BMT completes berth capacity study

BMT Isis (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group, the international engineering, maritime and risk management consultancy, has recently completed a berth capacity study for Knauf ahead of significant planned investment for its jetty located on the River Swale in the south east of England. The Grovehurst Jetty near Ridham Dock is operated by

Knauf to import and transport gypsum to its factory in Sittingbourne, Kent where the mineral is used to produce plasterboard. In a bid to assess the feasibility, identify the effects and estimate the likely costs of changes to the gypsum import process, Knauf turned to BMT for a transparent and impartial assessment.

BMT assessed a range of options including bringing larger ships alongside the jetty, changing the ship chartering arrangements, increasing the cargo storage capacity and upgrading or replacing cargo discharge equipment. By creating an analytical computer model, BMT was able to simulate the existing cargo discharge operations and assess the effects of changes to the existing infrastructure such as cranes, hoppers and conveyors — all of which are used to transfer the gypsum from the ships to the factory stockpile.

Bob Hockham, business development manager at BMT Isis explains: “Increasingly, simulation is being used as a cost-effective way to make operational and investment decisions. By developing a well-built and validated simulation model, we were able to replicate the cargo handling processes for Knauf and identify potential efficiency improvements.”

The results from the analytical model showed that the greatest gains in efficiency were likely to be achieved by increasing the amount of storage space on the jetty, replacing the existing cranes with a new unloading system and increasing the conveyor speed. A number of recommendations were put forward enabling Knauf to plan their future investment with confidence.

Hockham continues:“From concept to planning, design and construction, right through to operation and maintenance, BMT’s holistic approach combines valuable engineering experience with sustainable environmental management and economic practicality to deliver high- value solutions for ports and terminals customers.”


BMT Isis provides high quality and cost- effective technical consultancy, providing safety, environmental, and risk management services to investors, regulators, operators and equipment suppliers.

The company specializes in providing support to high-hazard industries, particularly in maritime and transport; energy and resources and defence. BMT Isis’s consultants are experienced and recognized in these key markets, and it is able to transfer and apply appropriate expertise, techniques and approaches between market sectors where this is appropriate.

Barrier foil FIBC liners by Protective Packaging Limited 

Barrier foil liners manufactured by Protective Packaging Limited, combined with an FIBC, offer total moisture, oxygen and odour protection for powders and granules. The growth of FIBCs over recent years has reflected their ability to provide cost-effective bulk outer packaging. However there have been limitations in their ability to provide complete climatic protection for very hygroscopic and oxygen sensitive materials.

Combined with a barrier foil liner, they can be used to pack bulk products which previously had to be shipped in sealed containers such as steel, plastic or fibreboard drums. Not only does the barrier foil liner with FIBC offer a material cost saving, but shipping space efficiency can be improved by up to 40% over drums.

FIBC liners have developed markedly over the last ten years and can be open topped or with a filling spout, and can have a discharge spout fitted to the bottom. Liners can also be fitted with relief valves. With the option of several different material combinations, liners are suitable for food contact, and hot fill products up to 170°C.

Protective Packaging Limited has invested substantially to automate the liner manufacturing process and this has increased production efficiency to produce up to 80,000 liners per week. More and more companies are benefiting from barrier foil liners combined with an FIBC to protect bulk shipments and industries include pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, chemicals and polymers or any product which may be susceptible to moisture. 

Negative implications of UK ORR’s policy changes for rail freight market

The United Kingdom’s Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) consulted on changes to rail freight track access charges back in August 2012. Despite the consultation now being closed, the row rages on — and no wonder when one looks at some of the negative implications the changes could have.

ORR’s proposals included a freight specific charge, variable usage charge and ‘geographic’ charging for the next five-year ‘Control Period’ that sets Network Rail (Britain’s rail infrastructure owner) income for the years 2014 to 2019, writes Chris MacRae, Rail Freight Policy Manager, Freight Transport Association.

All of this looks set to see the charges freight operators pay to use the network increase, which will inevitably be passed to the end customer sooner or later. The changes represent a clear shift in ORR policy, which up until now has been to reduce freight Track Access Charges (TAC), leading to freight growth. ORR has a statutory duty to promote rail freight as well as having regards to the funds available to the UK Secretary of State for Transport and Scottish Ministers (the latter given the devolution of rail powers to the Scottish Government under Scottish political devolution). It now seems that the latter is taking precedence over the former.

