Dry Bulk Winter Issue 2023

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Guest Comment





The Evolving Landscape Of Asian Dry Bulk

Sudip Saha, Future Market Insights, examines the evolving landscape of the Asian dry bulk market and its relevance to the wider global marketplace.





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Rock ‘N’ Rollers

Guillaume Elias, Bedeschi, provides details on a sizer and double roller crusher system developed to handle sticky and moist materials.

Crushing It!

Dusty Jacobson and Stuart Baillie, Metso, outline what to consider when it comes to choosing, maintaining, and further optimising a crushing operation over time.


Precise Powder Milling

Chris Jones, Palamatic Process, reviews the different equipment types used to ensure the efficient reduction of oversized particles and agglomerations.

Mission Against Emissions

Daniel Marshall, Martin Engineering, explores the cost of spillages around conveyor belts and reveals how they can be avoided, thus reducing waste and preventing health and safety hazards.

Loading Up A Storm

Petar Karaivanov, SAMSON, discusses the importance of adaptability and minimised environmental impact in the modern bulk handing sector.

Dealing With Dust

Alan Walton, Flexicon, discusses the challenges of the bulk bag handling process a graphite plant, taking into consideration dust control and fill-weight accuracy.

Cutting Carbon Through Coatings

Hirokazu Kaji, Nippon Paint Marine, explains how hull coatings can help dry bulk carriers reduce the impact of carbon emissions in 2024.

Jumbo Bags With Jumbo Claims

Ian Barr, London P&I Club, investigates an increase in claims regarding spillages involving bagged cargoes on bulk carriers, particularly when different cargo types are stored together.

The Last Word

Mads Wacher Kjaergaard, BIMCO, explains how the time might finally be right for electronic bills of lading (eBLs) to become mainstream in the dry bulk sector.

ON THE COVER ASGCO® “Complete Conveyor Solutions” is a leading manufacturer of proprietary bulk conveyor components and accessories that enhance material flow performance. ASGCO® is focused on developing cost-effective and technologically advanced products, specifically designed for optimum conveyor performance. Since 1971 ASGCO® believes in taking care of the customer with great quality products and exceptional service. This has been a successful and standard policy at ASGCO® for many years and will continue in the future.




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he grain market was in the doldrums in the first half of 2023 with the suspension of the Black Sea grain corridor and plunging Argentinian exports. However, the market has been resilient thereafter, backed by the massive expansion in exports from Russia and Brazil which filled the vacuum in the grain market created by lower exports from Ukraine, Argentina, the EU and US.

The resilient grain trade in 2023 MANAGING EDITOR James Little james.little@drybulkmagazine.com

SENIOR EDITOR Elizabeth Corner elizabeth.corner@drybulkmagazine.com

EDITOR David Bizley david.bizley@drybulkmagazine.com

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Oliver Kleinschmidt oliver.kleinschmidt@drybulkmagazine.com

SALES DIRECTOR Rod Hardy rod.hardy@drybulkmagazine.com

SALES MANAGER Ian Lewis ian.lewis@drybulkmagazine.com

PRODUCTION MANAGER Kyla Waller kyla.waller@drybulkmagazine.com

ADMINISTRATION MANAGER Laura White laura.white@drybulkmagazine.com

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DIGITAL EVENTS COORDINATOR Merili Jurivete merili.jurivete@drybulkmagazine.com

DIGITAL CONTENT ASSISTANT Kristian Ilasko kristian.ilasko@drybulkmagazine.com DRY BULK (ISSN No: 2059-9579) is published quarterly by Palladian Publications Ltd., and distributed in the USA by Asendia USA, 701 Ashland Ave, Folcroft PA. Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Prices is pending at Philadelphia, PA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to: DRY BULK, 701 Ashland Ave, Folcroft, PA. 19032. Annual subscription (quarterly) £50 UK including postage, £60 overseas (airmail). Claims for non-receipt must be made within four months of publication of the issue or they will not be honoured without charge.

Drewry expects the demand for dry bulk commodities to increase by 1.1% q/q in the fourth quarter of 2023, supported by the resilient grain trade, which is forecast to expand by 0.4% in 2023 due to increased grain exports from Russia, Canada, Brazil and Australia. While in the second quarter of 2023, Drewry expected a contraction in grain exports in the full year, the company has revised its forecast upwards. With the suspension of the Black Sea grain deal and persistent damage to ports due to the war, exports from Ukraine have fallen to historically low levels in the third quarter of 2023, taking the volume of seaborne exports below the levels from the second quarter of 2022, when the war began. Less than 5% of Ukraine’s exports are currently shipped on dry bulk vessels, with more than 60% being transported via the smaller Danube ports to Romania and East Europe and the remaining over land. The humanitarian corridor, which was started by Ukraine in September to evacuate ships stuck at its ports after the war, is increasingly being used to ship grains to nearby countries like Egypt and Turkey. However, seaborne exports through the Black Sea will continue to dwindle as Ukraine’s harvest area will suffer damage, adversely affecting exportable surplus, particularly wheat. Meanwhile, exports of Russian grain, mainly wheat, have soared in the third quarter of 2023, recording the highest quarterly exports from the country after 2018. As Drewry had forecast, the reduction in the export tax on wheat bolstered its exports. The country’s record wheat harvest for the second consecutive year will make it the top wheat exporter in the world, with a leading market share of more than 22%. Russia’s exports from the ports in the Black Sea surged to Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in January – October, surpassing the volume traded in 2022 by a huge margin, supporting the tonne-mile demand. We project a rise in grain exports from Australia, Brazil and France to China, leading to a multi-fold increase in China’s grain imports this year amid a decline in domestic production. China’s grain imports surged by 14% in January – October, with imports from Brazil rising from 2 million t in 2022 to 11 million t in January – October 2023. While panamax vessels have been catering to the phenomenal rise in Brazil’s exports to China, the employability of supramax vessels has also risen on this trade route. Similarly, the share of France’s exports shipped on panamax vessels has expanded, benefitting the most from the rise in total exports. On the other hand, Australia’s grain exports on supramax and handysize vessels have appreciated in 2023, resulting in a rise in their share of the country’s total exports and aiding the vessel demand.

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WORLD NEWS PANAMA Panama Canal Port Authority addresses the issue of water shortage head on


he Panama Canal Port Authority has dedicated extensive research and investments to the management of its canal. However, 2023 has recorded some of the highest temperatures in history, causing far-reaching consequences for millions around the world. For the Panama Canal, it has been no different. Elevated temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, compounded by the presence of the El Niño phenomenon and the delayed onset of the rainy season, have directly impacted the levels of freshwater in the Canal’s reservoirs, which are essential for its operations. The Panama Canal takes the issue of water scarcity very seriously and is committed to exploring all solutions available to minimise the impact on its operations. The current operational strategy has been focused on saving water while ensuring reliability on transit for operators and customers around the world. As of the final week of November, all transits that have been booked ahead of time are going through the Canal on schedule. That is why the Canal has asked customers to make reservations ahead of time, so the measures put in place are reliable for everyone. The lack of rainfall in the Panama Canal Watershed made it necessary to reduce the number of daily transits, while managing the available water to maintain Gatun Lake at a level that allowed the continued offering of a competitive draft for customers and, above all, to maintain the availability of water necessary to supply the population. As in every dry season, draft restrictions were also announced at the waterway. Subsequently, vessels transiting the neopanamax locks are allowed maximum drafts of up to 44 ft, while vessels transiting the panamax locks have had no draft restrictions. At the panamax locks, the Canal has found ways to reuse water from one lock chamber to another and has incorporated this technique as part of its daily operation.

This manoeuvre, known as cross-filling, saves the equivalent consumption of six daily transits. Despite all measures taken, the level of Gatun Lake has continued to decline to unprecedented levels for the winter season. Precipitation in October was the lowest on record for the month since 1950, coming in 41% below expected levels. So far, 2023 is on par to become the second driest year on record. The hydrological department has provided updates on the watershed situation and a projection of water consumption, under multiple scenarios given the poor rainfall experienced so far and expected in the upcoming months. Based on its forecasts, the Canal determined that a gradual reduction to 18 daily transits would be necessary to ensure water for human consumption and business continuity during the upcoming dry season. As always, the Canal has announced these changes far in advance to ensure ships can adapt long before departing for the waterway. Additionally, customers are provided with real-time information to make their business decisions. In addition to these water-saving measures, the Canal has explored shorter-term solutions to help optimise the use and storage of water at the Canal. One such project is already in the tender process and will improve the use and reliability of water stored at Gatun Lake. Other measures include tandem lockages, with two ships transiting at the same time occupying one chamber, whenever the size of the vessels allows it. Furthermore, the transit schedule has been optimised to maximise water savings in each chamber and accommodate the highest number of vessels. In the neopanamax locks, the direction and scheduling of transits are analysed to make the most of every drop of this resource. Additional procedures, such as the incremental usage of water saving basins in neopanamax locks; short chamber lockage in panamax locks when vessel

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WORLD NEWS DIARY DATES GEAPS Exchange 24 – 27 February 2024 Kansas City, USA www.geaps.com/exchange

TOC Europe 11 – 13 June 2024 Rotterdam, The Netherlands www.tocevents-europe.com

Coaltrans Asia 8 – 10 September 2024 Bali, Indonesia www.fastmarkets.com/events/ coaltrans-asia

SOLIDS Dortmund 9 – 10 October 2024 Dortmund, Germany www.solids-dortmund.de

To stay informed about industry events, visit Dry Bulk Magazine’s events page: www.drybulkmagazine.com/events

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dimensions allow it; minimal changes of direction in the Gatun locks; stricter control of water leaks in valves and gates; suspension of hydraulic assistance during lockages; and maintaining Lake Miraflores at its maximum operating level, all add up to saving as much as 50% of this resource. In recent years, the implementation of a more robust water management system has become a critical priority and a series of potential solutions have been studied, looking first at options within the Canal’s jurisdiction. However, the waterway’s specialists — in conjunction with US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) — have confirmed that technical solutions within the Panama Canal’s jurisdiction are not sufficient to meet the growing demand for water. A range of solutions, some of which fall outside of the Panama Canal Watershed, will need to be pursued instead.

