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

F. Muurling The design process of major dry bulk terminals
Literature survey, Report 2006.TL.7113, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

Bulk terminals consist out of a lot of different components which all are connected with each other either directly or indirectly. From the loading and unloading systems, internal transport systems, storage and reclaim equipment to the electricity supply, everything has to be designed such that the terminal is able to handle the demanded throughput of bulk material.

Every commodity and every location requires different designs, but the design process stays roughly the same. The design of a dry bulk terminal is an iterative process and the project could be canceled by numerous reasons during this process. The different steps in the design process of a dry bulk terminal are not necessarily processed one at a time, but usually are being processed parallel to each other.

When a terminal has to be designed for a certain area, first a market prognosis is done to verify whether or not a terminal will have a chance to be profitable in that area. Secondly a specific location has to be chosen to build the terminal on. This so called site investigation is becoming more important every year because of the fact that the majority of the easily developed deep water sites probably all have already a terminal on it, so the less favorable sites are left to build a new terminal on. From now on environmental protection and impacts will have a major influence on the design process.

When a site has been chosen, a number of conceptual designs are made. The type of commodity and the type of terminal both have big influences in the final design. For instance when the terminal is an export terminal there is no need for large ship unloaders but for large ship loaders and when coal is being handled coal stockyard fire prevention and heat monitoring should be thought of.

The commodity being handled, together with the modes of transportation involved, largely defines the purpose or function of the facility and influences the kinds of transfer equipment and storage space needed as well as the layout or configuration of the terminal. But there are a lot of alternatives to choose from, from the number of cranes to the choice for a jetty or a quay.

These alternative designs are fine-tuned and adjusted with the help of computer simulation, so costly under-dimensioning or over-dimensioning are prevented. Computer simulation is a very important tool in the design process and with the improving capacities of the computers themselves the simulation programs keep getting more realistic and thus better.

The cost-effectiveness of the concepts has to be checked and more adjustments could be made to the concepts when this is done to improve their cost-effectiveness. After comparing the different concepts with each other a final design is chosen which should be the best in economical, environmental and industrial way.

During this whole design process a lot of effort should be made to protect the environment, and after choosing the final design an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has to be made. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a relatively new planning and decision making tool which is a formal study process used to predict the environmental consequences of any development project. The EIA thus ensures that the potential problems are foreseen and addressed at an early stage in project planning and design.

This stringent environmental protection, the use of computer simulation and the growing automation are the most important trends in the process of dry bulk terminal design.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2007.05.12; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.