Simulation Modelling for Bulk Terminals

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

Bulk terminal operations can gain considerable value from using simulation modelling in their planning processes. This value can be realized during the terminal design and/or expansion implementation phase, or by solutions to operational problems that are connected with process improvement and performance optimization.

Generally bulk terminals seek the highest efficiency and operational performance in a highly integrated and usually complex system as part of an overall logistics network. Simulation modeling can provide informed advice on where (and when) to make capital investments in bulk terminal facilities. This added level of intelligence in facilities planning will target capital where it is most truly needed to maximize results, without simply chasing a bottleneck to another area of the system. Timing of expansion plans and their associated investments can be optimized with modeling. Similarly, possible reductions in operating costs through simple changes in procedures or third party contracts can be validated.

Ask us how Ausenco’s simulation model provided solutions to The Iron Ore Company of Canada for QNS&L rail system project which ferries around 15 Mt/y of iron ore concentrate and pellets from the mine to its dedicated terminal. Our simulation model of the entire system determined current capacity, and validated cost-effective methods to increase annual throughput. #AskAusencoHow

In new-build terminal projects, simulation modeling also offers the chance to anticipate results in a level of detail that likely would otherwise only be known when the terminal is operating and the investment already made. This not only improves the return on investment but helps to identify and avoid costly errors early in the project. Beyond advising a project team on design, the video output of the results from modern simulation models are often used in the Board Room to assist terminals in gaining financial investment approval from their shareholders.

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