Sea Transport Logistics (STL) claims it has designed a new
transshipment solution which has lower power requirements, can
handle rougher seas and offer faster transfer rates than rival
The Australia-based specialist’s Floating Harbour Transhipper
(FHT) patented design has already undergone rigorous tank
testing. STL head, Stuart Ballantyne, told DCI ‘dialogue’ with 27
mining companies eager to boost output without extravagant
capital investment was ongoing.
The attraction of the new design for commodity majors is the
ability to stockpile at the export site, downsizing the need for
expensive sheds ashore. The FHT can also be deployed in
shallow harbours, removing the need to build permanent berth
structures and invest in dredging and ship support services.
At its most basic the FHT from STL is basically a floating
warehouse vessel fitted out with the latest in environmentallyfriendly
dry bulk handling equipment. However, it also offers a
number of design departures from transshipment solutions
currently available.
For example, it can be built to match the handling and storage
requirements of the shipper. The Handysize variant offers
25,000–30,000 tonnes storage and capacity of around 7mt
(million tonnes) per annum. The Panamax option boasts
40,000–50,000 tonnes storage and annual capacity of some 12mt.
A Capesize configuration would allow for throughput of some
20mt each year and storage for 80,000–90,000 tonnes.
Moreover, in a major departure from the designs produced by
the likes of CoeClerici, Logmarin, Gottwald and Liebherr, the
FHT from STL incorporates a wet dock facility at the aft end and
comes with its own patented SLV feeder vessels. “These shallow
draught multi screw vessels ensure minimization of dredging, with
maximum payload for their draught,” explained Ballantyne. “The
SLVs connect into the FHT by means of a 3-axis connection
coupling for a fast coupling that will endure pitch and roll.
“The FHT dock arrangement will eliminate any stevedoring
damage to feeder vessels and transshipment vessels and will
eliminate demurrage due to weather delays on the feeding
operation,” he added.
The feeder can fit in bow first to push the FHT to cyclone
moorings or drydock. It is also designed so it can tow the FHT
to a new anchorage.
“The FHT negates the requirement for an expensive, large,
visually obtrusive storage shed ashore and instead of a 80,000-
tonne shed for a Panamax load for instance, the need would only
be for 5,000–6,000 tonne shed to keep pace with the small
feeder vessels,” said Ballantyne, who has now been producing
innovative handling and bulk shipping solutions for over 30 years.
The smaller FHT designs will be rated at around 2,000tph
(tonnes per hour) with the Capesize variant offering 3,000tph.
“This allows the feeder vessel to supplement the 45–50% of
export cargo during the load cycle without incurring demurrage,”
he said.
To keep operational costs down, the new design requires only
four to six crew and has no propulsion engines or huge
superstructures, although it does have anchor ground tackle plus
stern transverse thrusters, the latter to keep the combination of
the FHT and export vessel out of a beam sea wave vector, and to
avoid a synchronous rolling situation.
The exact wave heights at which the FHT can remain
operational are still undergoing tank tests, but Ballantyne said it
would be well in excess of conventional transshipping methods
which would help eliminate demurrage and feeder damage.
“Preliminary tests have indicated 4.5m significant wave heights
can be handled without stopping the feeder vessel operations,”
he added.