USA Ecochlor signs Letter of Intent (LoI) to collaborate with Diana Shipping on CCS technology


cochlor, which served as the global sales representation for Sinotech, negotiated the collaboration with Diana through Mr Panos Smyroglou, Ecochlor’s VP of Sales & Marketing. The Letter of Intent (LoI) included the installation of a Sinotech scrubber and carbon capture and storage (CCS) system onboard one of Diana’s capesize bulk carriers, the G.P. Zafirakis. The system was designed to capture 25% of the CO2 emitted within the exhaust gas and temporarily store it onboard in liquified form (LCO2). Sinotech will provide the expertise for a full feasibility study, engineering and overall turn-key package for the installation, crew training as well as full support towards type approval certification of the installed system by vessel’s administration. Sinotech will also handle the offloading and disposal of the captured CO2 in China. The installation is intended to take place at a Chinese shipyard, most likely in the Zhoushan province. Furthermore, the LoI expressed the intention of the parties to explore potential business opportunities and lay the groundwork for future cooperation on matters beyond this initial scrubber and CCS installation. The CO2 captured by the Sinotech CCS system will greatly contribute to Diana’s pledge to be a leader in environmental sustainability in the maritime industry. The success of this partnership also highlights the strong relationships and expertise that Ecochlor displays in concluding impactful collaborations. Dr Evangelos Sfakiotakis, COO of Diana, explained the company’s commitment to decarbonisation. “Our ambition is to be a catalyst for positive change in the maritime industry,” said Dr Sfakiotakis. “We endorse IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions and are working towards phasing out GHG emissions from our shipping entities as soon as possible.” Diana Shipping has a global reputation for high

WORLD NEWS standards of conduct, performance, and safety, making them an ideal partner for this initiative. Phil Gao, Vice General Manager of Sinotech, praised the shipping company for its commitment to driving change in the maritime industry. “We are delighted to collaborate with Diana Shipping, a key player in the industry’s transition to a more sustainable future. At the same time, our company commits to the continued research, development, and innovation of green and zero-carbon technology.” In early 2022, Sinotech received an Approval in Principal (AiP) certificate for marine CCS products from Lloyd’s Register (LR), Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Class NK), and Bureau Veritas (BV). Using years of land-based CCS data and optimisations,

Sinotech is in a position to showcase the very low energy input required to achieve the recommended CO2 capture rates. Ecochlor, a green marine technologies company for the shipping industry, partnered the agreement. Andrew Marshall, CEO of Ecochlor, highlighted the importance of this collaboration and the shared goals in achieving sustainable solutions when he said: “We are excited to work with Sinotech and Diana Shipping, and we believe that this cooperation will further our mutual interests towards reducing the carbon footprint in shipping. Ecochlor is committed to supporting the industry’s decarbonisation efforts by providing economically viable and effective solutions to shipowners.”

SOUTH AFRICA Transnet has begun work to minimise South African port congestion


ransnet SOC Ltd is implementing a number of urgent interventions to address the backlogs at the Port of Durban and to ease the congestion at Richards Bay in order to minimise the impact on the South African economy. The delays are due various factors including adverse weather conditions and equipment availability. The leadership of Transnet has stated that it is fully focused on addressing these challenges. “The problem of port congestion is a complex one and it is something that was due to happen at some point, as a result of many years of underinvestment in equipment and its maintenance. We are working on a number of measures to turn the situation around. We need to caution that this is going to take some time as the lead times for some of the equipment is anything from 12 – 18 months,” Transnet Board Chairperson, Andile Sangqu had said, speaking at a media briefing. “The team is working around the clock to procure this important equipment, to ensure our port facilities are in line with global best practice,” Sangqu added. He stated that, in the meantime, Transnet has prioritised

the optimisation of port operations through improved planning and forecasting, leading to better anticipation of cargo volumes. In Durban, an urgent intervention team has already put plans in place to address slow turnaround times affecting the docking and offloading of containers at the port. At Pier two, the plan will be to ramp up the tempo from 2500 – 4000 containers a day over the next three months. Under normal conditions, the container handling tempo at Pier two is 3300 containers a day. However, over November, it has reduced to 2500 due to inclement weather and equipment challenges. At Pier one, the tempo will increase from 1200 to 1500 containers a day. Initiatives on the cards to ensure that the recovery plan to clear the backlog succeeds include the acquisition of 16 rubber tyred gantry cranes for Pier one by the second half of 2025 and the acquisition of four ship-to-shore cranes for South Quay for Pier two in 2025/2026. Work has also begun to refurbish and maintain critical port equipment to improve asset utilisation at Pier one and Pier two and this will be completed by August 2024.

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WORLD NEWS While additional cranes and equipment are being sourced to make the port function more effectively, Transnet employees have been urged to put in extra efforts so that the backlog is broken. “An internal task team of specialised disciplines recently concluded an exercise to eliminate waste and introduce rapid improvements in the system,” said Transnet Acting Group Chief Executive, Michelle Phillips. “They collected performance data across all shifts, analysed each vessel and the workings of all cranes to note arising problems, identify limiting factors and quantify improvement levers. Management at our port terminals are working around the clock with industrial engineers from the task team to maximise berth performance. “With all these initiatives in place, we expect it will take a maximum of seven weeks to clear the backlog at Pier one and 15 weeks for Pier two. This will make a significant difference to the flow of container traffic through the port. “It is crucial that we stabilise our operations through these short-term interventions while we continue with the broad recovery plan to improve Transnet operations. The plan is exactly what is says it is: a plan to turnaround the business and ensure significant and

sustainable improvements in all our operations, and in particular in rail and ports.” At Durban Port, these longer-term improvements include a new container management system to improve efficiencies and the acquisition of new equipment. New contracts will be in place by the end of the year for the service of ship to shore cranes, rubber tyred gantry cranes, straddle carriers, reach stackers and empty container handlers, and existing equipment is being refurbished or replaced. “We appreciate the understanding shown by our customers and are in constant contact with shipping lines on releasing the congestion fee surcharge for import containers,” said Phillips. When it comes to Richards Bay, Transnet and other stakeholders will be holding an emergency meeting to find solutions to the ongoing problem of road congestion. Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has implemented a truck booking system as a mechanism to create order; however, the solution does not include trucks destined to back-of-port facilities. As a result, even when trucks have been booked, the tempo at which the trucks arrive at port gates sometimes far exceeds the pace at which trucks can be processed at the permit offices, as well as at the terminal.

OMAN World’s largest ore carrier adopts wind power


argill and BAR Technologies’ design innovation, BAR Tech WindWings by Yara Marine sets sail on open waters, testing new technology that will bring wind propulsion to commercial shipping for the first time. Mitsubishi Corp.’s Pyxis Ocean, chartered by Cargill, is the first vessel to be retrofitted with two WindWings, which are large wing sails measuring up to 37.5 m in height that can be fitted to the deck of cargo ships to harness the power of wind. Produced by industrialisation partner Yara Marine Technologies, they are expected to generate average fuel savings of up to 30% on new build

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vessels, which could be even higher if used in combination with alternative fuels. The installation of the wings took place at the COSCO shipyard in China and the Pyxis Ocean is on the water, conducting her maiden voyage with the WindWings fitted. “The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonise – it’s not an easy one, but it is an exciting one,” said Jan Dieleman, President of Cargill’s Ocean transportation business. “At Cargill we have a responsibility to pioneer decarbonising solutions across all our supply chains to meet our customer’s needs and the needs of the planet. A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk,

WORLD NEWS and as an industry leader – in partnership with visionary shipowner Mitsubishi Corporation – we are not afraid to invest, take those risks and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in maritime transition to a more sustainable future.” The installation demonstrates a step-change in attitudes towards technologies that can enable an energy transition for existing vessels. The WindWings project, which is co-funded by the EU as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative, can help the industry meet those targets by offering a retrofit solution that is capable of decarbonising existing vessels, which is particularly relevant given that 55% of the world’s bulker fleets are up to nine years in age. The performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored over the coming months to further improve its design, operation, and performance, with the aim that the Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the scale-up and

adoption across not only Cargill’s fleet but the industry. BAR Technologies and Yara Marine Technologies are already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years and BAR Technologies are also researching newbuilds with improved hydrodynamic hull forms. “If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore. Wind is a near marginal cost-free fuel and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial. Today is the culmination of years of pioneering research, where we’ve invested in our unique wind sail technology and sought out a skilled industrialisation partner in Yara Marine Technologies, in order to provide vessel owners and operators with an opportunity to realise these efficiencies,” said John Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, BAR Technologies.

