Port projects around the world

by Teresa Acklin
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A capsule of some recent developments in port grain handling

    • Itacoatiara, Brazil: Hermasa-Na-vegacao da Amazonia S.A. has ordered equipment from BMH Marine, Bjuv, Sweden, for a floating transfer terminal on the Amazon River. The order includes one fixed ship loader and one Si-wertell shipunloader on rails on a floating catamaran terminal. The equipment has a capacity of 1,500 tph and will be delivered later this year.

   The equipment will be used to discharge soybeans from barges and to load into Pana-max ships for further transport on the river. The transhipment system will replace a 2,500-km land-based transportation route from Mato Grosso to the ports of Paranagua and Santos.

   • Japan: The high value of the Japanese yen relative to the U.S. dollar in the past few years resulted in a larger volume of Japanese imports, and ports have reacted by installing new shipunloading equipment.

   Kogoshima, Hokaido, Kashima, Tokyo, Shibushi and Kobe have ordered pneumatic shipunloaders manufactured by Vigan Engineering, Nivelles, Belgium. The ports' orders were based on previous experience with Vigan and on efficiency and non-polluting criteria.

   The patented system with multistage turbo depressor is simple, with few moving parts and low maintenance costs. High average throughput rates reduce ship tie-up times dramatically, and the hermetically enclosed unloaders have no dead corners, eliminating cross-contamination.

   At Kobe, Vigan delivered its NIV 400 shipunloader with self-propelled gantry after the January 1995 earthquake devastated port facilities. Less than 21/2 months after the disaster, the NIV 400 was the only new gantry crane working at full capacity. By January 1996, Kobe was operating at about 70% of its capacity before the earthquake.

   • Manzanillo, Mexico: Comercializadora La Junta will install one Siwertell ship unloader, supplied by BMH Marine, for Panamax vessels. The unloader uses a new concept that combines a fast unloading capacity of 1,150 tph with lightweight steel construction to meet jetty load restrictions.

   • Taichung, Taiwan: The Far Eastern Silo Corp., which handles about 86% of the country's grain and oilseeds, contracted with Buhler Ltd., with headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland, to expand its grain terminal with minumum disruption to operations. The project, completed 18 months after contract signing, doubled the terminal's grain unloading capacity.

   To ensure continued operation during the entire expansion project, Buhler's new mechanical unloader Portalink 400S with a capacity of 800 tph was placed between two existing pneumatic unloaders. But the first task was replacing all the rail tracks and casting special foundations; this securely anchored the unloader to enable it to withstand the enormous forces generated by Asian typhoons. This work, too, was performed with minimum operational interruptions.

   The new Portalink mechanical high-capacity unloader virtually doubled the terminal's receiving capacity. Precleaning and input weighing capacity increased to 1,800 tph from 900 tph, and output weighing and truck loadout capacity increased to 1,920 tph from 960 tph. Storage capacity also was increased to 90,000 tonnes from 60,000.