American Society of Civil Engineers

Optimizing Deployment of Shiploaders at Bulk Export Terminal

by Lal C. Wadhwa, (Head, Civ. and Envir. Engrg., James Cook Univ., Queensland 4811, Australia. E-mail:

Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, Vol. 126, No. 6, November/December 2000, pp. 297-304, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Bulk commodity export terminals are equipped with very expensive infrastructure. The massive capital outlay also is accompanied by large operating costs associated with major equipment such as shiploaders, reclaimers, and unloading stations. The port management is always interested in optimizing the deployment of its infrastructure with a view to minimizing the terminal’s operating costs. This study deals with finding an optimal solution to an interesting situation where using one shiploader results in unacceptable ship waiting times and a high level of demurrage, whereas continuous deployment of two shiploaders results in inefficiency and high operating costs. This paper describes an approach for developing a strategy that considers a trade-off between the ship waiting cost and the cost of deploying the additional shiploader and results in the optimal deployment of resources. The approach is an integration of simulation, scenario building, and economic fundamentals. An actual bulk export terminal in Australia is used to demonstrate the applicability of this approach in assisting the port management in rational decision making.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Equipment and machinery
Marine terminals