AUSTRALIA Alien Metals has entered into an MoU with Pilbara Ports Authority


lien Metals Ltd has announced it has entered into a conditional, non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pilbara Ports to access its Utah Bulk Handling Facility (Utah Point), multi-user berth in Port Hedland, Australia. The agreement is the first important step in securing the formal commitment from Pilbara Ports to export the iron ore produced by Alien Metals’s Hancock iron ore Project. Highlights: n Pilbara Ports and the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Iron Ore Company of Australia Pty Ltd (IOCA), entered into an MoU. n Pilbara Ports operates in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia, with the Port of Port Hedland as the largest bulk export port in the world. n The MoU paves the way for IOCA to access the common-use stockpiles at Utah Point and export up to 1.25 million tpy of iron ore from Q424.

IOCA is also pleased to announce that the next step in this process has progressed to a point whereby Pilbara Ports and IOCA have substantially agreed the terms of the binding agreement for iron ore export through Utah Point. This agreement is subject to the typical regulatory approvals. Troy Whittaker, CEO commented: “The signing of the Port MoU and settling key terms of the formal multiuser agreement are important steps as we continue to secure the supply chain from development, operations and to the end customer. We are confident Pilbara Ports has the capacity and capability to handle our tonnage at the port and we are delighted to have signed the MoU. We acknowledge Pilbara Ports efforts to facilitate port access for miners such as IOCA and we look forward to working closely with them as we finalise the the binding agreement and seek the require regulatory approvals.”

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Sudip Saha, Future Market Insights, examines the evolving landscape of the Asian dry bulk market and its relevance to the wider global marketplace.


sia plays a crucial role in the global shipping and commodities industry by acting as a bustling centre for distributing, commercialising, and transporting a wide range of dry bulk goods. The demand for raw commodities, including coal, iron ore, cereals, pulses, and minerals, is continually growing alongside booming industrialisation, and a rising population. There are several emerging economies and industrial sectors which significantly influence the flow of necessary resources that support businesses, including building, manufacturing, agriculture, and energy production. Market fluctuations in Asia are now considered leading indications of the state of global economies and commerce. Due to its importance to the overall economic landscape, the dry bulk market in Asia is of great interest to investors, transportation firms, producers, and dealers. Thus, understanding Asia's dry bulk market is essential for determining how the future of the world's commodities trade will be shaped through its intricate interactions.

Unpacking prosperity

Blessed with a long coastline and beneficial position, Asia has always remained a key link in the world supply chain for marine trade. Additionally, the market serves a variety of cargo kinds, for both exports and imports, as a result of the disparate economic levels of different countries. Due to the dry bulk market's slow start in the first quarter of this year, after the pandemic years, Chinese industry players were hoping for a rise in freight rates. This expectation was spurred by expectations that China's slow economic recovery and signs of improvement in its troubled real estate market would increase demand for bulk commodities in the second quarter. Contrary to expectations, the freight business did not immediately rebound as the Chinese economy resumed following the epidemic. But during the first quarter of this year, demand for iron ore, a significant dry bulk commodity, increased significantly. According to a government report dated 4 March, Beijing set a 5% GDP growth target for 2023. Key indices like the Platts Cape T4, APSI 5, and KMAX 9 (which reflect various routes for capesize, panamax, and supramax boats) in the first quarter, all reported decreases in average daily rates as compared to the same period the previous year. The Platts Cape T4 index averaged US$13 876 daily, a 22% decrease from the previous year. The average daily values for the KMAX 9 and APSI 5 indices were US$10 220 and US$8901, respectively, representing a significant 65% and 55% decrease from the first quarter of 2022.

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 11

How China’s economic revolution is charting the course

As indicated by several market sources, the predicted increase in iron ore demand would play a pivotal role in boosting dry bulk transportation prices in China along with other Asian countries. To give an illustration, nearly 309 million t of iron ore was imported into China in the first quarter of 2023, up by over 9% from the same time last year. Government actions supporting the dry bulk sector are anticipated to increase demand for seaborne commodities used in construction. Thus, the revival of China's real estate industry is considered to favour shipping markets. Similar to this, a rise in coal demand in China is projected as a result of anticipated increases in energy consumption brought on by rising manufacturing activity. The progressive rise in China's economic activity and output might increase the amount of seaborne coal transported from nations like Australia and Indonesia to China, raising shipping costs. It is anticipated that India's imports of seaborne coal would follow China's trajectory, although local coal output in India is predicted to increase. Notably, according to CAS statistics, China and India recorded increases in their first-quarter coal imports of 81.3 million t and 52.9 million t, respectively, compared to the same period the previous year.

How bulk cargo dynamics expand Asia’s role A range of factors, including economic development, industrial output, governmental regulations, climatic circumstances, and geopolitical developments, influence the dry bulk market growth in Asia. As a result, market players around the world are keeping a constant eye on the region to spot any changes in supply and demand, which could affect shipping costs, vessel availability, and total trade volumes. Specific submarkets or commodity markets within the Asian dry bulk sector maintain a persistent attractiveness within the larger global business landscape. Take iron ore, which, despite a projected decline in the future years, continues to exercise a sizeable, robust, and profitable business. According to the data, the Chinese market dominates the international iron trade, driving around 70% of the world's seaborne iron ore traffic. China is also expected to further emphasise this trend by importing bauxite from Guinea at a significant 80% of its total imports. Notably, Chinese imports of iron ore will decline by around 2.4% annually or up to 775 million t by 2030 owing to its declining demand for steel, increasing quantity of scrap, and adoption of electronic arc furnace technology. Although under more limited scopes, the agro-products and bauxite sectors both are expected to demonstrate more stability and development potential. These markets are expected to grow rapidly over the next few years. Soybeans, in particular, are anticipated to develop without delay, rising from 140 million t in 2023 to 163 million t in 2030.

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The need to adapt and change

Adaptability is becoming the key to success for shipping enterprises in Asia as the global supply and demand structure transforms. For instance, China's role as a large importer of soybeans, which are mostly produced in Brazil and the US. China's recent shifting internal and international trade dynamics are allowing other Asian countries to demand a larger portion of soybean imports. With the introduction of new maritime routes, a similar story is also playing out in the context of the dry bulk market unique to Asia. Shipping firms operating in Asia's dry bulk market must adapt to changing cargo trends and keep an eye out for the opening of new sea lanes. The region's lengthy coastline and advantageous location have sparked the investigation of novel marine routes, reshaping the logistics sector. Making use of emerging trends in transportation and commodities has the potential to reveal many unrealised possibilities. Demand for a variety of dry bulk commodities is increasing as Asian economies continue to develop and become more urbanised. This increase in demand is also encouraging the development of fresh sea routes that link resource-rich areas to markets in need of these essential goods. This imminent transition can highlight the significance of future-focused tactics and the preparedness to accept new trade channels. Companies must expand their scopes to include uncharted cargo categories and develop marine routes by proactively researching changing routes and diversifying the types of cargo they ship.

Challenges shaping Asian trade and economics

Investments in the marine sector are inherently risky, a fact that is especially apparent when looking at the Asia-specific dry bulk market. In this region, shipping firms frequently cross challenging seas and undertake longterm vessel commitments without receiving equivalent assurances from clients. A vessel's roughly 25-year operating lifespan also gets impacted by the interaction of changing demand patterns, geopolitical developments, and regulatory dynamics. On that account, Asian-specific geopolitical complexities, market demand intricacy, and regulatory variances necessitate specific considerations. Scenario planning must be used to properly handle uncertainties associated with demand trajectory, supply dynamics, underlying profitability environment, and macroeconomic forces. The strategic approach, considering variables that cover a wide range of potential outcomes, enables firms to encompass a spectrum of risk-return equations. Furthermore, the plotting of the risk and return profiles various for asset portfolios may be a useful visual tool in all imaginable situations. A thorough evaluation of the relative attractiveness of asset classes under various situations must be conducted within this framework.

Adopting data-led insights for better business

dry goods. As the Asian dry bulk market develops, it stands out for its durability and adaptability, assuring its sustained significance in a constantly changing global environment. The interaction of economic as well as non-economic factors is expected to ultimately determine the trajectory of dry bulk shipping rates in the upcoming months, according to the industry players.

