

With a wide-ranging background in Network Partner Management, Mark is also responsible for helping all Midstream Partners across EMEA achieve their business goals.

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April 27th, 2021

The importance of strong maritime partnerships

We’ve asked Mark Nailer, our Maritime Manager for EMEA, to tell us all about what’s involved in being a Midstream partner, why building partnerships in the maritime world matters, how we support each other, and what we look for in a partner.

What being a maritime partner selling Midstream means

Firstly, a partner for us is not a company that just sells lots of our products in a market. To be a Midstream partner involves actually being ‘us’ in that market. That’s key. They need to share the same values as us, have the same philosophy when it comes to selling solutions and not simply products, and place quality plus customer satisfaction at the centre of all they do. Sometimes that will mean missing out on the ‘fast sell’ to ‘win bigger’ in the long term. That’s what we’re always prepared to do. We expect our partners to share that approach too.

As with any true, successful relationship trust has to be front and foremost also – and run both ways. Without that trust, the chances of your partnership enduring are probably pretty slim. It almost certainly won’t be as productive as it could be.

The importance of these partnerships

Within the Midstream Maritime team, Rory McBride, our US Maritime Manager based in the US, and I (in the UK) are responsible for all our maritime customers around the world. However, the maritime industry is very much driven by relationships. These relationships on the whole are made easier to form – even despite the introduction of new ‘tech’ such as Zoom – by being in the same location. So, to effectively cover the globe we need partners who can, for example, be onsite within a few hours and not days.

Here’s an example of this power of ‘being there’ I like to use when talking to prospective partners. We’d submitted a tender to an African port but hadn’t had any feedback from it. Around the same time, we’d recently joined forces with a new partner in the same country and we mentioned this to them. As luck would have it, our principal contact there happened to live only 20 minutes from the port. He got in touch with the person leading the tender. A few conversations later, we’d discovered why we’d not heard anything back – which mainly due to not having a local presence. Not only that, we were allowed to address their concerns and submit a new tender.

This shows how much port and terminal companies value local support and representation. They know and trust that if there’s a Midstream partner in that country they’ll get the same level of service, care, and quality that they’d get from us. They’ll get it where it can matter the most too – at the port.

A lot of the big deals we’re making now have been unlocked by having a quality presence in a market that makes customers trust us more

That’s the power of the Partnership Programme. It’s about finding allies who already have, or can easily forge, those relationships. They can then add further value for their customers by introducing them to us and all we have to offer.

The role training and education has to play with partners

Training and education are absolutely essential to our Partner Programme, and we take it very seriously. So seriously in fact we make it a real commitment for partners to take on.

We don’t simply send them a half-hour ‘slide show’ and some brochures. Our initial training programme alone takes several days to complete.

We’re probably market-leaders in terms of the amount of time and resources we invest in upskilling and educating our partners. As I said, we don’t want them to go off and just blindly make easy sales. We want them to truly understand the lighting market. That’s why our training programme is so comprehensive and is followed up by post-training sessions and 1-to-1 support.

Over the course of our partner training we make sure they really understand:

  • Our entire range of products – their features and benefits.
  • The areas and environment these products work in – and why.
  • Who they’re selling to and what’s important to them – the key challenges they have and how our solutions solve them.
  • Why Midstream is about selling solutions and not just products – the Midstream Difference.

We’ve also produced, and continue to add to and update, a whole raft of educational and support materials for our partners. I’m not just talking about a quick PowerPoint deck. You have to give partners all the tools you can to go out and confidently create solutions that add real value. So, we provide our partners with:

  • Sales collateral – to help them sell.
  • Creative assets such as imagery and videos – to help them promote Midstream products.
  • Webinars – to share knowledge in their market.
  • Blogs – to build their profile.
  • Case Studies – to show the power of Midstream solutions.
  • Social collaboration opportunities – to back them up.
  • Event/tradeshow support and guidance – great places to begin new relationships.
  • Leads – if we get leads in their area, we work with them to turn those leads into business.

By giving this level of training and support we’re enabling partners to go out and have intelligent conversations with prospects. Because that’s what you need when you’re a solutions-based sales organization. They allow you to get a real understanding of the issues the client is experiencing and develop a perfect solution to meet them. Doing that not only turns these prospects into customers – it’ll turn them into advocates and ambassadors for the Midstream brand.