However, it’s not as simple as that all freight TAC will go up. Actually it won’t necessarily — at least not yet, and not for all sectors. ORR is seeking to maximize recovery of ‘freight avoidable costs’ and it also wants to look at putting mark ups on the TAC charged to rail freight sectors where the market can bear this. EU law allows this, ORR’s lawyers insist. The ORR has therefore chosen electricity supply industry (ESI) coal, spent nuclear fuel and also iron ore to bear this. Leaving aside whether or not they can bear this (and the first and last of these certainly say they can’t), this confuses those in say the intermodal or retail traffic sectors, thinking this applies to them too, or will possibly at the next five-year Control Period. The ORR’s definition of a freight market segment that is inelastic and can bear these additional charges is if no more than 10% of rail traffic in that sector were to move back to road as a result of these increases. So in an age of EU modal shift targets as highlighted in the White Paper on transport, it’s okay to shove 10% of ESI coal traffic to power stations off rail and onto Britain’s road network? This traffic travels long distances (by UK standards) from open cast mines in Scotland, the power stations of the Aire and Trent Valleys in central England.

At the same time ORR wanted to introduce ‘geographic’ track access charging, or in its economists’ jargon ‘cost reflective geographic disaggregation of charging’. In plain speak, this means a route that is hillier or curvier with more bridges and structures, tunnels, embankments, cuttings etc. will cost more to use. This could seriously skew the market in terms of routes to ports. It also adds so much more complexity to rail freight operations. How do you account for diversionary routes during engineering work for example? For rail to win more business, it has to offer a seamless service offering, more akin to road freight logistics. A criticism often voiced by those who have considered but not pursued rail freight is that it is more complex to price and use than road — well this will make it even more so.

Overall, this is seriously spooking the rail freight market, not just operators and logistics service providers, but also terminal owners, developers and end customers. Investment in rail

freight assets has an investment pay back period beyond that of the ORR’s five year Control Periods. Boards of European and Global PLCs are just not going to sign off such long term investments when their financial basis can be wiped out by such changes by ORR. This affects operations and jobs in Britain: in a globalized economy steel makers and aggregates companies will take their investment abroad and source their products there. But such concerns are not part of ORR’s statutory duties it seems. A specific concern is the Scottish ESI coal supply industry. It could be damaged by this. Scottish Government is concerned. On all this FTA has lobbied ORR, helped its members in one to one meetings with ORR, lobbied MPs and MSPs in Westminster and Holyrood, while trying not to put shippers off considering rail freight as we develop our Mode Shift Centre aimed at helping industry comply with EU, UK and Scottish Government carbon reduction and mode shift objectives. But now we do need to signal such alarm in public. It’s also ironic that the Westminster and Scottish Governments are investing £230m between them in Britain’s rail network to enhance it for freight in 2014–2019 while at the same time ORR is threatening to wipe out the benefit of that investment.

ORR announced its conclusions on freight track access charges on 11th January this year. Its key points are:


  • v ORR will proceed with setting an early ‘cap’ for freight on the variable usage charge at a level of £1.68 per gross tonne km. This is a cap and ORR expects the final level of the charge to be lower reflecting their challenge to Network Rail’s costs in the full periodic review (which will conclude in October this year). ORR states that this early cap should be helpful for the industry’s planning.
  • v ORR will proceed with introducing a ‘freight specific charge’ for Electricity Supply Industry (‘ESI’) coal, spent nuclear fuel and iron ore. Following lobbying, ORR have acted on the concerns raised by the industry and its customers in their consultation and therefore are:
    • Not introducing a charge from other coal (non-ESI coal)
    • Not introducing the charge at all until 2016 
    • Asking Network Rail to phase the charge in gradually after then so that the full levels of the charges will not be introduced until 2018
    • Taking the lower end of the estimate of freight avoidable costs (which the charges seek to recover) so that the full level of the charges — above existing variable charges and the freight only line charge - (per 1,000 gross tonne miles) will be £4.04 for ESI coal, £11.76 for spent nuclear fuel and £2.96 for iron ore. The ESI coal rate is equivalent to the £5 per thousand net tonne km – the lowest of the three options that ORR’s consultants tested to inform their consultation. ORR calculates that the iron ore rate is equivalent to £2.50 per thousand net tonne km (compared to the options their consultants tested of £5, £10 and £15 per thousand net tonne km).
  • ORR will consult shortly on whether to levy a charge on biomass on the same basis as ESI coal.
  • ORR are not proceeding with geographical charging at this Control Period. 