Asia's dry bulk shipping business has traditionally depended on intuitive judgment strongly guided by collective experience and seasoned judgment. However, in recent years, the successful application of data analytics in the dry bulk trading sector has quickly taken root in some Asian countries. It represents a significant opportunity for businesses, About the author enabling them to tap into deep insights regarding economic Sudip Saha is the COO of Future Market Insights, an and commodity patterns, shipping statistics, and priceless ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting consumer information. Currently, it offers industry participants company, and a member of the Greater New York a unique opportunity to make use of analytics-driven insights Chamber of Commerce. In his current role, he is across numerous dimensions, all of which may greatly responsible for the strategic and tactical leadership of the improve their competitive edge. Companies in the region are COO functions, supporting and monitoring the strategy, also well-positioned to take full advantage of data by investing planning, execution, geographic growth, and market in analytics, allowing them to navigate the challenging and performance Future Market Insights. 11-27_DryBulk_InsertV1.pdf 1 of11/20/23 11:23 AM constantly evolving dry bulk business. It becomes easier to pinpoint lucrative sub-sectors and specialised niches, allowing firms to concentrate their efforts where the likelihood of development is highest. Moreover, a new degree of accuracy is added to the optimisation of vessel portfolios, ensuring that fleet composition matches market demands and new trends. Finally, using data-backed business strategies for improving the operational effectiveness of a highly fluctuating dry bulk market becomes a realistic aim. C

Market sources have expressed confidence over higher time charter rates in the near future. However, the specifics of this view are muddled by the inconsistent performance of the forward freight agreement (FFA) or freight derivative markets. The Asian dry bulk market continues to have distinctive qualities and potential in comparison to other geographical areas. Furthermore, the ship-operator source emphasised how the future will be affected by Asian countries' anticipated need for








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Guillaume Elias, Bedeschi, provides details on a sizer and double roller crusher system developed to handle sticky and moist materials.


n the realm of raw material crushing, industry professionals have often grappled with the necessity of using quarries that excavate inadequate materials or materials mixed with various types of soil. This challenge becomes even more daunting when dealing with materials containing high moisture content and plastic compounds embedded within hard rocks. Bedeschi has introduced a solution to these difficulties through the development of the Bedeschi sizer and double roller crusher with design characteristics specific to sticky and moist materials. Bedeschi crushers assure reduction coefficient of 6 - 10 between the inlet and the outlet size. The panel of Bedeschi crusher application is large from moist, plastic, hard and frozen materials.

Counter-rotating rotors

Technology overview

Bedeschi double roller crusher and sizers maintain a deliberately slow peripheral roller speed. This is pivotal in the context of reducing fines, a critical concern for numerous applications.

The Bedeschi sizer and double roller crusher provide the material processing landscape with the following distinctive features:

The design incorporates counter-rotating rotors, facilitating the flow of materials through the gap between the toothed rollers. This configuration is particularly adept at handling materials such as moist substances and plastic compounds containing embedded hard rocks.

Variable rotational speeds

The dual rotors can operate at varying speeds, enabling the optimisation of crushing positions for boulders, enhancing compression strength, and mitigating tensile and shear stress in plastic materials. This adaptability allows for effective material processing, even with differing speeds between the rotors.

Slow peripheral roller speed

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 15

Versatility and advantages

These systems offer several advantages, notably their versatility in addressing materials with high moisture content, plastics, and various challenges:

Compact design

Bedeschi’s crushing solutions are designed to be compact; they are space-efficient, presenting a solution, especially suited for facilities with limited space.

Optimise power consumption

The Bedeschi solutions consume from 0.2 to 0.5 Kw/h/T, less power than other machinery from the market for the same application.

Minimise fines

The limitation of fines is requested in different industries. In the cement industry and in general, in the handling process, it is crucial for the enhanced efficiency of stacking and reclaiming units present after the crushing system (less clogging, power absorption, wearing and dust emissions). In the aggregate industry, fines are considered a poor material, therefore limiting their production results in a better product quality and higher margins. The limitation of

Figure 1. Typical Outlet Granulometric Distribution

fines production is achieved by the low speed of the rollers and the direction of rotation.

Keep operation at maximum flexibility

Bedeschi’s crushers are flexible solutions: n It is possible to modify the output gap between the two rollers to obtain the material crushed at the desired size. n The roller's speed can be adjusted within a range of +/-10% of the originally designed speed. In addition to operational flexibility, the crushers are designed with easy maintenance in mind. They can be installed on slide rails to move the crusher from the working position to make maintenance more easily. These crushers have turned out to be particularly effective in situations where standard crushers experience problems. In addition, the rotors are equipped with adjustable scrapers, allowing for straightforward cleaning, even when dealing with sticky materials.

Versatility for sticky and moist materials

Bedeschi's crushing solutions are also adept at handling sticky and moist materials, making them well suited to industries grappling with challenging raw materials. These crushers can effectively process materials with a moisture content of up to 25 – 30%. What sets them apart is their ability to crush not only moist materials but also blocks of hard and frozen material mixed with soil, in addition to ordinary hard materials. This level of versatility makes them well suited for processing raw materials that traditional crushers struggle to handle due to the high moisture content. Furthermore, as is standard for all Bedeschi's crushers, the rotors of these double roller crushers are equipped with adjustable scrapers. This feature ensures that the crushers can be impeccably cleaned, even when dealing with highly adhesive materials. This capability is crucial for maintaining consistent performance and efficiency, particularly when confronted with sticky materials.

Ideal for hard and sticky materials

Figure 2. The crushing process.

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Bedeschi solutions are capable of crushing very hard materials with compressive strengths exceeding 1800 kg/cm2. They are specifically designed for applications with inlet sizes over 2000 mm. These machines effectively resolve the crushing

challenges associated with hard minerals, including those containing sticky materials that often clog other types of crushers.

Variety of crushers

Bedeschi offers a dual-pronged approach to material processing with two distinct products:

Sizer (RL – heavy duty)

This robust variant boasts an extra-strong steel structure frame with thick, ribbed side walls rigidly joined to head walls housing axis bearings. This design forms a rigid frame capable of withstanding the strains generated during crushing. The rotation of the rotors is driven by two independent motorisation groups, one for each rotor. These groups are composed of electric motors, coupling v-belt transmissions, and planetary gearboxes. Motorisation supports are equipped with sliding guides and devices for v-belt tensioning setup. All mechanical components are generously dimensioned to ensure very high and reliable safety factors.

allowing rotor movement in cases of excessively hard material crushing. Additionally, a safety device designed to prevent accidental overload causes the breakage of specially selected steel shear pins when overload occurs.

Case studies

The following real-world applications of the double roller crushers underscore their efficacy in addressing challenging raw materials:

Giant Cement Company

Bedeschi provided a comprehensive crushing station for Giant Cement Company, including inclined and horizontal

Double roller crusher (RI – normal duty)

This crusher features a sturdy steel structure frame, driven by two electric motors and couplings connected to the relevant main driven pulleys, assembled on the machine through v-type belts. Each motor is mounted on robust, electro-welded steel supports, suitably machined for precision. Notably, the house bearings of one of the two rotors are assembled on springs,

Figure 3. Bedeschi Double Roller Crusher (RI – Normal Duty).

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apron feeders, primary and secondary crushers. These crushers effectively managed materials with high moisture content and plastics, ensuring smooth operation. The system includes the following equipment: n 1350 tph inclined apron feeder mod. CNA-10/2500

Figure 4. Bedeschi sizer (RL –heavy duty).

Figure 5. Bedeschi stationary unit.

n 1350 tph primary crusher n 1350 tph horizontal apron feeder n 1350 tph secondary crusher mod. RL 450/2500


Bedeschi provided a semi-mobile crusher unit to Unicalce, a prominent Italian producer of calcium, dolomitic lime and derivatives. With 11 plants strategically located across Italy and a production capacity of 2 million t, Unicalce is an industry leader. In addition to its core lime production, it operates four dedicated sites for its line of Premier premixed materials. Unicalce's Brembilla plant, nestled amidst the picturesque Italian landscape, presented a unique challenge. It required a crushing solution that could efficiently process oversized limestone blocks, some exceeding a meter in size. These massive blocks were extracted from the plant's extraction tunnels, woven into the heart of the mountain. Recognising the complexity of Unicalce's requirements, Bedeschi supplied a semi-mobile crusher unit. This unit is skid-mounted and towable with wheel loaders. Its enhanced mobility and versatility make it well suited to Unicalce's diverse and demanding operational needs. The semi-mobile crushing station is not confined to a single location within the facility. It can integrate into both the open quarry area and the extraction tunnels within the mountain galleries. Here, the oversized limestone blocks are processed, setting the stage for their onward journey through the belt conveyors for further sizing and delivery. This strategic partnership between Unicalce and Bedeschi showcases the power of innovation and adaptability. The semi-mobile crusher unit's ability to efficiently process not only large limestone blocks but also tackle sticky materials highlights its versatility. Unicalce maintained and even enhanced its high productivity while effectively addressing the distinctive challenges presented by these raw materials.


