9 tips that helps you maximizing productivity and throughput of your bulk terminal.

Bulk terminals face numerous questions that require answers when progressing from initial ideas to a solid conceptual design. Performance levels need to be achieved but will depend on different bulk terminal layouts and handling systems.

In our design practice, we combine extensive bulk material handling, logistical, and operational knowledge with the latest simulation tools to create a design with an optimal balance between performance, cost, and capacity. As an essential link for commodity trades, bulk terminal development projects are strategically important with often high investments and long-term horizons.

However, it only takes up to a couple of weeks to simulate a spectrum of design and operational settings for a bulk terminal, so what is the secret behind it that helps to save millions of pounds annually by maximizing both productivity and throughput? Our dedicated team of modelling experts shares 9 tips.

  1.  To the point, while accurate
    The actual operation of a bulk terminal is often complex, with a huge list of interconnected factors, including bulk material properties, design selections and operation strategies. By designing a systematic simulation plan, important factors can be sieved to be analyzed separately.
  2. Good for now, good for future!
    Be Robust, flexible, and adaptive by using a holistic, iterative and interactive design approach, no matter if it is a greenfield or brownfield project. What if predicted volume share of bulk commodities is not as expected? How to comply with future climate regulations? What are benefits of investing on new automation and digitalization technologies on labour, productivity or flexibility?
  3. An integrated approach prevents critical errors
    Even with proper design and operational decisions, a single operational bottleneck (e.g., improper way to utilize quay cranes) creates delay in the whole terminal operation, like pieces of dominoes that fall one after another. An integrated terminal simulation, utilized by experienced consultants, assists operators in preventing such bottlenecks.
  4. No over-investment because of conservative choices
    For example, if a Cape Size operation happens rarely, and most vessels are in Panamax class, simulation helps to choose just the right equipment specifications that give the optimum overall productivity.
  5. Comprehensive data-driven dynamic analysis
    Berth, storage, and horizontal transport can be analyzed simultaneously, even by including maintenance plan, work schedule, dynamic weather conditions, …
  6. Select the greener option
    Simulation is not just about productivity and throughput, but energy consumption, emissions, dust and noise pollutions can be analyzed between different design and operation options to select a green option.
  7. To validate design and operational plans
    It is always convenient to see the virtual operation in 2D or 3D, when discussing simulated design and operational plans.
  8. Not limited to blue sky scenarios
    Major break-downs and emergency procedures can be simulated as well to create safe back-up strategies.
  9. Possibility for asking more questions!
    What if in 5 years, we need to handle material B, instead of A? What if we use double-lane hoppers rather than normal ones? What if we upgrade our cranes or grabs? Hmmm … simulation consultants will give the answers!

End-to-end advice for design & planning bulk terminals

At Portwise we have an expert team of bulk analysts who work with and maintain Portwise’ inhouse bulk models and tools. Our advice covers insights for investment and development plans, such as spatial requirements , operational efficiency, storage management, pros and cons of various terminal handling systems, to equipment utilisation rate.