Simulation to Optimise Bulk Terminals
In this latest specialist insight from PTI Preferred Partner and simulation and emulation experts TBA, a key question for bulk terminal operators is tackled: how do operators make optimal use of storage capacity?
Dry bulk terminals around the world often face a common challenge: storage management. Dry bulk terminals serve as a strategic storage place for trading, therefore price fluctuation of raw materials also brings impacts to dry bulk terminals.
To have a complete and good understanding about storage management, one should look beyond the storage area. Various influencing factors such as the arrival and departure patterns of material flows, the internal routings at a terminal, the handling process, and the operational stoppages (caused by weather conditions, etcetera) also affect the utilisation of storage.
Some of the influencing factors have stochastic nature, making it difficult to perform detailed calculations that predict possible outcomes.
Therefore, performing experiments with a simulation model is a relatively cost-effective and time saving alternative in comparison with detailed calculations.
Stochastic elements such as rain and late vessel arrivals can be captured by simulations to reflect realistic situations.
The figure below is an example of simulation results for storage management based on different operational scenarios (i.e. rain, arrival delays from vessels and barges).
The use of simulations allows operators to compare different storage management strategies by visualising and quantifying the influences from parameters. This helps terminal operators in their decision making to evaluate different investment options.