Technical Papers - Dry Bulk and Specialist Cargo Handling
To meet the challenges of future global food production demands, grain handling systems need to minimise waste at every stage in the logistics chain. This is why investing in an efficient system is a shrewd long-term decision by a port. Investments in port-machinery are, by their nature, long-term. The World Bank estimates that from now until 2050, global food production will need to increase by at least 50%, despite a crop yield that may by that time have diminished by 25% due to climate change. Ports, shipping and logistics will come under unprecedented pressure to ensure that as little grain cargo as possible is wasted. Handling facilities which spill, degrade, or otherwise waste these increasingly vital grain cargoes will not be regarded sympathetically – wise considerations for port operators when making their next investment.
When unloading bulk commodities from cargo ships, there are several major challenges to consider in mitigating fugitive dust emissions, including: wind velocity, type of cargo, height of the ship, unloading method and the port’s proximity to residential and commercial areas. All of these factors can impact air quality compliance and workplace safety, as well as community relations. As local, state and federal air quality regulations get stricter, the issue of fugitive dust control and resulting runoff of water used to suppress fugitive dust becomes an increasing concern for port operators.
The world is currently experiencing a noticeable recovery in the petroleum and mineral resources sectors after suffering a major downturn for the last two years. This downturn saw market prices for nearly every resource commodity sink to such low levels that production was curtailed to minimal levels by many companies as they struggled to stay in business.
Biomass is one of the fastest growing bulk shipping sectors, fuelled mainly by wood pellets coming in to Europe to replace some of the coal used by existing power stations. Obviously as a fuel it is combustible; the same can be said for coal, but animal feed, grain, sugar and other organic material can behave in the same way.