Bedeschi's double roller crusher and sizer offer an innovative solution to the complexities associated with crushing challenging raw materials, particularly those with high moisture content and stickiness. The capacity to handle diverse materials, reduce fines, minimise power consumption, and provide operational flexibility positions the company as a valuable asset for a wide range of applications, particularly when addressing moisture and sticky materials.

About the author

Figure 6. Bedeschi sizer RL heavy duty installed inside a mine.

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Guillaume Elias is the new head of products of Bedeschi’s crushing line. With more than 18 years of experience in the material handling sector, he can provide his know-how and experience to support clients and strengthen Bedeschi's presence worldwide.

Crushing it! Dusty Jacobson and Stuart Baillie, Metso, outline what to consider when it comes to choosing, maintaining, and further optimising a crushing operation over time.


iven the broad range of different crushing technologies available today, it is critical to find the right crusher to suit the application. However, getting the most from the equipment does not end there — factors like chamber selection and optimisation, and additional services, can make all the difference.

Materials, methods and equipment

Before selecting an exact crusher, it is important to first consider what crushing technology is needed for the feed material. The two main methods used for crushing are fracture by energy or impact and compression or shear breakage. From an operating costs perspective, horizontal shaft impactors (HSI) are feasible in low abrasive and typically soft material applications. Even from a CAPEX perspective, the HSI’s high throughput capacity can make it an interesting option in some cases. Barmac vertical shaft impactors (VSI), by virtue of being an impact crusher, can also be

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 19

economically feasible with rather abrasive feed material. This is especially the case when crusher duty is focused on improving product quality in aggregates applications, or the target is to reliably produce -2 mm materials from soft to medium rock.

With medium-to-hard rock or ore that also has abrasive qualities, a compression crusher is often the most economical choice, especially in cases where a high reduction ratio is required. Once the first choice of technology is determined, other factors then need to be evaluated.

The right crusher for every stage

Figure 1. Understanding your specific crushing application is one of the first steps in selecting the right equipment.

Figure 2. Getting more out of your crusher depends on choosing the right wear parts.

The primary crushing stage generally breaks down the material into pieces of max 200 – 300 mm. The aim is to achieve the right balance between feed size (capacity) and throughput (speed). Reaching this balance is important, as focusing on one aspect, while neglecting the other, could lead to an unsuitable choice of equipment. For example, focusing on accepting a large feed size could mean ending up with an oversized and hungry crusher that can actually handle more material than the plant can provide. Certain adaptations are possible, such as adjusting the machine settings or using a special liner to re-size the crushing chamber, but it is still important to choose a machine with a chamber size range that best fits the application. Another factor that needs to come into consideration is machine reliability. As with most equipment, there is a trade-off between initial investment costs and long-term operational costs and reliability. As a rule of thumb, the higher the production requirements and the longer the equipment is set to operate, the more important reliability and low operating costs are. For example, primary gyratory crushers (based on hydraulic floating shaft technology) are often the first choice of larger mining projects with a throughput of 1500 tph or more. Although these crushers demand a relatively high initial investment, they offer payback in the form of better total plant production and a lower operating cost per unit. There are jaw crushers which carry lower upfront costs and are often preferred by small-to-medium size mining operations. Jaw crushers work well for reasonably hard and abrasive feed material and can handle a large feed size. Maximum throughput, however, is typically only 1500 tph even with the biggest units. When processing sticky materials with low-to-medium hardness, or if there are restrictions on installation headroom, the addition of a primary sizer can be helpful. Also there are cone crushers which are not generally used for primary crushing, but there are some notable exceptions, such as gravel plants, river gravel or screening the feed to eliminate over-sized material.

Choosing secondary, tertiary and fine crushers

Figure 3. Extra wear parts on site can help prevent unnecessary service breaks.

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Cone crushers have long been the preferred choice for processing of hard or abrasive materials. This category includes hydraulic supported cone crushers which offer dynamic gap fluctuation and are therefore well-suited to coarse crushing applications. Other secondary crushers are the highly versatile pedestal-shaft (based on fixed shaft technology) and





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SymonsTM-style machines, which typically have a higher power and crushing-force while also achieving higher reduction ratios and finer product sizes. Such machines are also suitable for tertiary, quaternary and pebble crushing. To generate very fine fractions i.e., product sizes below 2 mm, modern roll crushers (high pressure grinding rolls) or vertical shaft impactors are recommended.

Optimisation of wear parts

If choosing the right crusher is the first big decision, the second one is selecting the right wear liners to get the most out of the producing asset. Producers often reorder the same liners that came with their initial purchase, not realising that liners play a significant role in the overall performance of crushing equipment and can make a big difference to the bottom line. Optimising the liner profile can affect the quality and size of the end-product and allow the crusher to work more effectively. For example, if a cone crusher is not producing the desired end product size, changing or adapting the bowl liner and mantle will bring different results. Similarly, new conditions can be created in the cavity and chamber of the primary gyratory crusher by adjusting the angle, liner alloy or thickness of the mantle and concave liners.

Figure 4. Inspections of your crusher and parts help to spot potential issues.

Figure 5. Achieving the right quality end product means combining the right crusher and liners with the right maintenance.

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To get the best results when changing wear parts, it is recommended to consult a process expert who can carry out simulations in the lab and base their decisions on data.

Liners that last

Since liners are worn down by constant contact with the ore, they need to be changed regularly, which can be a big part of the operating costs. To keep costs in check, analysing the crusher chamber and selecting liners with the right profiles, thickness and alloy grade to last as long as possible, is recommended. Typically, liners are made from a low-grade manganese steel as a base offering. They can also be engineered with different manganese grades or from alloy steel or high chrome white iron, to maximise wear life and/or increase fatigue resistance. Metso’s longer-life range of liners (MX series) is made with hybrid materials and represents a step up in liner lifetime. They have been shown to double the wear life compared to standard manganese steel liners in many applications.

Getting the chamber right

Exploring improved crusher performance, such as with a chamber optimisation programme, is the best option for taking crusher efficiency to the next level. It is a multi-step process which includes gathering data, running simulations and using expert analysis to look at options. From this process, it is possible to create tailor-made solutions and customer-designed wear parts that suit specific processes, applications and equipment, regardless of the brand. When the chamber is working optimally, it is possible to achieve up to 30% reduction in energy consumption depending on the application, leading to a lower cost per tonne and more sustainable operations. Wear parts can last two to four times longer, reducing the number of liners consumed, as well as resources needed to manufacture and transport them, thus further contributing to sustainability. Longer wear life also means fewer stops in production and fewer change-outs, which in turn also boosts both profitability and safety. A chamber optimisation programme is not a one-off effort but rather an ongoing monitoring and improvement programme. For example, the development of the liners might start with wear life improvement and continue with tweaking the design to maximise crusher throughput. Moreover, production targets and ore properties at a site can change over time and create an opportunity for further liner development. Each customer journey is unique, and chamber optimisation can be especially beneficial for high-volume production sites and in situations where the raw feed characteristics have changed.

Finding the maintenance edge

Choosing the right crushing technology, machine and liners are all important steps to take. However, every

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business wants its crushing equipment to have the longest life possible and this can be a real challenge when operating under harsh conditions. There are several ways to further extend lifetime, maximise performance and achieve a reduction in overall crushing costs through proper maintenance. As part of a regular maintenance programme, it is recommended to keep a constant eye on the crusher’s performance through regular inspections. These should include checking the condition and cleanliness of the hydraulic power units, hydraulic oil tank levels, oil temperatures, cooling fans and oil pressure levels, crusher noise levels, bearing temperatures, crusher vibrations, feed distribution, feed level and electric power draw amongst others. Customers often find it valuable to get more thorough and specialised inspections at pre-set intervals, such as the 1000 hr operating mark. These inspections often include a review of key wear components and additional verification of critical spare components. Wear replacement inspections are useful to have and involve an inspection of the heads and bowls or concaves and mantle, as well as other components such as bushings, eccentrics, MPS and pitmans, depending on the crusher being inspected. At an operational level, another often overlooked good practice is the assessment of the size of the rocks entering the feed. Oversized feed could lead to blockages in the crusher cavity which can cause bottlenecks to the entire process and result in unplanned downtime. There are different ways of addressing this issue, but the solution often lies in making improvements to the current drill and blast programme.