Why we’re not just a manufacturer. We do more. We support, we guide, we work together

We do manufacture our products. What we provide customers with though are solutions to their needs. The products we make are only one element in delivering those solutions. This is something we make very clear to our partners from the beginning. An example we use to demonstrate this is the care and attention we take when it comes to lighting simulations for a tender.

Some of our competitors will do a lighting simulation based on an empty container yard – which makes their tender look great and can win them the business. But In real life, where yards are never empty and have containers that block light stacked eight high, they’ll fail to deliver what they’ve promised. We do our lighting simulations and modelling based on a full yard with its containers in place and create a solution that truly delivers what’s needed. We call that the Midstream Difference. This helps partners understand the value proposition of Midstream – it’s not just the quality on the manufacturing side but also the design and thoroughness of our solutions that count.

We also encourage partners and give them the opportunity to share their real-life stories – why they won or lost against a competitor, etc. Our partners love to exchange these experiences as they can give insights on what they can and should be doing to grow their business. We also make sure to incorporate these true-life experiences in our training modules.

In addition to all the training and marketing materials, we provide partners with we actively support them when it comes to gaining new business. I’ve mentioned sharing leads, we’re happy to do more than that. For example, we’ll work with them on, and be at, pitch presentations too – either ‘virtually’ or in-person when international travel restrictions allow – if needed.

What we look for in a partner

A partner is one of your team. So, exactly like employing any member of it one of the key considerations you need to take into account is ‘fit’. As I’ve said, you must share the same values and approach to business and customers. There needs to be mutual respect and trust also.

Having a maritime background, client base, and market presence are obviously important. What’s also important is if they can offer us support and opportunities in more than just one port at a time and can help us service major accounts across their whole region.

Geographical location is understandably important too. For example, we already have a great partner that covers Saudi Arabia. To try to squeeze more business from that area by adding new partners there would be counterproductive and erode the trust we have with our current partner. To gain more business in Saudi Arabia our focus is, as it should be, on supporting our trusted partner there.

We’ve found that the size of a company isn’t necessarily a great indicator as to whether they’ll make a great partner. Big isn’t always the best. Mid to small-sized companies can often make better partners. Because if your business is important to them, they’ll focus more on it.

What really matters is finding credible partners to work with. Partners you can invest time and money in to give them the tools to truly represent you and your brand in their market. Partners who, ideally, have an existing client portfolio of companies you’d like to work with.

Want to know more?

If you’re interested in becoming a Midstream partner, we’d love to hear from you. Just click on the button below and leave us your details, and we’ll quickly get back to you for an initial chat.

Mark Nailer, Maritime Manager EMEA - Midstream Lighting

Mark Nailer, EMEA Maritime Manager at Midstream Lighting

See more of our Recent Blogs

April 9th 2021

Guest blog: The transformative effect of making operational tweaks to unlock efficiencies, with Chris Clark

Improving operational performance to boost efficiency, safety and security is a continuous process for most ship and port operators. Chris Clark Senior VP at CakeBoxx Technologies, reflects on how making incremental changes to overlooked areas can have a big impact on efficiency, sustainability, and profitability.

The shipping industry is fiercely competitive. Shippers’ demands on ship operators are increasing as they look for partners who can boost the efficiency of their supply chains, whilst demonstrating sustainability credentials throughout each stage of their operations. In turn, ports are facing pressure to support these requirements as well as meet wider regulatory requirements. This drive has sparked a new era of innovation and some transformational changes are on the distant horizon. The shipping industry is notoriously slow to adapt to change and whilst we await the mainstream use of autonomous ships and AI, the impact from making operational ‘tweaks’ at a more practical level should not be underestimated.

Critical infrastructural elements, such as shipping containers and lighting, are a prime example. Invented in the 1950s, the basic design of a shipping container has seen little change since. This is despite the fact that containers play a fundamental and major role in enabling shipping’s global supply chains. You may be asking, what is the issue if it works?

