Durban-harbour based material handling specialists, BLT WORLD, takes a look at how the investment in the latest dry-bulk cargo and container handling equipment, significantly improves efficiencies at ports and terminals and minimises the environmental impact of handling operations.

“We have seen a global trend in port infrastructure improvement initiatives, for maritime authorities to consider many critical factors in the selection of capital equipment – apart from a machine’s performance merits,” says Ken Mouritzen, managing director, BLT WORLD. “In addition to handling efficiencies, important features to consider in the selection of handling equipment, include the machine’s durability for operation in harsh marine conditions, its certification for safe use in potentially explosive atmospheres and the alleviation of environmental damage from fugitive dust.  

“BLT WORLD’s service to the shipping sector encompasses a detailed analysis of the port’s supply chain requirements, prior to the recommendation of equipment for improved efficiencies. Our team, with a thorough understanding of port logistics, offers custom-designed solutions designed to enhance handling performance and improve on-site safety, in line with the latest environmental regulations.

“A recent success for BLT WORLD, was the delivery last year, of four new Samson Eco Hoppers to Kenya’s Port of Mombasa, which are used for the discharge of dry bulk materials. This equipment, which has significantly improved efficiencies of dry bulk cargo handling at the port, also mitigates environmental damage from fugitive dust.

“These robust hoppers are designed to handle the characteristics and flow properties of bulk materials, including cement clinker, coal and gypsum. These hoppers also provide dust and spillage-free unloading through a dust control system, that minimises the escape of dust during the grab discharge cycle. Samson Eco Hoppers are manufactured to withstand tough conditions and are supported by ATEX certification for safe use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

“Fully mobile Samson hoppers, with powered travel and crabbing functionality for easy positioning alongside the vessel during unloading, can be manoeuvred off the quay, freeing up space when they are not in use.”

BLT WORD’s range Samson of bulk handling equipment also includes material and boom feeders for loading and high capacity stockpiling, link conveyors and grab hoppers, as well as mobile shiploaders.

According to port authorities, the benefits of combining a receiving unit with a mobile shiploader offer a viable and economical alternative to fixed conveyor installations, without compromising performance or reliability.

Samson shiploaders have minimal impact on existing port operations because they can be moved clear of the berth when they are not in use. Diverse cargoes can also be handled without cross contamination. These shiploaders have integrated specialised facilities to speed up vessel loading and trimming, which significantly reduces freight rates. Shortened loading periods enable fast ship turnaround, which also lowers harbour charges.

Flexible shiploaders are enhanced by integral or independent Samson material feeders, which provide a buffer holding capacity, storing the material between truck deliveries, to provide a constant discharge to the outloading boom. This means trucks are efficiently discharged and the overall handling rate of the installation is optimised, to increase the average loading rate to the vessel. Apron belt feeders enable the shiploader to receive any dry bulk cargo directly from tipping trucks, retaining complete mobility, without the need for fixed equipment.

The Stormajor boom feeder, which forms part of the Samson range of bulk handling equipment for shipping, also offers high handling rates. This compact unit combines the benefits of the Samson material feeder, with a radial outloading and luffing boom conveyor, into a single integrated mobile machine, that is able to receive material from tipping trucks and loading shovels.

The Stormajor’s cantilevered slewing outloading boom enables a stockpiling stacking capacity up to a 15 m height, with minimal machine movements and loading rates to 1,500 tons per hour. Integrated trimming systems with rotating chutes, radial thrower or dust-controlled solutions, allow accurate cargo placement, with minimal environmental pollution.

In port operations, BLT WORLD’s terminal tractors are used to safely move heavy-weight trailered cargo to and from vessels and storage areas, to speed up operations across docks and throughout container terminals.

Terminal tractors also reduce on-site congestion and minimise demurrage costs for trucks waiting to be loaded and unloaded. By positioning trailers at discharge ramps, the road truck is able to transport further loads, instead of having to wait for a trailer or container to be discharged.

These modular terminal tractors, which are gaining popularity with port authorities, can be customised for every specific handling task they need to perform in distribution and logistics centres, warehouses, container and intermodal facilities, as well as for light industrial handling.

BLT WORLD’s Mobicon mobile container handling system efficiently lifts loads onto and off trucks and carries containers around sites at harbours. Containers can be efficiently moved through warehouse doors, effectively taking the container to the stock or the stock to the receiving point. This capability also increases goods security and safety.

An important advantage of this system is that it utilises all parts of the yard and operates on pavements and in restrictive areas where a forklift or heavy equipment cannot go. This mobile container handler can turn in tight spaces and is also able to travel under awnings, inside buildings and up to docks.

The Mobicon also eliminates the need for costly yard repairs. One of the biggest problems associated with using conventional equipment to load and unload containers, is damage caused to yards and pavements that are not suitable for carrying heavy weights.

These container handlers ensure improved productivity, faster handling times and reduced capital investment costs. Maintenance requirements are minimal and safety for workers, equipment and containers, is significantly improved.

Meclift heavy lifting variable reach trucks and side reach stackers machines are designed for swift, efficient and safe handling of heavy loads at ports. Unlike conventional forklift trucks, these machines can drive into containers, or reach inside a container, for easy loading and unloading of goods and equipment.

BLT WORLD’s range of materials handling equipment for the shipping sector also includes a fleet of refurbished forklift trucks, container handlers and reach stackers. With banks now offering limited finance options, there is a growing trend for companies to rent equipment, rather than make a substantial investment in new machinery. For this reason, BLT WORLD supports its entire range of new and reconditioned machines with a rental option. A maintenance programme designed to suit each customer’s requirements, is tailored for optimum performance and extended service life of every machine.

The company – with a branch network in Africa, North America and Australia – offers a technical advisory and original spare parts service to all sectors, including shipping, mining and quarrying, civil engineering and construction, general engineering and agriculture.

The team works closely with every customer to ensure all equipment meets exact performance and safety requirements.

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