Case Study | Bulk
Masterplan review bulk cargo terminal
Terminal Graneles del Norte S.A. (TGN) of Puerto Angamos in Chile has requested TBA Group to review and validate the planning of a greenfield area located close to TGN’s existing bulk pier. TGN aims to be the most efficient, highest performing and innovative bulk terminal in the Latin America region. TGN contracted TBA’s bulk and container cargo flow’s expertise to help them validate their targeted terminal capacity throughput and the planning for their special container operations. TBA’s review on the master plan and strategy - using advanced simulation capabilities - gave a more than 40% increase on expected performance by improving their yard and handling strategy to achieve the potential copper concentrate throughput of 4 MTPA
Puerto Angamos was created in 1999 as a privately held corporation and started operations in 2003 in Mejillones, Antofagasta – the main mining region - in Chile. In 2015 and 2016, Puerto Angamos concluded relevant investment and expansion plans - covering infrastructure, equipment, and new technologies - to raise and to establish the level of operational performance of Chile’s northern region as a reference for multipurpose operations. Terminal Graneles del Norte is located in Mejillones Bay, at the heart of Chile’s mining region, 65 km from the city of Antofagasta. TGN - a subsidiary of Puerto Angamos terminal – currently operates coal for two main power plants and will serve as primary export hubs for one of Chile’s main copper producers.
“TGN is a bulk terminal and today, we only receive coal that we move through conveyors, so it’s mechanized instead of manual, as to Puerto Angamos is (being a multipurpose terminal, it requires more flexibility). This has been our situation for the last 10 years for TGN and for Puerto Angamos a little bit over 18 years.”
— Bernardo Sedini, Terminal Manager of TGN
The bulk operations at Puerto Angamos are currently executed by using specialized container rotation system (i.e., tipplers or rotainers) and uses mobile harbour cranes (MHC) mounted with a revolver spreader, to empty the copper concentrate into the vessel hatches. To realise TGN-Angamos’ mission as the highest performing and efficient bulk terminal of the northern region, they envision to be the first fully automated containerised bulk terminal in South America.
Bernardo mentioned why this type of bulk handling solution was also chosen for the new terminal to handle the copper concentrate cargo:
“Two years ago, TGN was awarded with a tender to build a new terminal to load copper concentrates. Today, we load them through Puerto Angamos and our main customer is a state-owned company which is the first producer of copper in the world. They wanted to modernise the way they loaded, so they tendered this new terminal with a 25-year contract. They wanted to load through a conveyor belt and a ship loader, because this brings a lot of benefits for them as a customer. It's faster, so lower turn time for the vessels and then the fact that you're moving the cargo through a conveyor, offers them some other benefits in terms of weighing, sampling, and many things that you can do when you load continuously and not on a box-to-box basis.”
— Bernardo Sedini
In March 2020, TGN turned to TBA Group for its port logistics’ expertise and simulation capabilities to review the existing master design, that initially had a more traditional approach of using automated terminal tractors for the horizontal yard transport of the cargo towards the hoppers. Bernardo showed much appreciation of TBA’s approach for projects, providing a synergy between simulation, design and operational strategies for concept validation and performance improvement of different scenarios:
“Defining the right amount of equipment was very critical, so we asked for this simulation from TBA. We have asked from other providers as well, but TBA has this consultant view where they question everything, and they investigate it, and they try to get to the bottom of the problem and see what the real trouble is and how to work around it. The discussions that we had, were very well defined and supported my decision-making as the terminal manager.”
— Bernardo Sedini
After reviewing the master plan, TBA proposed a more efficient performing system for the new automated copper concentrate cargo handling operation which were derived from the simulated detailed storage/handling strategies. The new operations entail rail and road container transportation and vessel load by ship loader for bulk operations, instead of using the existing solution of MHC with a revolver spreader, to increase the terminal’s performance. The solution integrates containerized and bulk operations by moving the revolver operation from the quay crane to the yard handling equipment (RMG). By implementing a conveyor-ship loader system for the bulk loading vessel operations, the horizontal transportation by terminal tractors is eliminated. This alternative ensures a higher and constant performance from conveyor belt, and it will bring reduction in CO2 emissions from the diesel truck fleet, requires less maintenance, and reduces the risk of accidents. By using advanced simulation to validate different scenarios, the best improvement for the yard and handling strategy resulted in an over 40% expected increase on performance.
Bernardo stated that although the South America region might not reach the volumes as in the States of Western Europe, South American terminals are very keen to learn about the latest automation technologies and to adopt them on a smaller scale, more befitting the region.
“We're always looking at new things. South America is very behind in automation, very behind in adopting technologies. We're not going to get to those volumes (for instance like to the US or Europe). But we do want to get to that technology on a smaller scale as we have the resources. We have the team; we have the need.”
— Bernardo Sedini
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