Ensuring smooth, safe and successful shutdowns

It is essential that shutdowns come in on-time, on-budget and with minimal downtime. A good shutdown optimisation programme covers all elements of a shutdown, from start to finish. This includes a site evaluation and shutdown planning, as well as the actual execution of the shutdown. Shutdown optimisation typically begins with experts observing and analysing the crusher relining process and coming up with improvements related to factors such as preparation analysis, concave replacement method (best practices), tooling, training, and safety. A more involved but highly effective time and motion study, often called a single minute exchange of dies (SMED) analysis involves capturing all the actions taken during a shutdown on video, documenting the tasks from start to finish, and creating a timeline with thousands of image and data points for analysis. Expert support can then make recommendations to help improve the overall workflow and execution of the shutdown event, including removing non-critical tasks and idle periods, introducing better planning and coordination, and determining the optimal sequence of steps.

24 . DRY BULK . WINTER 2023

In a Chilean mine, for example, one time and motion study helped to reduce shutdown time from 100 to just 56 hours. Similar results were achieved in Finland, where mantle replacement times were cut in half, and the duration of a full reline was similarly shortened.

Further optimisation – connectivity and data analytics

The industry is quite rapidly moving from a reactive to a preventive approach to crusher care, backed up by data analysis. Connectivity adds an extra layer of support that enables preventive maintenance and troubleshooting. The data from sensors monitoring the critical functions of equipment is collected and used to generate trend reports that can warn of upcoming issues in time to prevent production stops or safety risks. Connectivity also enables remote troubleshooting — an excellent complement to on-site crushing services that lets operators access whatever expertise they need without having to physically bring a specialist out to the site. More and more customers are demanding reliable analytics services and the ability to resolve issues remotely and efficiently, with access to global experts. Metso Performance Centers for example, use advanced digital tools, and connect global experts to bring together data, knowledge and global expertise to improve the reliability, safety, availability and operational performance of crushing and processing equipment. These improvements can lead to substantial improvements to a site’s profitability.

Final thoughts and next steps

Many who are familiar with the techniques for selecting crushing equipment believe that it is possible to make a selection merely based on calculations. However, theoretical conclusions must always be counterbalanced by practical experience with operating factors, as well as the maintenance and economic aspects of a site. From the choice of crusher and wear parts to long-term crusher care, considering all elements can help to make the right decisions, resolve issues and ensure the company gets the very best out of the equipment.

About the authors

Dusty Jacobson began his career in the mining and aggregates industries in 2003 after obtaining a BSc in Mechanical Engineering. Over his 20 years with Metso, he has held roles in research, design, sales and product development. His current role is director of process engineering for crushing equipment and plants. Stuart Baillie has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and has been in the crushing business in Metso for 20 years. Originally from the UK, Stuart relocated to Australia in 2013. He is currently the regional support manager for mining crusher wears for Asia-Pacific and India.

Chris Jones, Palamatic Process, reviews the different equipment types used to ensure the efficient reduction of oversized particles and agglomerations.


n the realm of dry bulk material processing, the efficient reduction of oversized particles and agglomerations is a critical step in ensuring the smooth operation of industrial processes. This article delves into the techniques of powder lump breaking and milling, shedding light on three key equipment types: lump breakers, industrial pin mills, and cone mills. The aim is to explore their operational principles, delve deeper into their advantages, and offer insights into best practices through the lens of a real-world case study. Additionally, a comparative analysis as well as

pros and cons for all three milling solutions will be provided.

Understanding lump breakers for agglomerated bulk materials Operational principle

Lump breakers, often referred to as lump crushers, are versatile machines designed specifically to crush and disintegrate agglomerated powders and bulk solids. Their operation involves the use of sharp blades or

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 25

hammers that rotate within a confined space. The oversized lumps are subjected to high-intensity crushing via a high torque/low speed gearbox. This action causes lumps to fracture into smaller, more manageable particles. The main motivation behind the use of lump breakers is to promote good material flow through the production process. They are also commonly used as a pre-milling step to help make

downstream milling equipment more efficient and allow for better particle size reduction results.

Key advantages

n Uniform size reduction: Lump breakers are highly effective in achieving consistent agglomerates reduction, ensuring a homogenous product. n Minimal fines generation: Thanks to the low speed rotation, these machines produce minimal fines, preserving the integrity of the material being processed. n Low heat generation: The energy-efficient operation of lump breakers minimises heat generation, making them suitable for heat-sensitive materials. n High throughput: In many cases, lump breakers offer high throughput capacities, allowing for efficient processing of large quantities of material in a relatively short time.

Best practices

Figure 1. A cone mill on a mobile cart.

n Material consideration: It is important to understand the material properties to select the appropriate blade or hammer configuration. These material properties include: hardness of the lumps, size of the lumps, moisture content, fat content, bulk density and required throughput rate. n Controlled feeding: The operator should maintain a consistent feed rate to optimise the lump-breaking process. This can be achieved through various means including rotary valves and screw conveyors. n Regular maintenance: Periodic inspections and maintenance of blades or hammers are crucial for prolonged equipment life and performance.

Industrial pin mills Operational principle

Figure 2. Lump breaker with dual, direct drive motors.

Industrial pin mills, also known as universal mills, are designed to achieve fine particle size reduction by using a rotor equipped with pins or turbines that interact with the incoming material. These pins rotate at extremely high rates causing impact and shear of the individual particles, breaking them down into smaller sizes.

Key advantages

Figure 3. Internal view of a universal mill with turbine grinding medium.

26 . DRY BULK . WINTER 2023

n Precise particle size control: Pin mills, when coupled with classifying screens, offer a good degree of control over particle size distribution. This factor makes them suitable for applications with a requirement for size specifications on the particle size distribution curve. n Versatility: Pin mills are versatile machines capable of handling a wide range of materials, from powders to brittle crystalline substances. However, they are not typically suitable for materials that are particularly abrasive. n Maintenance: With more moving parts, pin mills generally require more maintenance compared to lump breakers and cone mills.

n High efficiency for fine grinding: Pin mills are known for their efficiency in achieving fine particle sizes, making them suitable for applications requiring micron-sized particles. In most applications, pin mills can achieve a D50 below 80 μ m.

Best practices

n Rotor speed adjustment: Rotor speed should be fine-tuned to control the degree of particle size reduction. This can easily be achieved by using a variable frequency drive and PLC. n Screen selection: The operator should properly select and maintain screens to achieve the desired particle size. n Dust control: It is important to implement dust collection systems to maintain a clean and safe working environment. n Batch or continuous operation: Depending on the application, pin mills can be used in both batch and continuous operation modes, allowing for flexibility in processing. n Controlled feed: Like most impact mills, pin mills cannot be flood fed. They perform best when the equipment is fed at a steady and controlled rate the equipment is appropriately sized for.

Cone mills Operational principle

Cone mills, also known as conical screen mills, employ a unique conical screen chamber to facilitate particle size reduction. The material is fed into the cone-shaped chamber, and a rotating impeller within the chamber imparts both impact and shear forces on the particles, reducing them in size as they pass through the screen.

Key advantages

n Uniform particle size: Cone mills are renowned for their ability to achieve uniform particle size distribution, making them ideal for applications demanding consistent results. n Low heat generation: The gentle milling action of cone mills minimises heat generation, preserving the quality of heat-sensitive materials. n Low noise: Cone mills operate quietly, contributing to a more comfortable working environment and sound safety practices for operators working nearby. n Ease of cleaning: These mills are relatively easy to clean and maintain, ensuring product purity. For this reason, they are commonly used in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.

Best practices

n Screen selection: Operators should be careful to choose and maintain screens to achieve the desired particle size. Most suppliers can offer a

28 . DRY BULK . WINTER 2023

variety of screen types that would work best with the selected bulk materials. n Adjustable impeller speed: Some cone mills allow for adjustable impeller speeds, providing control over the milling process. Different impellers can be offered to provide a greater degree of impact or shearing force. n Material preconditioning: Operators should consider material conditioning (e.g., drying) for optimal milling results.

Comparative analysis Efficiency and particle size control

n Lump breakers: Highly efficient at breaking lumps, returning the powder to its original state. However, it does not offer any control over particle size distribution (other than breaking up agglomerates). n Pin mills: Offer precise control over particle size distribution, especially in fine grinding applications. n Cone mills: Manage to achieve a uniform particle size distribution, making it ideal for consistent results. Good for materials that may be slightly heat sensitive.

Versatility and throughput

n Lump breakers: Primarily designed for coarse particle size reduction and high throughput applications. n Pin mills: Versatile for a wide range of materials and particle sizes, with moderate to high throughput capacities. n Cone mills: Ideal for applications requiring uniform particle sizes and moderate throughput.

Maintenance requirements and energy efficiency

n Lump breakers: Generally, have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance, offering high energy efficiency. n Pin mills: Moderate maintenance requirements and energy-efficient operation. Spare parts are typically a higher cost investment such as a new pin disc. n Cone mills: Easier to clean, making them ideal for food and pharmaceutical process.

Pros and cons Lump breakers Pros: § § § §

High throughput for coarse materials. Minimal fines generation. Low heat generation. Low maintenance.

Cons: § Limited control over particle size distribution.

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Not suitable for fine grinding applications (consider as a pre-milling step).

