Dry bulk terminal capacity planning



Dr Mi-Rong Wu, consultant, TBA, Delft, The Netherlands



In 2012, the international seaborne trade for dry bulk cargo continued to grow: an overall growth of 5.7 percent, within which was a 7.2 percent increase rate for major bulks. Unlike other types of terminals (e.g. container terminals, general cargo terminals), for dry bulk terminals it is important to distinguish if they are export or import terminals. Because of the differences in objectives (i.e. export or import dry bulks), an export bulk terminal is designed rather differently from an import bulk terminal.

Export terminals are often located closer to the sources of bulk materials (e.g. mines); they focus on facilitating the outgoing flows of material, determined by the availability and characteristics of inland transportation. Sometimes export terminals have to keep a large (still unsold) stock, to support pricing in material trade. In many cases export terminals handle a limited number of material types, due to their location or ownership (terminals owned by traders/mining companies). In general, import terminals need to match services both to the waterside and landside modalities; this is a challenge especially when such services must be offered simultane-ously. In many cases import terminals face a stochastic arrival of vessels, and the landside services and inland modalities are selected by the consignee and  thus are difficult for the terminal to plan. Unlike export terminals, import terminals usually handle multiple types and/or grades of bulk materials; hence the resulting complexity of waterside and landside services will be even larger. This article will focus on the analysis of export terminals.

Expansion of export terminals

As previously mentioned, export terminals usually handle less types/grades of bulk materials than import terminals. In general, the more types/grades of materials the terminal needs to handle, the larger the required storage area. This is because of concerns such as cross-contamination and/ or certification requirement.

Van Vianen et al. also indicate that the ….

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