Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

F. Tarragona Dry Bulk Terminals Cost Analysis.
Masters thesis, Report 2006.TL.7070, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

The role of the harbour system in the present economy is fundamental due to the great quantity of international trade that takes place in ports. In this context, one of the most important transport flows is dry bulk material, which has shown a strong increase during the last decades.
The transfer of this material between sea vessels and inland means of transport takes place in dry bulk terminals.

Dry bulk terminals are transport systems that tranship the dry bulk material from the sea transport to the terrestrial and fluvial transport, or the other way around, consisting of different sub-systems that determine the functions performed at the terminal.

To design a dry bulk terminal a lot of aspects have to be contemplated: the kind of material handled (major bulk, minor bulk or grain), the flow direction (export, import or transit terminal) and the functions to be fulfilled. Different situations are covered by different equipment, infrastructures, resources and operational factors.

All these different designs, together with other factors (the country where the terminal is located, external environment, age and conditions of the terminal, etc.), determine the costs related to the construction of the terminal and the ones associated to the handling of the dry bulk material at the terminal.

To analyse the construction, the cost to create the harbour area and the cost of the equipment are described. To evaluate this cost of construction, the characteristics of Dalrymple Bay are taken as reference.
The cost of the factors that determine the cost structure is related to the tonnes per hour that can be handled in the terminal. It is shown that more than 50% of the construction costs are due to the equipment, especially the one working in the storage area.
It is also important to consider the amortization of the assets to assign a part of the expenses of the equipment and buildings to the cost of the tonnes handled.

To analyse the operating costs several expenses are considered: manning, repairs and maintenance, stores and supplies, insurance and administration costs. The impact of each asset is observed in the terminals owned by HES Beheer. The tonnes that can be handled in each terminal and the income statement are related in order to obtain the unit cost of the material handled in each terminal.

It is observed that among these terminals, the unit cost varies from 0.5 to 1.5 € per tonne due to the variability of the factors that determine the cost. Besides this, analysing the influence of each asset to the final cost, it is noticed that more than 30% of the operating costs are due to the manning.

It is hard to come to conclusions for an analysis like the one presented in this report. Every dry bulk terminal has its own characteristics and circumstances and therefore its own costs. The great variation makes difficult to establish a general cost model for all kind of terminals. Besides this, the problems gathering detailed information, due to the confidential financial data, make more difficult to compare the costs of different terminals.

This report can be used as a guide to mark some directives of how to approach the cost analysis. More research is recommended to lead to the design of new terminals and to understand the cost structure that provides information to make strategic decisions about the terminal itself and about future plans.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2006.08.07; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.