Industrial pin mills Pros: § Improved control over particle size distribution. § Versatile for various materials. § Efficiency in fine grinding. Cons: § Moderate to high energy consumption. § May not achieve uniform particle size for some applications. § Moderate maintenance investment. § Not suitable for abrasive materials.

Cone mills Pros: § § § §

Uniform particle size distribution. Low heat generation. Low noise operation. Ease of cleaning and maintenance.

Cons: § Moderate throughput capacity. § Limited suitability for extremely coarse materials.

Operational case study

This section presents a real-world case study illustrating the application of a pin mill in industrial processes involving powders and bulk solids. This study provides in-depth insights into the performance, efficiency, and advantages of each milling solution in a specific scenario, including detailed data on particle size distribution and throughput.

Sugar grinding unit

The installation consists of the manufacture of icing sugar with the injection of an anti-caking agent. The icing sugar is packaged in a jar on a vertical carton machine. The throughput of the process line is 2500 kg/hr for a particle size 98% <100 µ m. The compact production skid process is made up of: Mixing the crystal sugar and starch The sugar is directly fed from storage silos and tubular screw conveyors. The starch is fed from a Sacktip ®S80 manual bag emptying station which allows the sacks to be unpacked. The concentration of starch in the icing sugar is less than 5% and feeding the anti-caking agent from 25 kg bags remains sufficient. The starch unloaded in the sack tip tray is transferred by pneumatic conveyor to the high precision screw feeder. The VFlow® 01 cyclone type

30 . DRY BULK . WINTER 2023

pneumatic transfer feeds the screw feeder when the starch reaches the low level point. The starch is injected into the sugar screw 6 ft before the feed inlet of the mill, which provides premixing of the product. The screw coil allows the sugar and starch to be stirred before entering the grinding chamber. The automatic control of the material feed is carried out by the load cells. Introduction to the mill A full-bore rotary valve, positioned above the mill, aims to isolate the grinding chamber and helps to contain the flame in the event of an explosion. A filtered air inlet is located at the mill inlet in order to cool the crushed sugar. Milling A pin mill unit PolyMill UM 630 crusher ensures the breakage of the sugar particles. The high-speed pin disc forces the material to pass through these rotating plates impacting the sugar particles to obtain an output particle size <100 µ m. The shattering of the moisture-releasing sugar particle is processed in the threshing hopper, which allows cooling while being stirred to avoid caking. The agitating hopper, with a volume of 1300 l, receives the icing sugar at the outlet of the mill. There the sugar is temporarily stored with continuous stirring to prevent it from solidifying during cooling. It is fitted with a screw conveyor at the bottom of the trough which allows the extraction of sugar to the downstream packaging station. The feeding of the packer is provided by an endless lifting screw which ensures the filling of the buffer hopper. Due to this installation, the output of icing sugar jars is continuous with a grinding rate of 5 tpy.


Powder lump breaking and milling are crucial processes in various industries, and the choice between lump breakers, industrial pin mills, and cone mills depends on specific requirements. Each of these milling solutions offers distinct advantages, and the decision should be based on factors such as material characteristics, required particle size, throughput, and maintenance considerations. By following best practices and considering real-world case studies, industrial operators can make informed decisions to optimise their powder processing operations, ensuring efficiency, product quality, and cost-effectiveness.

About the author

Chris Jones is the sales manager for Palamatic Process in Philadelphia, PA, US. He has more than eight years of experience in powder and bulk solid material handling with a background in industrial applications, including bulk filling and unloading, conveying, dosing, mixing, screening, milling and more.

Daniel Marshall, Martin Engineering, explores the cost of spillages around conveyor belts and reveals how they can be avoided, thus reducing waste and preventing health and safety hazards.


hen tons of raw or processed material hit a moving conveyor belt, three things happen: fines scatter in random directions, cargo shifts, and dust becomes airborne. The impact creates turbulent air pressure inside the chute that seeks to escape from any gap it can find, carrying dust and fines

with it. A properly designed enclosure will manage bulk solids, allow cargo to settle in the centre of the belt, and contain most of the dust inside a settling zone enclosure. Well-designed conveyor loading zones keep walkways clear from spillage, control dust emissions and allow hazard-free inspections

and maintenance. Operators need only take a broad look at the expense that fugitive material contributes to a system to realise the full cost that accompanies inefficient transfer point designs. Problems such as improper belt support, badly sealed chutes, damaged idlers and uneven cargo distribution all result in

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 31

spillage and belt mistracking. Therefore, contributing to increased costs for maintenance and clean up, and the potential for injury and compliance issues.

The cost of spillage

If left uncontained, fugitive material in the form of dust and fine particle spillage will increase labour costs for clean up, foul equipment, potentially encase the belt and pose a serious safety hazard (Figure 1). A dirty and

dusty environment also discourages workers from conducting regular maintenance on the problem area and negatively affects morale. Since trips and falls are among the most common workplace accidents, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspectors are constantly on the lookout for those hazards. Spillage surrounding the loading zone is an easy violation to spot, in severe cases blocking access to the system and exacerbating the hazards of working near a moving belt. Dust levels are also strictly regulated by OSHA, and permit violations are often accompanied by fines and potential downtime. In many industries known for dust generation, workers wear personal dust monitors to measure particulate levels throughout their shifts. Working within proximity of poorly designed loading zones can cause monitored levels of PM10 (particulate material <10 μm) to exceed allowable limits.

Sealed chute composition

Figure 1. With the proper enclosure design, dust volumes can be lowered to below regulatory levels.

Figure 2. External wear liner and dual self-adjusting seal with belt support.

A well-designed loading zone typically consists of a combination of components. These include: n An enclosed transfer chute that should be long enough to give dust and fines time to settle. n A heavy-duty belt support system which absorbs impact, protects the belt and can handle rapidly shifting heavy material. n Closely spaced idlers to help avoid sags in the belt that allow gaps where fines can escape and ease material disruption from bouncing. n Externally adjustable or self-adjusting skirting which contains fine particles and adapts to fluctuations in the belt plane (Figure 2). n Easily serviced wear liners that can be changed from outside the chute without confined space entry. n Dust curtains which are set strategically throughout the enclosure control airflow and help settle dust. n Dust bags or mounted air cleaners to collect tiny, highly active particles. n A sealed tail box that protects the tail pulley from the backflow of fines, dust and spillage. n Exit curtains to prevent fugitive dust from escaping from the end of the chute. Dust and spillage are top concerns for many safety professionals. Field tests have shown that enlarged skirt boards and engineered settling zones promote dust settling and reduce fugitive material (Figure 3).

Case study: Mexico

Figure 3. Modern load zone design has elements that focus on safety for both personnel and equiptment.

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A mine in north central Mexico was experiencing excessive spillage and dust emissions at the loading zone of its tower-mounted

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conveyor transporting gold, silver, zinc oxide, copper, lead, and molybdenum. Despite installing various transfer and loading chute components, workers found that dust filled the tower and chunks of material 2 – 3 in. (51 – 76 mm) in diameter spilled from the transfer chute onto the stairs, partially blocking access to the area and creating a potential workplace hazard (Figure 4). Twice per month operations had to be disrupted for 12 – 24 hours so that a 4 – 5 person team could clean spillage and return it to the cargo flow. Clean up and downtime raised the cost of operation and lowered efficiency. Technicians from Martin Engineering Mexico were invited in and, after a thorough inspection, designed a plan based on the principles of Production Done Safely®. It addressed all aspects of the bulk

handling process for properly guiding the cargo through the transfer chute. Impact cradles were installed to centre the material and help prevent belt damage, improving performance as well as safety by pulling out for external maintenance, a system invented by Martin Engineering. The project also included skirting and dust bags to contain emissions and spillage throughout the settling zone. Strategically placed belt trackers maintained belt alignment along the entire path. Heavy-duty primary and secondary cleaners that can be pulled out for easy service were installed at the discharge zone to reduce carryback and promoted safer blade replacement. The entire system was designed with innovative safety features and ease of maintenance in mind. Each of the components works together to deliver a comprehensive bulk handling solution that promotes efficiency and a safer workplace (Figure 5). Following installation, fugitive material was significantly reduced and spillage no longer blocked access to the area. The air around the transfer point and throughout the tower was much clearer. “We no longer need scheduled shutdowns just for cleaning,” said an operations manager. “We’re very happy with the work done.” The customer cited the expert service from the Martin Engineering team, who demonstrated a thorough understanding of the mine’s needs and the quality of the equipment.


Figure 4. Bulk mateiral drops onto a moving conveyor belt, creating dust and spillage.

With some fairly simple calculations, cost-minded managers can see the negative impact of labour costs for clean up and maintenance on the bottom line. Combined with the expense of fouled equipment replacement, potential OSHA violations and unscheduled downtime, the expense of a chute redesign can become an essential capital expense. Using the technologies described here, even poorly-performing conveyors do not need to be replaced, but merely modified and reconfigured by knowledgeable and experienced technicians installing the right equipment. These improvements help operations improve efficiency, reduce risk and facilitate regulatory compliance.1

About the author

Daniel Marshall received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University. With nearly 20 years at Martin Engineering, Dan has been instrumental in the development and promotion of multiple belt conveyor products. He is widely known for his work in dust suppression and considered a leading expert in this area.

