Modern Containerized Bulk Handling

By Joel Shirriff, VP and Global Practice Lead, Terminals and Transportation, Ausenco

Recent developments in containerized bulk handling technology removes many of the challenges associated with conventional containers and offers opportunities for increased efficiency.

This new system uses specifically manufactured, open top containers which are designed with standard ISO footprint dimensions, a removable rigid lid, no internal ledges or stiffeners, and painted with a high-release coating (ensuring 100% of the cargo wet or sticky is discharged).

This new container design allows for easy filling of bulk cargo from the top - using mobile equipment or an automated loading system, and for a simple discharge of cargo using speciality spreaders. The spreaders pick up the box, remove the lid, and in one motion spin the container and dump the cargo.

Using this system provides a low cost, simple option for moving bulk cargo to export without the need to develop a conventional bulk terminal logistics option. For example, loading product at a mine, and discharging it directly into the open hold of a bulk carrier vessel at port. The container and spreader assets require less capital to implement and are fully transferrable to other operations.

Why then has this not been universally adopted, but remains rather limited to a handful of basic direct-to-ship installation in Australia, South America and Africa?

In my experience, I have found that some clients’ apprehension to “trying something new” is a result of focusing solely on the new equipment and an uncertainty in how to implement this concept for their application. When presented with the bigger picture – the development of an integrated logistics solution that is optimized for geography, existing infrastructure and specific commodity – they are more open to this approach.

Have you had similar experiences with the introduction of other new technology?

In my next post, I will discuss how we used this holistic approach at Las Bambas copper mine in Peru.

For more details on our bulk material handling solutions click here. #AskAusencohow