The floating solution: offshore transshipment stations for loading coal



Capt. Giordano Scotto d’Aniello, Head of Commercial Department, Coeclerici Logistics, Milan, Italy


Indonesian coal production has increased in recent years, currently making the country the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal and the third largest exporter of steaming coal. Demand is expected to be increased further by domestic power plants. Coal for power generation accounts for more than 60 percent of Indonesia’s total coal consumption, and Indonesian major coal producers are all forecast to produce more coal this year, according to reports from Reuters. Worldwide demand for power is growing: Indonesia, India, China, South Africa, Vietnam are examples of countries whose power consumption is expected to grow rapidly.

Indonesian company PT Berau Coal, the fifth largest coal exporter in the country, is planning to significantly increase its coal production. Established in 1983, PT Berau Coal has its production site in the Berau area, East Kalimantan, within the concession awarded to the company by the Government of Indonesia. The concession area covers approximately 1,200 square kilometers, and production is divided into three main areas (Lati, Binungan and Sanbarata), while exploration in the Kelai and Punan areas is still progressing.

The total coal production, apart from the portion dedicated to the internal consumption, is commercialized and exported to countries such as Chile, China, India and Japan, just to name a few. Berau plans to boost its coal production passing from the current annual volume of 15 million tons up to 30 million tons, over the course of around five years from mid-2011.

In order to support and guarantee the future expansion of its annual throughput, PT Berau Coal has requested Coeclerici Logistics to design a tailor-made offshore transshipment solution for loading coal into ocean going vessels (OGV).

The solution Coeclerici proposed to PT Berau is a floating transfer station (FTS). The FTS is conceptualized and designed by Coeclerici Logistics, and patented in various countries including Indonesia. The FTS solution results in better stability, therefore enabling the facility to operate in more adverse weather conditions. Coeclerici Logistics’ investment is estimated to be in the range of €20 million. The contract, signed in December 2009, has further strengthened Coeclerici Logistics’ presence in Indonesia and reconfirms the company as a key provider of offshore logistics services to the major Indonesian coal producers. The contract provides for a minimum guaranteed quantity of about 40 million mt during its ten years duration. The FTS will be able to perform a loading rate in excess of 30,000mt per day.

FTS specification

The FTS – presently under construction in China – is a nonpropelled barge of approximately 11,000 DWT, duly designed to smoothly perform coal transloading while in operation at its Muara Pantai anchorage.

The FTS is equipped with two heavy-duty cranes and two swiveling ship-loaders, along with a combination of hoppers and conveyors. European manufacturers will supply the whole of the handling system, as well as the main equipment. Accommodation will be structural, and include the cargo control room and the crew living spaces.

The FTS is designed with a minimum air draft of 18.5m at maximum draft, making it able to transship an average of 1,200t/h net in standard conditions (with a peak of 1,500t/h) from barges to OGV, up to cape-size vessels with a maximum beam of 45m and maximum DWT of 180,000. Its main provisional dimensions are as per Table 1.

Main equipment

Two heavy-duty cranes of 30 tons SWL will be installed on the vessel starboard side towards amidship, in order to guarantee the optimization of the barge/FTS cycle. The system is furnished with grabs for coal of between 19.7m3 and 22m3, as well as:

• Two duly designed hoppers with belt-feeders
• A belt conveyor system, designed to handle 2,000t/h of coal
• Two ship-loaders with swiveling trimming spouts.

The FTS is environmentally friendly and designed to meet the requirements of international classification societies such as IMO, MARPOL (SOPEP), IOPP, ISPP, IAPP; as well as local regulations and Coeclerici’s own standards.

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