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Europe Container Terminal (ECT), Europe’s Biggest Port







The Europe Container Terminal (ECT), which operates 672 acres of PoR along the west coast.  At 50 years old, it was the port’s first container terminal, and recently became the first fully-automated terminal in the world.

We always pictured a large container port with workers all over the docks. This made it surprising to see ECT’s docks essentially people-free. Instead, we saw auto-guided vehicles and cranes moving containers everywhere.

Here’s a few facts about ECT:

  • It handles about 80,000 containers each week (about 100,000 during a good economy)
  • It handles 120 trains per week, most of them going to Germany
  • It handles 500 barges per week
  • It handles 22 trucks per week
  • ECT employees about 2,000 people, working in five shifts, 24/7

HEC Distribution is your USA Based, Global Supply Chain Partner, specializing in B2B Import/Export Services.  Please contact us today at, to learn more.

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Report: Industrial Fire Safety Equipment Market To Grow 7% By 2020

LONDON — Technavio analysts forecast the global industrial fire safety equipment market to grow at a CAGR of a little over 7 percent during the forecast period, according to their latest report.

The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global industrial fire safety equipment market for 2016-2020. APAC, EMEA and the Americas are the key regions of the market, which have been considered in the scope of the report.

According to Gaurav Mohindru, a lead analyst at Technavio for research on engineering tools, “The Middle East, which has an extensive presence of high-risk industrial sectors like oil and gas production and refining, is incorporating advanced technologies to tackle unforeseen fire and safety hazards. Across the Middle East, countries are integrating drones into their homeland security systems to fight fires and other disasters in high-risk industrial areas. These innovations may be integrated with the conventional industrial firefighting equipment in the near future.”

Technavio analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global industrial fire safety equipment market:

  • Outdated infrastructure in oil and gas sector
  • Redefined industrial safety codes and regulations
  • Anticipation of future scenarios using fire protection analysis

Outdated infrastructure in oil and gas sector

The oil and gas industry is considered to be most dangerous and hazardous industry. The history of fire accidents in the industry has shown that careless actions have, many a time, led to catastrophic consequences.

For instance, 27 people were killed and 73 injured in an explosion at Algeria’s Skikda LNG plant in 2004; the cause was a leakage of a large quantity of gas from a cold box exchanger that ignited when it was fed into the boiler.

This accident was in the downstream sector. In the oil and gas industry, the upstream sector, especially offshore drilling sites where many rigs manufactured before the 1970s are still in operation, constitutes the largest source of fires. The major concern thus lies with the downstream sector.

The majority of the oil rigs are in the US, which has more than 3,000 operational rigs with 98% of the machinery being in operation for more than 30 years.

These oil rig platforms are mostly equipped with traditional fire safety systems. After incidents like BP Macondo in 2010, the US government and the Coast Guard made it mandatory to install upgraded fire safety systems. The use of outdated machinery and fire safety systems will increase the demand for new fire safety equipment in the sector, thus boosting the growth of the market.

Redefined industrial safety codes and regulations

The development of new codes is in the process of initiation in many industries to ensure the safety of the work environment. The first step in such a development is conducting rigorous fire protection and operational analysis. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a US-based agency that coordinates with the community for fire protection to improve the efficiency of firefighters and provides a clear understanding of real-life fire accident scenarios. By doing so, the agency aims to develop the tactics and procedures needed for safe operations during accidents. Most industries like chemical, oil and gas and other prominent process industries are also upgrading their infrastructure with widely-used fire detection and suppression systems.

Anticipation of future scenarios using fire protection analysis

Earlier, a fire safety system in an industrial facility was installed with the primary aim of dealing with accidents after such situations had occurred. They were not designed to meet the future demands or circumstances. The number of equipment installed in a facility were insufficient not only in terms of the size of the facility but also with regard to the potential threats.

