The Latvian company NK Tehnologija has been involved in a rather unique, and very successful project, for its client at the Port of Ust-Luga in Russia.
Ultramar Ltd is a logistics company, specializing in packing, stuffing, transportation and logistics of mineral fertilizers in containers from the terminals of ports of Saint Petersburg and Ust-Luga worldwide. To date, Ultramar is one of the largest Russian freight forwarders of mineral fertilizers in containers at the Russian Baltic ports.
In 2012, Ultramar came to NK Tehnologija, requesting its expertise and technological assistance with its dry bulk fertilizer handling terminal at the port of Ust Luga on the Baltic Sea. The incoming bulk commodities used to arrive at the terminal in the standard 20ft containers, to be then loaded into the vessels by the mobile harbour cranes equipped with the regular container spreading devices. The containers lowered down into a vessel’s hull were manually opened and discharged by the terminal’s stevedores, who simply cut the inner liners to release the cargo.
NK Tehnologija’s main goal was to improve the process, i.e. to automate and speed up the vessel-loading process, trying to combine both the containers and dry bulk cargo handling technologies. The local environmental conditions were rather challenging as well: in wintertime, the outside temperature at the terminal could fall rapidly from a positive down to a freezing negative and then return back up, all within 24 hours.
NK Tehnologija was able to present its first working prototype of the container-tilting spreader to the customer for field testing in 2013. At the same time, the first specialized 20ft bulk container, to fit NK Tehnologija’s new spreader, was developed, manufactured and supplied by Nantong CIMC-Special Transportation Equipment Manufacture Co., Ltd. – CIMC. Initially, the tilting spreader was meant to be operated with STS cranes. The field tests had confirmed such possibility, but the spreader’s operation using mobile harbour cranes proved to offer much higher capacities, and to be more efficient, allowing the spreader to reach up to 20 working cycles per hour.
Following a number of successful field tests, four type SNP-20 tilting spreaders were ordered by and supplied to the customer by NK Tehnologija. CIMC supported the project with its specialized bulk containers provided in 2014/2015 and totalling 3,700 units.
Since 2015, the implementation of this container-tilting technology has enabled the terminal to transship a total of five million metric tonnes of dry bulk fertilizers. Through all these years, NK Tehnologija’s developed technology has proved to be sufficiently efficient, increasing the quay berth loading capacity up to 15,000 tonnes per day.