ORR comments that it “understand[s] that these decisions are not what some of our stakeholders would have liked to see, but we have taken the view that this represents a fairer way of charging for rail services.

“We hope people will see that we have taken into account the points raised in the consultation and that our decision is fair and balanced one, and will appreciate that freight will still receive substantial public support reflecting the benefits it delivers for the British economy and society”.

Overall, FTA’s message to ORR is to get out of the economists’ text book and realize how real businesses have to operate and compete in a global economy.


Port restrictons and high barge charges are causing ship supply costs to spiral warns Hutton’s

Port delivery restrictions to ships are forcing ship suppliers to use barges for the supply of ship stores – resulting in hundreds of pounds of increased logistic costs, warns the UK’s leading ships’ chandler Hutton’s.

Restrictions are enforced for a number of reasons, including security, safety and weight limits. Meanwhile barge costs are rising with the charges becoming prohibitive at some ports. Hutton’s warns the problem is an issue worldwide and especially prevalent on continental Europe where barge supply has become commonplace.

“Ship operators are already under pressure to save costs and high barge fees put further burdens on their stretched budgets,” warns Hutton’s managing director Alex Taylor, a member of both the British Association of Ship Suppliers (BASS) and the International Ship Suppliers and Services Association (ISSA).

He advises vessel operators to factor in barge transfer costs when planning port calls to ensure transfer costs for ship supplies and spares are managed efficiently. Strategically selecting supply ports can result in a significant reduction to logistic costs when taking into account high barge costs which can reach £1,500 ($2,500).

“There are still some ports where shore to ship supply is

possible, especially in the UK, and we advise our customers to use these whenever possible,” says Taylor. “Careful planning when ordering stores can eliminate the additional costs of a launch or barge and the savings can be considerable.”

As part of Hutton’s commitment to helping its customers keep costs to a minimum the company has produced a chart clearly showing the delivery restrictions at UK ports and this is displayed on its website.

“This service is key to operators reducing costs” explains Alex Taylor. “Our extensive branch network covers all UK ports so we are uniquely placed to be able to provide our customers with expert advice on where they can efficiently transfer stores and spares at the most cost effective locations for them.”

Hutton’s has developed as the UK’s one-stop-shop facility providing the full range of products and services to the International Shipping and the Offshore Industry.

With a history dating back almost 200 years, Hutton’s ensures the highest standards are provided to customers from its branch network covering all UK ports.

The company also boasts first class facilities and a fleet of state-of-the-art climate controlled vehicles which deliver a full range of food and technical products to customers. 
London Gateway cuts lorry miles: New mega port removes 9,000 lorries from UK roads 

London Gateway received 90,000 tonnes of aggregate for the construction of the port’s gate complex, in a single direct delivery by the bulk cargo ship Yeoman Bridge, saving 9,000 lorry journeys on the national road network.

Colin Hitchcock, London Gateway Harbour Master, said: “Yeoman Bridge is the largest aggregate ship to come this far up the River Thames to date.The 249 metre long ship arrived with a 14 metre draft and docked safely along London Gateway’s berth two on Sunday.”

Andrew Bowen, London Gateway Engineering Director, said: “This mega delivery was going to be landed at a smaller port in the South East and then transported to us by road, but we insisted the ship make arrangements to unload its cargo here at London Gateway.We were aware that by ensuring the ship docked  at London Gateway we would remove 9,000 lorry trips, which is a massive saving in terms of emissions, fuel consumption and impact on our national road infrastructure.”

“In addition to taking shipments by sea and rail, we are recycling and reusing materials and have our own concrete batching on site, to reduce the number of lorries we have coming and going from site.”

The material from the ship will be used to create London Gateway’s fully automated port gate complex, which will use state of the art technology including optical character recognition to read container and vehicle information to manage traffic through the gate process.

Charles Meaby, London Gateway Commercial Director, said: “London Gateway is all about reducing the cost of road miles.We have reduced the number of lorries on the road in the construction of London Gateway and we offer our customers the ability to reduce their lorry miles and save on CO2, fuel and time costs as London Gateway is simply closer to the UK’s major markets, not just in the South East but also the Midlands and the North West.”

Drewry, the independent shipping consultancy, has estimated London Gateway will reduce round-trip transport costs by £59 per container to the Midlands and the North- West, and £189 per container for London and the South-East.

