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Offshore Transshipment Facilities Offshore Handling of Dry Bulk Cargo

Author / Editor: Sanjeev Mathur * / Marcel Dröttboom

Since many ports were not able to cater with the spurt in demand for coal and iron ore world wide, offshore transshipment became the only answer. Up-to-date transshipment facilities employ more than one crane on the pontoon and a complex cargo handling system consisting of hoppers, conveyors and ship loader. Three examples show how it is done.

Related Companies

(Picture: Bedeschi)

The last decade has witnessed phenomenal growth in the development of offshore transshipment. With the spurt in demand for coal and iron ore world wide it became inevitable that the only way to succeed in the competitive environment was to reduce the freight element in the overall raw material supply chain and the only way to do this was to increase the shipment size. Since the ports were not able to cater to this requirement; offshore transshipment became the only answer. There are many ways of doing this and various transshipment solutions have evolved ranging from simple floating cranes to floating transfer stations with large offshore storage.

Next Stage Technological Development

The second stage of the technology is the introduction of one more crane on the pontoon and the addition of the cargo handling system consisting of hoppers, conveyors and ship loader. By way of doing this the loading rate increases dramatically and modern system like these offer rate higher than 35 000 tonnes per day which are comparable with any shore based facility too. The cargo handling system, although simple is in reality a very intricate technology and requires years of experience in handling all kinds of dry bulk materials.

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Since the beginning of the last century Italian company Bedeschi has been involved in handling various kinds of dry bulk material for a variety of industries like cement, brick, clinker, coal, bauxite, iron ore, coal etc. It is since 2004 that the company recognised the vast potential of the growing offshore transshipment market and started developing cargo handling systems for offshore applications, too.

There are various type of cargo handling systems depending on their application. If the system is to be used for loading purposes, then the ship loader needs to have a large outreach and sufficient air draft to be able to deliver cargo in the holds of a large vessel, on ballast. If, on the other hand, the system is designed for unloading of ocean going vessel, then the ship loader gets replaced by a barge loader. Bedeschi has the distinction of implementing various transshipment systems in different parts of the world which are in successful operation. Herein below we will now examine a few systems as case study.

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