The answer is cost

A traditional container takes around forty minutes to one hour to load, depending on cargo. When you consider that some of the world’s largest container ships carry thousands of containers, this time equates to huge expense. Similarly, the original design of a container, with doors that are easily opened, also makes the cargo vulnerable to theft. With over €85 million of cargo thefts reported in 46 countries in the first half of 2020, making access to cargo harder could enable considerable savings. Likewise, there is an associated high accident rate with loading cargo into containers, the financial repercussions and reputable damage of which, can be fatal.

CakeBoxx Technologies

At CakeBoxx Technologies, we recognised that there was room for improvement, and invaluable efficiency, safety and security gains to be made by re-assessing the existing design principles of a container.

Our redesigned containers have no doors, and instead consist of a ‘deck and lid’ design, often tailored to meet unique ship owner requirements. This design enables greater cargo security, structural integrity, and supply chain efficiency. For example, our containers significantly reduce the time to load a container to around ten minutes. In comparison to traditional containers, this means containers can be loaded at a rate of five an hour as opposed to one. This huge time saving increases supply chain velocity and reduces associated labour costs.

Likewise, our containers eliminate the necessity for doors, meaning they are both harder to break into
and easier to load – minimising the risk of injury from unsafe loading.

The complete access to cargo offered with the CakeBoxx Technologies design also enables loads to be safely and effectively secured for transit from all angles. With recent container losses at sea reported globally, the increased security is vital from a reputational, cost and safety standpoint.

However, despite the proven benefits and concrete long-term payback, ports and shipping lines are slow to change their habits and adopt available technologies. In fact, the catalyst for a change in mindset is frequently a major accident or incident.

Enlightening port operations

From conversations with Midstream Lighting, lighting in ports and terminals is also a case in point – the similarities with shipping containers another stark example of where accessible efficiencies are being missed. For example, despite good visibility being vital to enable safe, secure and efficient operations, dated metal halide, or HPS lighting, are still the prominent lighting solution.

According to Midstream, LED lighting solutions can improve light quality by over 50% and increase energy efficiency by up to 70%, whilst improving operational safety and efficiency. These technologies go hand in hand in collectively improving operations and contributing to the terminal of the future, today.

We can therefore see, the subtle and incremental changes to fundamental elements within the supply chain, and the knock-on effect these can have on the entire infrastructure, that are the most accessible, and effective, yet remain underutilised.

No time like the present

Developing a progressive shipping industry can be supported by revising existing fundamentals and taking a holistic view of long-term payback. More enlightened companies are recognising that the lowest priced asset isn’t necessarily the cheapest. However, there is still work to do in raising awareness of commonly overlooked operational areas that can be updated to boost performance. These don’t have to create major operational disruptions or completely change the way a company works. There are simple, practical and cost-effective changes that can enhance efficiency and customer relationships. So, unlike many aspects of the shipping industry, action can be taken now.

Chris Clark Senior VP at CakeBoxx Technologies

Chris Clark, Senior Vice President, CakeBoxx Technologies

March 11th 2021

Why using technologies to reduce shipping’s environmental impact should be normal, not novel.

Guest blog with James Sutcliffe, Midstream Advisor.

With the shipping industry contributing to around 3.5% of global pollution and environmental regulation set to tighten, all aspects of the industry’s eco-system must be assessed for sustainability improvements. James Sutcliffe, multi-maritime business owner and Midstream Lighting senior advisor, discusses the importance of ship and port owners taking a proactive, holistic approach to reducing their carbon footprint and the industry’s overall environmental impact.

The current level of innovation and technology available to the shipping industry is significant. Despite the wide range of technologies proven to increase operational efficiencies, reduce carbon output and subsequently minimise costs, the rate of uptake and implementation of available technologies by port and ship owners is comparatively slow. From my position in the maritime industry, leading the strategy behind pioneering technologies aimed at ‘cleaning the industry up’, I can empathise with the challenges associated with the onslaught of options available. The considerations of suitability, reliability, investment and returns, as well as mitigating potential downtime, can be overwhelming. However, by breaking this down into small areas of operational improvement, the cumulative effect can be game-changing – both for meeting environmental targets and improving profitability.

