Scorpio Logistics will take delivery of Offshore
Floating Terminal (OFT) Mara in late 2010. A
Panamax bulk carrier being fitted with four cranes
and two cargo handling systems, OFT Mara has a
design loading capacity over 50,000 tonnes per day
— comparable to a shore based terminal.
OFT Mara is the second transshipment vessel
to be built by Scorpio within the last year,
following the successful commissioning of OFT
Zeus in August 2009. Since delivery, OFT Zeus has
been operating at Samarinda, Indonesia serving
major international coal producers and traders.
OFT Zeus has made its mark upon the Indonesian
marine logistics sector, being the first vessel to
introduce offshore homogenous blending and
other services.
“Customer reception to Zeus has been fantastic,” says Daniele Pratolongo, a director of Singapore-based Scorpio Logistics. “When we first introduced offshore blending, customers were unsure whether it would add value to their businesses; but the service not only allows customers to better control the quality of their cargoes, but it is significantly cheaper than onshore blending. Customers earn premiums for higher grade and more consistent cargos, but they also face fewer quality claims,” explains Pratolongo. And the proof is evident. Dry Cargo International understands that some Asian customers are demanding that all their shipments be handled by OFT Zeus.
OFT Mara will also have homogenous blending capability. The four cranes ‚ two Liebherr and two MacGregor — will be able to unload up to four barges simultaneously. Different quality coals will be lifted into separate hoppers and variable speed, computercontrolled feeder belts will blend the coals in a ratio selected by the customer. But OFT Mara offers other benefits for customers.
With a design loading rate above 50,000 tonnes per day, the twin Bedeschi handling systems will be able to load a Panamax in 36 hours, which is competitive with Indonesia’s shore based bulk terminals. Customers will be able to export cargoes quicker andreduce demurrage claims.
But it’s not just about speed. Fast loading rates can only be achieved if barges arrive on schedule, and this continues to be a problem in Indonesia. Many mines are hundreds of kilometres upriver, utilize small barges due to draught restrictions and often must outsource barging to unreliable contractors. Customers can be exposed to potentially huge demurrage claims while awaiting a single late barge.
Scorpio is confident that OFT Mara’s 60,000 tonnes of floating storage will take the pressure off customers’ barge logistics. “Mara will serve as a floating stockpile so customers can unload barges as
soon as they arrive at the anchorage,” explains Pratolongo. Rather than having to wait at the
anchorage for an arriving bulk carrier, possibly for several days or even weeks, the barge can
immediately return upriver for the next voyage. “Customers need fewer barges, and
again save money!” says Pratolongo; “and in the meantime, the cargo aboard Mara will not be
damaged or go missing”.
OFT Mara is expected to be in service at Samarinda from late 2010.