BMT Isis (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group, the international engineering, maritime and risk management consultancy, has recently completed a berth capacity study for Knauf ahead of significant planned investment for its jetty located on the Swale in the south east of England.
The Grovehurst Jetty near Ridham Dock is operated by Knauf to import and transport gypsum to its factory in Sittingbourne, Kent where the mineral is used to produce plasterboard. In a bid to assess the feasibility, identify the effects and estimate the likely costs of changes to the gypsum import process, Knauf turned to BMT for a transparent and impartial assessment.
BMT assessed a range of options including bringing larger ships alongside the jetty, changing the ship chartering arrangements, increasing the cargo storage capacity and upgrading or replacing cargo discharge equipment. By creating an analytical computer model, BMT was able to simulate the existing cargo discharge operations and assess the effects of changes to the existing infrastructure such as cranes, hoppers and conveyors – all of which are used to transfer the gypsum from the ships to the factory stockpile.
Bob Hockham, Business Development Manager at BMT Isis explains: “Increasingly, simulation is being used as a cost effective way to make operational and investment decisions. By developing a well-built and validated simulation model, we were able to replicate the cargo handling processes for Knauf and identify potential efficiency improvements.”
The results from the analytical model showed that the greatest gains in efficiency were likely to be achieved by increasing the amount of storage space on the jetty, replacing the existing cranes with a new unloading system and increasing the conveyor speed.
A number of recommendations were put forward enabling Knauf to plan their future investment with confidence.
Bob Hockham continues: “From concept to planning, design and construction, right through to operation and maintenance, BMT’s holistic approach combines valuable engineering experience with sustainable environmental management and economic practicality to deliver high-value solutions for ports and terminals customers.”