Codes relevant to industrial design are now updated based on rigorous and sophisticated testing standards rather than relying on traditional safety procedures.

For instance, the NFPA 2: Hydrogen Technologies Code governs standards for hydrogen equipment that is based on calculated flame hazards, which are caused by the system pressure and volume. The previous NFPA versions had regulations relating to standardized setback distances, which were calculated based on the exposure.

*Original article is from*

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U.S. Industrial, Manufacturing Output Rebound In April

Industrial production increased 0.7 percent in April after decreasing in the previous two months. Manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent after declining the same amount in March. The index for utilities jumped 5.8 percent in April, as the demand for electricity and natural gas returned to a more normal level after being suppressed by warmer-than-usual weather in March. Mining production fell 2.3 percent in April, and it has decreased more than 1 1/2 percent per month, on average, over the past eight months. At 104.1 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in April was 1.1 percent below its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.5 percentage point in April to 75.4 percent, a rate that is 4.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2015) average.

Market Groups

The indexes for all major market groups either increased or were unchanged in April. The rise in the output of utilities contributed significantly to gains in the indexes for consumer goods, business supplies, and materials through their energy components. Among consumer goods, the output of durables rose 1.3 percent, and the production of non-energy nondurables moved up 0.3 percent. The increase for non-energy nondurables reflected gains for foods and tobacco and for chemical products that were partly offset by decreases for clothing and paper. The production of business equipment advanced 0.8 percent, mostly because of a sizable increase for industrial and other equipment. The indexes for defense and space equipment, construction supplies, and non-energy business supplies were little changed. The output of non-energy materials moved up 0.1 percent as a result of an increase in its durable component; the production of nondurable materials edged down.

Industry Groups

Manufacturing output increased 0.3 percent in April. The production of durables rose 0.6 percent; the largest gains were recorded by machinery and by motor vehicles and parts, with increases of about 2 1/2 percent and 1 1/4 percent, respectively. Only a few durable goods industries posted declines, with the largest, about 1 1/4 percent, for primary metals. The output of nondurable manufacturing was unchanged in April, as gains in the indexes for food, beverage, and tobacco products and for plastics and rubber products offset declines for nearly all of the other industries. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) declined 0.4 percent.

The drop of 2.3 percent for mining in April reflected substantial cutbacks in oil and natural gas extraction as well as reductions in coal mining and in oil and gas well drilling and servicing. The index for coal mining has fallen nearly 40 percent over the past 12 months. The increase of 5.8 percent in the output of utilities was its largest since February 2007, when it leapt 6.2 percent. In April, electric utilities and natural gas utilities expanded 5.4 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased 0.2 percentage point in April to 75.3 percent, a rate that is 3.2 percentage points below its long-run average. The operating rate for durables increased 0.4 percentage point, while the rates for nondurables and other manufacturing (publishing and logging) edged down. The operating rate for mining dropped to 72.5 percent, the lowest rate over the history of this series, while capacity utilization for utilities jumped 4.2 percentage points to 78.6 percent.


Original article posted at

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March U.S. Non-Res Construction Up 1.6% From 2015

Non-residential construction starts increased 18 percent from February to March in the U.S., according to a new report (see below) from construction data provider CMD. March’s new construction total, $28.5 billion, was 1.6 percent higher than March 2015.

Year-to-date starts have increased 9.8 percent compared to January-to-March in 2015. In addition, year-over-year employment in construction in March increased 4.7 percent, two-and-a-half times as fast for all jobs in the economy.

Among the major type-of-structure categories, commercial and heavy engineering increased 11.3 and 20.7 percent respectively, and institutional starts increased by 27.2 percent. Comparing March 2016 to March 2015, institutional starts have seen the biggest increase, by 37 percent.

imageAdditionally, the jobless rate in construction in March was 8.7 percent, decreasing from 9.5 percent in March of 2015.


