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Published by: Tazilurima on May 14, 2012
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The ferry in Muong Khoa 2 Twin-skeg VLCC in restricted waters 4 CFD – a key to lower fuel costs Short comments 8 
   P   A   R   T   O   F   O   B   A   N   T   R   I   P   T   Y   C   H   B   Y   K   U   N   I   Y   O   S   H   I .   B   Y   C   O   U   R   T   E   S   Y   O   F   T   H   E   M   U   S   E   U   M   O   F   F   A   R   E   A   S   T   E   R   N   A   N   T   I   Q   U   I   T   I   E   S ,   S   T   O   C   K   H   O   L   M ,   S   W   E   D   E   N .
Forecasts aretricky – especiallyregarding thefuture!
Forecasts can easily be de-stroyed by political eruptionsor nervous financial reac-tions. Still some signs are toostrong to be eliminated inthat way.Asia is gaining momen-tum again, and it meanschanges for all of us. Asia hasten times as many inhabit-ants as Europe or NorthAmerica. This area movesvery fast, especially somelarge countries like China.China trade import/export in2000 grew some 35% rela-tive to the year before. Sizeand speed are starting toimpact world scale economyand ecology. Japan and Ko-rea led the way some yearsearlier, and from my ice-bearpoint of view it’s time torealise that the world’s pointof gravity is moving east!At the same time theneed for transportation willgrow, and since most worldinhabitants live along shoresand inland waterways itmeans business for us. It is achallenge to find ever moreefficient marine transporta-tion concepts focusing oneconomy, ecology and cus-tomer satisfaction – provid-ing appropriate technology.
Lars Afzelius 
SSPA’s staff is used to travel, being a consultant meansthat you work where the client asks you to work. Al-though our business is related to marine engineeringand marine transportation in a very general sense it stillusually implies that our clients have some close relationto the sea. In a recently completed project, however,the mission took our consultant to a remote mountainarea in a landlocked country in the Far East - to Laos.This is the story why.
Laos or Lao Peoples Democratic Republic which is theformal name, is a landlocked country between Thailandand Vietnam. It also shares it borders with Cambodia,Myanmar/Burma and China. Compared to its over-popu-lated neighbours Lao has only about 5 million inhabitantson an area almost equivalent to half the area of Spain. It isalso an ancient civilised country which in the 20
centuryhas suffered from occupation, civil wars and politicalpressures with the result that Laos today is one of theleast developed countries in south east Asia. A sparselypopulated country with large mountain areas, no rail-roads, no open sea connections and only limited air fields.A country which has to rely on the roads for transportand communication.
Build-up of infrastructure
To improve the infrastructure Laos has also receivedsignificant support from various countries. The new air-port in the capital Vientiane was built by Japan, Thailand isplanning a railroad connection over the Mekong river, theEuropean Union supports irrigation projects and severalcountries like the USA, China and Sweden support differ-ent road construction projects.Sweden through Sida (Swedish International Devel-opment Cooperation Agency) and their project manag-ers, HIFAB International, has in co-operation with theWorld Bank taken the approach to support national andregional road administrations in Laos with advisors in roadmaintenance projects. Two of these road advisors hadindependently a similar problem – how to establish areliable road connection across a river without building abridge.
The ferry in Muong Khoa
ational highway #2 in Phongsaly province.
uring the rain season landslides are frequent along highway #2 causing severe interruptions. 4WD cars are imperative despite the national road status.
Solving the problem in Muong Khoa
Laos’ national road #2 starts in Pak Beng close to theThai border, passes through the regional centre Ou-dumxai and continues through the northernmost prov-ince Phongsaly to the Vietnamese border and the cityDien Bien Phu. Since the road is one of only a limitednumber of roads crossing the mountain ridge betweenVietnam and Laos, it is of great importance not only forthe communication between the two countries but alsofor the possibility of opening up business connections,trade markets and provide communication to peoplewho have lived in a very isolated community.In the village of Muong Khoa in Phongsaly provincethe road crosses the Nam Ou river, a major tributary tothe Mekong. Originally there was a cable ferry connectionin Muong Khoa, but during a severe flooding in 1994,when the water rose about 20 m above normal levels,the cable was torn apart. Since then the ferry connectionis maintained using a small tugboat, which pushes theferry barge across the river. The main disadvantage withthis system is that the tugboat cannot operate during therainy season, when the river is too strong. As the rainyseason lasts for about 5 months (June – October) thismeans that no trucks or cars can traffic the road beyondMuong Khoa for almost half a year.
The ferry in Muong Khoa
ontus Clason,M.Sc., Project Manager at SSPA. He received his master’s degree in Naval Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology in 1981 and was then employed at the offshore fabrication yard Götaverken Arendal until 1989. He then worked with design and devel- opment of floating offshore platforms for GVA Consultants.In 1997 he joined SSPA as project manager for marine operation projects. Besides occasional ferry evaluations he is mainly engaged in simulation studies and simulation based training programmes.Telephone: +46 - 31 772 9121E-mail: pontus.clason@sspa.se 
he ferry landing and harbour at Moung Khoa. During the rain season the Nam Ou river may rise 5–10 m above normal level, on rare occasions it may rise up to 20 m.
he Muong Khoa ferry is made of steel pontoons and has capacity for two trucks or four cars at a time.The safety standard can be improved.
he speedboat offers fast services for modern people.With Japanese high performance engines and surface piercing pro- pellers these boats travel at 35–40 knots. Life jackets and ear pro- tection are mandatory.
ice fields domi- nate in the Mekong river valley in central Laos.
Natural propulsion”
The restored ferry connection will consist of a wire cablesuspended across the river valley about 25 m above thewater. A trolley will run on the wire cable and from thetrolley there will be two wires mooring the ferry barge tothe cable. To operate the ferry, the aft of the two wires isslackened a little from a winch giving the ferry a slightangle relative the river current. The current will then pushthe ferry across to the other side. The ferry is thus oper-ated without any power except for the man pulling thewinch.
The ferry in Mahaxai
In the village of Mahaxai in Khammouan province insouthern Laos there is another ferry connection. Also thisferry is important for transports to and from the remotemountain villages to the regional capital Thakek at theMekong. In Mahaxai the problem is different from that ofthe ferry in Muong Khoa. In Mahaxai the ferry exists and isfully operable with an electric winch pulling the ferryacross the river. Here the problem is heavy truckloads.Forestry is, besides farming, an important activity inthis area, and a lot of timber is hauled on trucks throughthe village. The timber usually consists of large logs, andthe trucks carrying the logs are frequently overloaded,weighing up to 50 tons. The roads are rapidly worn downby the heavy trucks and need constant maintenance. Eventhe ferry suffers significantly from the heavy truck traffic. Ina longer perspective it is questioned whether the ferry issuitable to carry these trucks or if it should be replaced bya bridge – an expensive alternative.
Bridging gaps in technology
In both these projects SSPA’s ship knowledge and exper-tise was requested to evaluate the suitability of the ferrybarges for further operation and to review upgradingalternatives in order to extend the ferries service periodduring a year. Despite the absence of oceans and portsLaos also has to request maritime transportation knowl-edge to improve their road systems. At the same timeSSPA got a glimpse of a different kind of infrastructuredevelopment.
Pontus Clason 

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