By Joel Shirriff, VP and Global Practice Lead, Terminals and Transportation, Ausenco
In my previous post, I discussed how modern containerized bulk handling technology can provide an efficient alternative to conventional bulk terminal operations. To address client apprehension on trying this new technology, we work with vendors as an overall “logistics system integrator”, helping clients incorporate containerized system into their bulk commodity logistics, and making use of existing infrastructure.
An example of this is the logistics system for the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru. Here we integrated a modern multi-modal containerized bulk handling system into a conventional bulk terminal logistics system. The original mine development plan anticipated that 1.5 million tonnes of copper concentrate would be moved by open truck over 700 km from the mine site at 4,300 m above sea level, to the port, where a new third party bulk terminal was being constructed to service multiple mines in the area.
Contracted to optimize the logistics system, we assessed a number of options and recommended that a containerized system be implemented where custom containers are loaded at the mine and trucked 420km to a trans-load facility. At this facility, containers are moved onto trains for the continued trip to the port where they are discharged to the conventional bulk system for storage and loading onto ships. This concept was further refined using dynamic simulation modelling to validate the number of trucks, containers and rail cars required.
The final system, commissioned in early 2016, reduced both capital and operating costs by integrating this technology while making use of the existing infrastructure. For example, operation costs were minimized based on the reduction of capital expenditure for the truck fleet and the sealed containers achieved 8% higher capacity per truck than open-top bulk trailers.