In addition to being closer to major markets, London Gateway will have Europe’s largest logistics park, allowing shippers to cut the cost associated with taking goods to distant distribution centres. London Gateway estimates 65 million road miles will be saved from DP World’s £1.5 billion pound investment into UK transport infrastructure.


Opening in Q4 2013, London Gateway will be the UK’s first 21st Century major deep-sea container port and Europe’s largest logistics park. Owned and operated by DP World and situated on the north bank of the River Thames, London Gateway will provide unrivalled deep-sea shipping access to the largest consumer markets in the UK.The port's location, with its superior operational systems and service, will ensure ships load and unload as fast as possible, making London Gateway a world class asset for the UK.


DP World operates over 60 terminals across six continents(As of 29 January 2013. Includes non-container terminals.), with container handling generating around 80% of its revenue. In addition, the company currently has 11 new developments and major expansions underway in 9 countries.

DP World aims to enhance customers’ supply chain efficiency by effectively managing container, bulk and other terminal cargo. Its dedicated, experienced and professional team of more than 30,000 people serves customers in some of the most dynamic economies in the world.

The company constantly invests in terminal infrastructure, facilities and people, working closely with customers and business partners to provide quality services today and tomorrow, when and where customers need them.

In taking this customer-centric approach, DP World is building on the established relationships and superior level of service demonstrated at its flagship Jebel Ali facility in Dubai, which has been voted “Best Seaport in the Middle East” for 18 consecutive years. In 2012, DP World handled more than 56 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) across its portfolio from the Americas to Asia.With a pipeline of expansion and development projects in key growth markets, including India, China and the Middle East, capacity is expected to rise to around 103 million TEU by 2020, in line with market demand. 
Cleveland Cascades Limited – at the forefront of biomass loading solutions 

Global manufacturer of loading chutes, Cleveland Cascades Limited, is seeing increased interest in biomass wood pellet applications, on top of another year of sales growth in 2012 that saw the company post record annual sales and be short-listed for two prestigious local business awards.

The Teesside-based (UK) company is well known for its shiploaders, silo loaders and road loaders for dry bulk materials such as potash, fertilizers and coal, with over 500 of these loading chutes already supplied throughout the world.

“This year, our supply references have included potash silo loaders to North America, coke shiploaders to Australia and rail loaders for sulphur in Kazakhstan,” says managing director, Matthew Barnard. “In many ways, this is our core business, as these are the types of applications we have supplied over the past decade. We are however also seeing increased enquiries for our Cascade loading chute for biomass loading on top of the projects we have already supplied for this product to UK power stations and the port of Tyne.”

The Cleveland Cascade loading chute allows the controlled and efficient loading of material from conveyor to ship, silo, stockpile or rail/road loader. This photograph shows biomass wood pellet loading of a road tanker at the port of Tyne, United Kingdom.

The material is supported the full length of the chute by means of an arrangement of oppositely inclined cones. This arrangement controls the mass flow of the material; loading at low velocity and high volume which means that products can be transferred with minimised degradation and segregation of product, meaning more efficient loading and minimized dust emissions.

Biomass wood pellets are being increasingly used as a renewable fuel source, predominantly as an alternative to coal. The loading of biomass wood pellets poses particular loading challenges however. Wood pellets are brittle and are prone to material degradation, therefore improper handling can result in increased dust emissions.

The material is also relatively low bulk density but needs to be handled in huge volumes to be economically viable. Wood pellets also have a lower calorific value than coal, which all means that the Cascade loading chutes need to be capable of handling large volumetric loading rates. This also means that silos need to be bigger and taller, meaning longer chute lengths. “This is something that we have encountered in the biomass projects we have already delivered. As in all our projects, our design teams worked closely with their client counterparts to develop the best possible solution to these issues.”

Traditional loading chutes that allow the freefall of material from conveyor to pile would result in high material velocity, subsequent material degradation and dust emission. The higher the loading drop, the greater the material velocity and the bigger the problems. This is avoided with the Cascade loading chute, as the material falls for a minimal distance from cone to cone throughout the length of the chute. As the pile height increases during the loading process, the chute is retracted, which allows greater pile heights and optimizes storage utilization in the vessel or silo.