The concept of continuous improvement has been a common thread throughout my career in the maritime industry. Back in 1862, my family moved to Grimsby, England, to start a shipping agency and stevedoring business. Five generations later, in 1990, I moved to acquiring and redeveloping ports and terminals, deploying modern management techniques and transforming rundown unsafe places into cleaner, smarter, and more efficient hubs. The catalyst for this was port privatisation in the UK, and with the increasing reach of the EU, the need for modern terminals and port operations in emerging markets – like our DCT Gdansk project in Poland.

We evaluate every element of a port’s infrastructure to ensure that optimum capacity and operational efficiencies are achieved. With more sustainable solutions required to fulfil the International Maritime Organisations (IMO) impending environmental regulations, re-evaluating the ‘green marine’ aspects of ports, as well as most other industry sectors, is slowly accelerating. This means there is a greater onus on service and technology providers to guide companies through the process.

Alongside Port Evo, I therefore established Crystal Seas, clean oceans means cleaner ships and HydroPort. Crystal Seas aims at tackling the issue of pollution at sea by providing ship owners with marine friendly and non-polluting technologies to clean ship systems, reducing the need for shipyard maintenance and vessel downtime.

HydroPort is aimed at reducing the carbon emissions at ports by implementing a renewable energy power source. Our solution operates by capturing the incoming and outgoing tides running through a turbine(s) in a port or terminal’s foundations to power the entire infrastructure. The solution works to facilitate a completely ‘green’ port or terminal with zero emissions and power to spare for ship plug ins and local industry development.

While the Crystal Seas and HydroPort projects tackle different environmental issues, their overall aim is the same – reducing the environmental impact of the shipping industry through relatively new technologies. Although the technologies are set to be more cost-effective in the longer term, and protect ship and port owners from further responses to future regulations, they are still viewed as novel and ‘forward-thinking’ – I think this must change.

A forward-looking, pragmatic and holistic approach is vital to not only ensure every element in shipping’s supply chain is individually considered, but to support investment in complimentary new technologies.

Lighting in ports and terminals is a case in point. A fundamental asset, which enables safe, secure and efficient operations is often taken for granted. This is despite the fact that traditional lighting systems account for huge annual expense and once erected are often ignored.

As a senior advisor at Midstream Lighting, I understand the vital role of modern lighting in ports. In fact, at Port Evo, Midstream Lighting’s LED technology is an integral element for our projects and clients who often have dated metal halide, or HPS lighting installed. LED lighting is proven to improve light quality by over 50%, increase energy efficiency by up to 70%, and, with a longer operating life, it is the sustainable solution.

I believe that making changes in, for example, port lighting, vessel systems cleaning solutions and marine based renewable energy power sources should all be part of the constant reassessment of ports, terminals and shipping today. We invest vast sums in handling equipment but often forget the bigger picture, i.e. end to end green technologies from producer to buyer.

This is where technologies, such as LED lighting, are vital to start initiating small steps and assessing other technologies along the way for future investment. There is an incredible opportunity to enhance the environmental performance of the ports and shipping industry by looking at every link in the chain. By taking a systematic approach to change and viewing technology as an asset rather than a complication, we will start making real progress to reduce the environmental impact on our oceans and improve operational performance.

James Sutcliffe, Midstream Lighting senior advisor and Senior Director, Port Evo, CEO, Crystal Seas and Chairman, HydroPort

March 1st, 2021

Why we must invest in terminal automation today

Guest blog with Christopher Saavedra, Terminal design service manager at Kalmar.

If ports and terminals are to meet the growing list of requirements needed for greener operations, the deployment of increasingly eco-efficient solutions and implementation of different levels of automation are necessary. Christopher Saavedra, Terminal Design Service Manager at Kalmar, shares his market insights, and why he thinks sustainable designs and automation will unlock the maritime hubs of the future.

In previous years, automation’s increase in both prevalence and perceived value has been hard to miss. Before I joined Kalmar in early 2019, I held many different positions leading port automation projects. While the industry focuses on the big automation projects, in Rotterdam, Germany or Australia, there are many other terminals that have seen big gains from process and equipment automation. For example, terminals that use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to help automate delivery and drop off containers, have reported an increase of gate transactions, reduction in errors and truck turnaround times. Despite these clear improvements, the reality is that many of the comparable industries, such as warehousing, are at a much more advanced state of adoption of automation.