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Princess Cruises First in North America to Install SmartTray® Tables on its Trains

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., – SmartTray® Rail Bus, LLC announced today Princess Cruises Rail in Anchorage, Alaska will be the first rail line in North America to deploy SmartTray® tables featuring integrated proprietary expandable groove mechanism that holds PEDs and smartphones giving its customers a hands-free experience while freeing up much needed tray table space for food, beverage, and other items brought onboard.

image“With so many Princess Cruises customers traveling with their PEDs and smartphones today, Princess searched for robust, elegant, and innovative solutions that make it easier for their customers to use their personal electronic devices while eating, drinking and keeping in touch onboard,” said Nick Pajic, President CEO of SmartTray Rail Bus, LLC. “With SmartTray, travelers’ electronic devices are always within arm’s reach and in full sight – a convenience all of us welcome and appreciate,” added Pajic.

“Originally SmartTray was to only provide its patented tray tables with the expandable groove that automatically expands and retracts to the thickness of the PEDs and smartphones. Because of the aggressive delivery schedules, the seat manufacturer was unable to redesign Princess’ rail car seats in time to integrate SmartTray tables and meet the deployment deadlines,” said Jay Esty, SmartTray Rail & Bus, LLC, Chief Technical Officer.

“SmartTray team worked closely with the seat manufacturer and Princess Rail team to re-engineer and manufacture not only the new, larger, multi-purpose tray tables but also the seatback support arms, and the latch mechanism. We delivered on time and under budget,” added Esty.

Four rail cars will be installed with the integrated SmartTray solution for the 2016 Alaska season, which runs from May – September. Princess Cruises Rail offers service between Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. Princess also offers Direct to the Wilderness rail service between the cruise terminal in Whittier and Princess Denali-area wilderness lodges.



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Material developed that stores sunlight and releases it later as heat

The sun is always hanging in space, blasting out more energy than we could even use here on Earth. However, sunlight is much less consistent at ground level. You have to contend with nighttime, clouds, and inclement weather to use solar energy, and that means storing it. Researchers from MIT have developed a material that might make it feasible to store energy from the sun as heat that can be released on-demand.

Most methods for storing solar energy are based on batteries, which have been notoriously slow to improve. This new material could make the process more efficient by storing energy via a chemical reaction for later release as heat. At that time, you could use the heat for anything you want. It’s an incredibly adaptive material as well, in the form of a transparent polymer film. It could be built into car windshields to remove ice, or as a layer in your favorite sweater to keep you warm on a chilly day.

Researchers were able to create this material with the aid of a molecule that exists in two states, one of which can store significant energy. The material is what’s known as a solar thermal fuel (STF), which have been developed in the past. However, this one is different (and more useful) in that it’s actually functional in a solid material. Past STF molecules were only active in a liquid phase suspension.

When exposed to sunlight, an STF flips to a charged state. It can remain “charged” for several days. The molecules can then be triggered on demand with a small temperature increase or some other stimulus to release that energy as heat. You won’t be boiling water with this system right now, but it’s still impressive for an early design. The polymer film designed at MIT can currently release a burst of heat about 10 degrees Celsius warmer than the surrounding environment (about 18 degrees F).
The researchers are using a car windshield application as a way to test viability of the material. It would consist of a single layer of STF film sandwiched between two layers of glass. It’s a straightforward, but potentially quite useful application of the technology. It’s illegal to embed opaque heating wires in front windshields as many cars have in the rear, but the transparent STF film could be even more effective anyway. Testing shows that the burst of heat from a “charged” STF film is enough to melt the ice from a car windshield.

The team believes that it can raise the heat output of the material to as much as 20 degrees C above room temperature with some more fine tuning. They’ll also work to improve its transparency. Right now it has a slight yellowish tint. At that point, it could make a significant impact on electric cars, which use a large amount of their battery power to de-ice windows with electric heaters — and that’s only the start.

Request a quote from HEC Distribution for your solar equipment needs.

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