2012 saw Cleveland Cascades deliver and commission loading chutes for the loading of wood pellet biomass in port unloading facilities and power station storage applications. Unlike coal, which can be stored outside, biomass wood pellets need to be stored in a dry environment to prevent biological degradation. Storage of the material also needs to be continually rotated, as prolonged residence times in the silo can lead to further degradation. The Cleveland Cascades Cascade loading chute allows the safe and efficient loading of wood pellet biomass and is available in a variety of configurations:


  • Shiploader;
  • Rail/tanker loader.
  • Road loader; and
  • Silo loader;


The importance of biomass wood pellets as a source of renewable energy looks set to continue, with industry estimates of a threefold increase in demand by 2020. Cleveland Cascades recognizes this, and its staff recently attended a biomass training course at the renowned University of Greenwich Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology.

This is part of the company’s proactive and innovative approach to bulk solids handling, which has resulted in continued sales growth and peer recognition in the upcoming North East Business Awards. “We have been shortlisted in two awards, the Export Award and Manufacturing Award” says Matthew Barnard. “It is a nice bonus to be recognised in this way, especially given the strength of competition in these categories.” 

C.H. Robinson introduces Navisphere App for customers

C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., a international logistics company, has developed a mobile app to extend the reach of the Navisphere platform, allowing users to access critical shipment informationwithAppleorAndroidTM mobile devices.

Navisphere app users are able to view detailed shipment information by searching for shipments via pickup or drop off dates, container, customer reference, or C.H. Robinson load numbers. In addition, users are able to view events of a shipment, imaged documents, and can email their account representative with questions on a particular move.

C.H. Robinson introduced Navisphere®, the next version of the company's single global technology platform, in November 2012. The platform allows customers to leverage C.H. Robinson's technology investments and gain access to a centralized network of more than 100,000 supply chain partners, without the need to integrate with each provider individually.

“Supply chains are constantly in motion, so having continuous visibility to each movement is a requirement for logistics professionals,” said Tom Mahlke, chief information officer at C.H. Robinson. “The Navisphere app gives customers another method to stay connected and informed on all their shipments.”

This release marks a continuation of C.H. Robinson’s

commitment to mobile technology. In November 2011, C.H. Robinson introduced its mobile app for carriers and other providers. The carrier app allows a motor carrier to enter critical shipment information, such as check calls and delivery information, as well as post empty equipment locations.


C.H. Robinson is a freight forwarder in Europe, with a dynamic network of 34 offices providing coverage throughout the region. C.H. Robinson Europe is a subsidiary of C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., one of the largest transportation and logistics providers in the world, with more than US$10 billion in revenues.

As part of a powerful global network the freight forwarder brings best practices from around the world and applies them to each relationship, providing customers with flexible, reliable service that sets it apart from other competitors, and give carriers greater access to available freight and quick payment options. The company's motivated, multilingual and customer- focused employees apply their local knowledge and expertise to every transport challenge and build strong, personalized relationships with the customers and carriers they serve. 

4B launches new JUMBO CC-S® ultra-heavy-duty elevator bucket line

4B Braime Elevator Components, a worldwide manufacturer of material handling and electronic components, has designed a new large-sized ultra-heavy duty elevator bucket line intended for the most severe agro-industrial uses, such as port and river terminals, ethanol and fertilizer plants, or frac sand and aggregate operations.

The new super strong JUMBO CC-S® bucket offers greater carrying capacity, along with ultra-durability and wear resistance. It has the thickest front lip, front corners and walls available for longer life. The JUMBO CC-S® is a High- EfficiencyTM elevator bucket, and comes in six sizes ranging from 14 × 8” to 24 × 8” with additional sizes pending.

As an extension of the proven and successful heavy duty CC-S® elevator bucket, the JUMBO CC-S® also incorporates the long lasting Iceberg® Edge front wear lip and the unique tapered bottom. Designed for the closest possible vertical spacing (up to 4.6

buckets/metre) the tapered bottom ensures efficient bucket fill and discharge, especially in low-profile configurations. This design allows the buckets to nest inside one another, delivering transport cost savings and storage efficiencies. “The

JUMBO CC-S® offers a substantial upgrade opportunity for anyone requiring thicker walled elevator buckets”, said Carl Braime, sales director at 4B Braime Elevator Components.

ABOUT 4B BRAIME ELEVATOR COMPONENTS Founded in the 1971 as a subsidiary of The Braime Group, 4B has been active in developing high quality, innovative, and dependable material handling components for the agricultural and industrial sectors.

4B’s product line ranges from elevator buckets, elevator bolts and belts and drop forged conveyor chain to level monitors, speed switches and hazard monitoring systems.

With offices in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia along with a global network of distributors, 4B can provide practical solutions for applications in any location.