Although I have already seen a huge change in the prioritisation and industry advancement of automation, the maritime industry remains at risk of falling behind and failing to reap associated benefits, such as improved safety, better customer service and a reduction of errors.

Automation and COVID-19

Over the last decade, we have seen the integration of automation in ports and terminals grow slowly in comparison to other sectors. This is largely due to the shipping industry’s conservative nature, siloed operations, and the avoidance of up-front capital expenditures. Likewise, the amount of global greenfield projects has decreased, and automation deployment and investment is still in some cases viewed as complicated, risky and expensive.

From my position at Kalmar, I can see that while process and equipment automation is becoming more widely used, automation’s growth is being constrained by a disconnect between perception and reality.

Take process automation as an example. Those who have not invested in it frequently cite a number of reasons: “There’s shortage of in-house capability,” “Our data isn’t good enough,” or “The technology has difficulty handling exceptions.”

None of these challenges are insurmountable. In my experience, most of them require very little to fix. When COVID-secure working practises were introduced in early 2020 and remote operations became a necessity, it quickly became clear from the productivity statistics who had invested in process automation.

When the next supply chain shock comes – and there will be others – the agile decision-making and adaptability that automation enables will lead to far greater commercial resiliency. The next unforeseen circumstance is unlikely to be a global pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be to cause significant disruption. A failure to invest in preparedness for future disruptions will be measured in workplace accidents, inefficiencies, and lower credit ratings.

Total integration

At Kalmar, we understand that sustainability and cost-effectiveness are critical for ensuring uptake, evolving ports and terminals globally. To maximise the return on investment, we take a holistic approach to our design projects, which consist of three phases.

During the first phase we assess different design layout options and propose tailored solutions based upon customer requirements. In the second phase, we distinguish the business case for these solutions; taking into account the cost, safety, operational and environmental benefits. Moreover, in the final phase, which is a proof of concept via simulation, we create a 3D concept model and compare our design against the customer’s KPIs.

We consider a wide range of eco-efficient and automated solutions in our designs. Besides the handling equipment offering, other energy efficient technologies, such as Midstream Lighting’s LED lighting solutions, often play a key role. For example, the right lighting is critical to the smooth and safe running of a port. However, most ports are still using high-pressure sodium, metal halide, or other antiquated technologies that underperform their specifications within months of installation.

Midstream’s LED lighting not only has a typical payback period of less than two years, but it also increases energy efficiency, enables a safer working environment, and has a multiplier effect on the value of a port’s other infrastructure investments. The design of the lighting needs to be also considered in combination of the equipment type and automation mode selection and must be built into the business case.

The terminal of today

Looking to the future, I expect to see owners and operators increasingly investing in eco-efficient solutions and different levels of automation, using technologies such as LED lighting to illuminate the path to greener operations. Especially with end consumers set to increasingly favour a low CO2 footprint in the overseas shipping of their products.
The ideal ‘terminal of today’ is therefore one, which is eco-efficient, flexible, optimised in all areas and led by data driven decisions. Setting the standard for the maritime hubs of the future requires us to nail process automation now, and increase efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain.

Christopher Saavedra guest blog Midstream Lighting

Christopher Saavedra, Terminal Design Service Manager, Kalmar

Feb 3rd, 2021

Midstream Spotlight: Light up the night, turn down the heat

High-powered LEDs and high heat environments – a white paper from Midstream Lighting

When it comes to LED lighting, high heat can present problem after problem. Do you know what these can be? What effect can they have on your lighting systems? And more importantly, what can you do to prevent them?

High Heat White Paper from Midstream Lighting

In high heat environments, where the daytime temperature is around 45ᵒC and it’s above 35ᵒC at night, your LED lighting systems could suffer from such issues as:

  • Lumen depreciation–if you’re in a sector that’s strictly regulated, like the Aviation industry, you ignore this at your peril because it could make your system non-compliant.
  • Colour shift – a big problem when you need colour recognition to be consistent across a whole working area.
  • Total light engine failure – the worst scenario where the only solution is to replace the whole fixture.
  • Power supply ageing – which can lead to a lot of maintenance and the costs that go with it.

To find out more about high—power LED lighting and high heat environments and to help you understand the issues you could face and how to avoid them you can download Midstream’s white paper for FREE here

Midstream Lighting