Above: Before the outbreak of Russia’s war on Ukraine the TIS transport hub handled grain, coal, ore, containers, metal and clay, however at the moment only grain is being transported.
The transport hub “TIS” is located in the area of the port of Pivdenny, which is one of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports called “Big Odessa” (namely Odessa, Pivdenny, Chornomorsk), writes Mr. Aleksandr Chebruchan, Manager, TIS Terminals.
Before the outbreak of Russia's hostilities on the territorial waters and territory of Ukraine, the cargo turnover of the TIS transport hub was 30mt (million tonnes) per year. The nomenclature of goods included: grain, coal, ore, containers, metal and clay. At the end of 2022, it fell to 11.5mt (mainly grain). During the period of military acts, the terminals made efforts to remove the remains of cargo from warehouses, using unconventional schemes. The cargo was sent not by sea vessels, but by rail or cars. Thanks to the efforts of the world community, a sea “grain corridor” was created, which allowed Ukrainian grain to enter the market and provide food to the needy regions of the world. Traditional technological schemes of the terminals were reconstructed and adapted to the new requirements to ensure the “Grain Program” of Ukraine.
At present, the main tasks of the transport hub are not the usual and generally accepted productive or financial resulting activities: loading rate, unloading speed, cost minimization, profit. Personnel support, survival, security, energy supply and external logistics came to the fore. First of all, we have worked out the skills of ensuring safety for the personnel of enterprises, ship crews, inspectors, agents and other people who locate on the territory of the terminals. Such actions are extremely necessary in conditions of air alarms, light masking, and blackouts. We increased the number of emergency rescue teams, built additional shelters for personnel and protective structures of critical infrastructure buildings (electricity, communications, water, railway).
Then we reconstructed technological lines and warehouses for processing grain cargoes at all terminals of the transport hub. All conveyor systems, wagon unloading stations, car tippers, control and safety systems were revized. It was necessary to retrain workers and masters for new specialties against the background of the fact that a significant part of the employees were drafted into the ranks of the armed forces. The number of inspectors and resources of grain laboratories located on the territory have been increased. These measures made it possible to increase the possibilities for unloading grain without loss of quality and to avoid traffic congestion on external roads and railway entrances. The total grain storage capacity has increased up to 900 thousand tonnes. About 40 thousand tonnes of grain became possible to accumulate in railway cars by expanding the resource of its own railway tracks of the transport hub.
In connection with the rocket attacks on civilian infrastructure, a lot of time and money has to be devoted to energy supply. The administration of TIS decided on the need to provide autonomous power supply for the main technological lines. This will allow the continuous loading of ships, even during periods of disconnection of the enterprise from the general networks.
Currently, vessels are loaded simultaneously at six deep-water berths of the TIS group of terminals. Grapple cranes and ship-loading machines are used. The loading rate is from 600 to 1,200 tonnes per hour. Nomenclature of goods: corn, wheat, vegetable oil. In the media, there were proposals to expand the list of cargoes for marine corridor and including ore and metals there. However, Russia blocked such an initiative. That is why the Terminals plan to transship grain only until the end of this year. At the beginning of the war, ships up to 10,0000 tonnes and Handysize were submitted for processing.
Since the autumn, Handymax and Panamax have prevailed. Through the efforts of engineers, it has become possible to increase the possibilities and norms of loading ships in the direct version, ( that is, without using a warehouse according to the “Wagon - Ship” or “Auto - Ship” scheme). The share of this option increased to 30% over the year.
Because of air alarms and the restriction of the maximum pressure on electrical networks, TIS hub is not able to achieve maximum loading results. But the greatest loss of time is associated with the waiting for sea vessels passing through the Turkish canals and the accumulation of convoys for the passage of the sea route through the territorial waters of Ukraine. The work of the Joint Commission, which inspects ships, is slowed down by representatives of the Russian side: not enough staff has been allocated to the commission. Instead of 10 - 12 commissions, only 5 - 6 are staffed. There are outright quibbles about ship documents, crew members or the equipment of seagoing vessels.