If the changed economic landscape since the 2008 downturn taught the worldwide economy anything, it was to expect the unexpected. Arguably, uncertainty has become the new norm. Stability and security as we knew it, no longer exists and the business model for the Ports and Terminals sector, like most others, has changed dramatically. The economic, social and political fluidity means that Port Operators require more in terms of their investment. Malachy Gribben, Commercial Director with Telestack, explains why there is increased demand for mobile equipment in Ports and Terminals as the sector moves to adapt to the ever changing demands on their operation.
The overwhelming trend in ports and harbours globally is to increase flexibility, productivity and efficiency, while minimizing costs, labour, fuel and emissions. The ability to use the same equipment along several parts of the logistics chain from pit to port, is a key driver for many port and terminal operators who are looking to maximise on their capital investment! The mobility factor ensures port operators and stevedores can use the equipment as required in one area of the multi-purpose port and move to another very easily and quickly, or move the units to storage areas, as and when required - flexibility that can never be achieved by a fixed infrastructure system!
In a recent installation commissioned by in the Philippines for Seasia Nectar Port Services Inc. (SNPSI) (a joint venture between Seasia Logistics Philippines Inc. and Nectar Group Ltd) at their US$18.5 million dry bulk terminal in Bataan, the same Telestack equipment is used for shiploading, ship unloading as well as stockpiling in the multi-cargo berth. The new terminal is now able to handle a range of shipments including coal, clinker, silica sand and cement raw materials, as well as steel, fertilizer and other dry bulk cargoes and has an annual capacity of at least 3 million tonnes and the ability to move equipment quickly and easily to accommodate other processes is a key factor in the success of the operation. At the ship unloading part of the process in this multi-cargo berth called Mariveles Multipurpose Terminal, cement clinker is fed from mobile cranes onto a mobile Dockside Unloading Hopper which is feeding onto a range of mobile link conveyors transferring material to the rear of the quayside. Here the cement clinker is stockpiled using Telestack mobile radial stackers. The use of mobile systems has resulted in an increase in production rates and flexibility onsite with each system producing in excess of 400tph each. In addition to the ship unloading and stacking processes, Nectar also use the same equipment to reclaim coal and load up to 2,000 tonne barges for ship loading.
Production rates are not compromised by using mobile equipment as they have the ability to achieve a continuous loading production rate of up to 3,000tph and can load up to handymax/ baby capesize vessels. The advantages also include lower capital expenditure, lower operating costs, less reliance on human skills/training, better environmental performance, safer sites as there is less potential for human error, fewer planning requirements, significantly lower civil/ infrastructure costs and excellent resale opportunities/values. In addition, the elimination of the double handling of the material maintains the integrity of the product and the mobility ensures that the unit can support any existing stacker reclaimer system during breakdowns or planned maintenance. The mobile solution can also access hard to reach parts of the stockyard, so operators can increase stockpile capacities and utilise space.
More and more of the critical resources needed now and in the future to satisfy global expansion are being mined in remote locations around the world. Often these locations lack adequate infrastructure to cost effectively get the commodity from pit to an inland river terminal/sea port. As a consequence miners often have to invest heavily in infrastructure to get the material to the port and then onto the vessel. Even with the infrastructure in place, bottlenecks along this logistics chain can prevent the realization of export potential and the associated revenue streams. The use of mobile rapid deployment solutions using a unique range of self-powered mobile conveyors and hopper/feeders, enable miners to quickly and cost effectively stack and reclaim material or quickly create buffer stockpiles at the mine or at the port to help offset any unplanned downtime or bottlenecks.
Flexibility and fluidity is key and the increasing need to move equipment quickly and easily is becoming paramount. Change the nature of your operation to adapt to the changing political factors or demand for one product over another. Multi-modal operation enhanced with All Wheel Travel technology giving enhanced operational flexibility. And the customer can customise their equipment to suit their specific application and their quayside conditions. If market conditions change, the Telestack equipment can be easily shipped globally to a variety of industries making resale values excellent.
We’re also seeing many more businesses moving bulk material by the coastal network, rivers and rail so there is huge potential there for Telestack
Telestack react quickly to changing economic/political conditions as by creating innovative designs that are very easy and quick to disassemble and pack into containers and can be ready to ship in as little as a week; the equipment has excellent resale value as it can be shipped and re-sold globally; and can be re-sold into applications in sea ports, river terminals, mines, quarries, power stations, cement plants, steel mills etc.
Mobile equipment helps reduce initial capital expenditure as they are typically significantly cheaper to buy than mobile harbour cranes, stationary systems and the like. The mobile equipment also means there are typically significantly lower civil engineering and infrastructure costs and can easily link into existing material handling systems.
The customer can very quickly be generating revenue streams as lead times from the factory can be as little as 10 weeks. Designed to not require any on site welding, a typical shiploading unit can be transported in several 40 ft containers and operational within a week – all with limited/ no planning requirements or restrictions as found with stationary solutions.
Moreover the operating costs are significantly less than traditional systems as mobile solutions are continuously loading as opposed to grabs/ wheel loaders/trucks coming back empty in the cycle. The ease of use means that all machines are simple to operate, maintain and troubleshoot as there are no complicated electrics/electronics to manage and hydraulics can be kept to a minimum. The skill levels are not as demanding/costly as traditional material handling methods and all v all machines can run off diesel hydraulic power, diesel electric power via on-board generators or from electric power already available on site.
Malachy explained about the education process “Education to potential clients and consultants is hugely important to us and we spend a lot of time explaining that there is always a different way to handle bulk material, allowing them to save on the cost per tonne of processing. One example was in West Africa where there was a project for loading iron-ore into ships. The company involved hired a consultant who wasn’t familiar with our technology and advised the company that it wouldn’t work. They did their own research eventually and ended up buying the mobile ship-loading equipment direct from us and they have since run 7m tonnes of material through it and have purchased 9 machines from us over the years. It’s all about getting people to look beyond how they normally think about bulk material handling. By using our equipment, it also means that there is much less vehicle movement on site, so it makes it a lot safer for employees and eliminates any operator error.
For many companies, the transportation and handling of dry bulk materials is a central aspect of modern worldwide trade. The bulk material handling industry was reliant on very basic machinery such as dump trucks, wheel loaders and grab cranes and bucket systems. However these methods are becoming increasingly more redundant due to the negative results they produced such as cargo loss through spillage, environmental pollution and cargo degradation, which started to make their use less acceptable both from a government perspective as well as among the general public who were becoming concerned with the consequential health implications. Mobile equipment can also be designed specifically for the range of applications and is flexible so it can work with more than one material and takes into consideration their differing weights, densities and flow. They can be designed to take into consideration the specific environmental regulations in the areas that their machines will be working within. Designed with fully sealed transfer points, dust can be controlled via either suppression, containment or extraction and discharge chutes can be fitted to direct material into bottom of vessel.
In addition the mobile equipment allows the customer to better adhere to health and safety requirements as fewer operators are needed and there is less movement of equipment resulting in less potential for human error and the higher risk activities such as having equipment/people within the hatch during loading is eliminated.