References 1.

SWINDERMAN, T., ‘The Payback of Safety and Justifying Expenditures for Safety Improvements,’ paper presented at the

Figure 5. The reconfigured conveyor controls emissions for improved safety and easier maintenance.

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2017 SME Annual Conference and Expo; CMA 119th National Western Mining Conference.

Petar Karaivanov, SAMSON, discusses the importance of adaptability and minimised environmental impact in the modern bulk handing sector.


he landscape of the bulk material handling industry is currently in the midst of a transformative paradigm shift, compelling the adoption of advanced and eco-conscious ship loading systems. In this evolving scenario, traits such as adaptability, flexibility, and eco-efficiency have risen to paramount importance. Consequently, infrastructure facilities are confronted with the significant challenge of accommodating a diverse spectrum of activities, encompassing not only waterside and landside access but also the provision of extensive berthing facilities, mooring options, transhipment capabilities, and ample storage solutions. Furthermore, in the face of this dynamic industry landscape, projects characterised by extensive operational lifecycles must now aim to not only meet the demands of the present but also

emerge as champions of sustainability. This entails a comprehensive approach that goes beyond the immediate scope of operations, delving into the realms of optimising resource allocation and ensuring the judicious utilisation of equipment, thus paving the way for a more environmentally responsible and resource-efficient future.

Meeting industry challenges head-on in a strategic mandate In the ever-evolving landscape of the bulk material handling industry, the significance of equipment cannot be overstated. It stands as the linchpin, demanding a trifecta of attributes: flexibility, reliability, and eco-conscious performance. This trend is underpinned by a discernible shift from reactive to proactive design methodologies, aimed at ensuring not only

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 35

immediate operational efficiency but also long-term adaptability, thereby maximising the return on investment for stakeholders. Within this paradigm shift is the SAMSON Shiploader, an example of adaptability in the field. Customised to meet the unique demands of each client, these shiploaders demonstrate the importance of versatility. Its operational scope extends to both wide and narrow quays, demonstrating its adaptability in various maritime environments. Furthermore, a feature of the loader lies in its ability to be stowed away when not in use, proof of its space-saving design and commitment to optimising the utilisation of resources. As an example of the engineering behind the shiploader, mobility takes centre stage. This design emphasis not only translates to enhanced operational efficiency but also serves to curtail loading times, an asset for productivity in the fast-paced realm of bulk material handling. Simultaneously, it serves to minimise the quay surface loads, thereby contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious approach to operations. In summary, the shiploader embodies the core principles of adaptability and sustainability that are of paramount importance in the contemporary bulk material handling industry. Its tailored approach, coupled with its multifaceted capabilities, positions it as a good solution to meet the diverse and demanding needs of modern industrial operations. As industry dynamics continue to evolve, the SAMSON Shiploader

is ready to meet challenges head-on, ensuring efficient operations.

Mobile handling

The STORMAJOR® is particularly useful in the realm of mobile handling, providing another materials handling solution across ports and terminals worldwide. It integrates thorough stockpiling capabilities with highly efficient barge and rail car loading functionalities. At its core, it utilises a distinctive radial out-loading boom, mounted on a single, highly manoeuvrable chassis. It exhibits the capacity to accept materials from a wide array of sources, ranging from the conventional tipping trucks to more specialised equipment like shovels and articulated dump trucks. This adaptability ensures that it remains a versatile workhorse, catering to the diverse needs of various industries with ease and precision. Beyond its impressive functionality, it eliminates the necessity for permanent infrastructure, offering the same level of performance as a fixed installation without the associated logistical and financial burdens. This cost-effective attribute makes it suitable for streamlining operations without compromising on efficiency and effectiveness. Moreover, the mobile handler exhibits a good degree of adaptability, making it well-suited for non-dedicated quays. Its seamless integration with different quay configurations renders it useful for ports and terminals seeking to optimise handling capacities. When periods of non-use arise, it is easily able to transition from active duty to standby mode, and its mobile design allows for easy relocation to maximise space utilisation. In essence, it demonstrates the capabilities of material handling technology and offers flexibility, efficiency, and performance. Its impact adapts traditional handling methods, aiming to meet the needs of the dynamic and demanding environments of ports and terminals worldwide. With its mobile handler, SAMSON aims to pave the way for a more efficient and sustainable future in materials handling.

Conclusion Figure 1. STORMAJOR® – mobile solution for radial stockpiling, barge and rail wagon loading

Future ship loading systems must not only meet the demands of today but also provide flexible and eco-friendly solutions for all bulk materials. SAMSON Shiploaders offer tailored designs for vessels of all sizes and meet the specific needs of their customers. Equipped with dust filtration systems, SAMSON values adaptability and low ecological impact. In an industry where adaptability and sustainability are paramount, these shiploaders embrace flexibility and eco-friendliness, aiming to set a new standard for ship loading systems.

About the author

Figure 2. Shiploader with integrated mobile SAMSON material feeders – as one unit or separate.

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Petar Karaivanov is the Marketing and Communications Manager for SAMSON Materials Handling. He is currently focusing on sustainable long term eco friendly investments in the bulk handling industry by promoting the SAMSON brand and their portfolio. In the past he has held different executive positions in the ports and terminals industry working alongside private sector companies and non-profit organisation.

Alan Walton, Flexicon, discusses the challenges of the bulk bag handling process a graphite plant, taking into consideration dust control and fill-weight accuracy.


sbury Graphite & Carbons is one of the world’s largest processors of graphite and carbon-related materials. Founded in the late 1800s as a converted water-powered flour mill in the small town of Asbury, New Jersey, US, the company began sourcing graphite from a mine in the state of Rhode Island. Currently, it has locations in Europe, Mexico, Canada and throughout the US, producing a variety of products for plastics, automotive, lubrication, powder metallurgy, petroleum and coatings applications.

How bulk handling systems can cut dust and improve fill-weight accuracy

Graphite is a relatively soft mineral with a Mohs hardness of 1 – 2 and has a hexagonal, multi-layer, lattice-like structure which is easily sheared, making a fine powder that is slippery and can be difficult to convey. Safety precautions for

handling graphite include avoiding dust for several reasons: graphite is electrically conductive and could cause the shorting of electrical switches and circuits, the dust is a health hazard if inhaled, and dust accumulations are potentially explosive when ignited. Dust became a major issue when the company opened its European installation in the Netherlands in 2014. The plant was set up to process raw natural and synthetic graphite through a variety of milling, sieving and screening processes, and then to package the end products in 1000 kg (2200 lb) bulk bags and smaller packages of various sizes, based on customer needs. The original filling equipment was rudimentary and produced off-weight bags, which frequently went undetected until the product reached the shipping department, wasting time and labour. The bulk bag filler frames operated with a poorly designed bag spout seal, resulting

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 37

in escaped dust and fine particles, putting the plant’s compliance with Dutch health and safety guidelines at risk. Separately, the bulk bag unloaders being used relied on gravity to discharge and did not empty completely. According to the company, the bag would appear empty

but still contained 20 – 30 kg (44 – 66 lb) of material. Spills were common during bag changes, wasting product and creating a plant safety hazard. On the recommendation of Dutch distributor Matec Techniek, the company turned to Flexicon (Europe) Ltd, which specialises in bulk bag filling, weighing, discharging and conveying systems. Asbury purchased one bulk bag filling station and, finding that it reduced dust significantly, purchased additional stations. Over the next several years, the company also replaced its existing bulk bag unloaders with bulk bag dischargers, a tubular cable conveyor and numerous flexible screw conveyors from Flexicon.

Dust-free bulk material handling from start to finish

Figure 1. Pairs of forklift-loaded bulk bag dischargers feed raw graphite into tubular cable and flexible screw conveyors which take it to the silos and the milling process.

Figure 2. A fork truck loads the lifting cradle with a bulk bag into receiving cups atop the discharger posts.

Asbury’s plant receives raw graphite material in bulk bags, with particle sizes ranging from 19 mm down to 20 µm. It is then reduced in size to 10 – 15 µm as the norm, using one of 10 different processes involving jet mills, hammer mills or roller mills and a variety of sieving and screening systems. Although particle sizes of 10 – 15 µm are typical, the company has the capability to mill coarse graphite down to one µm if required. After a forklift delivers a bulk bag of raw material to one of the bulk bag dischargers, it removes a bag lifting frame from cradle cups at the top of the frame posts, and positions the frame immediately above the bulk bag at floor level. This allows operators to attach the bag straps to the frame's z-shaped strap holders safely and securely from an ergonomic standing height. The forklift then returns the bag frame, with suspended bulk bag, into the cradle cups at the top of the discharger. With the bulk bag of raw material in position, operators connect the bag spout to the discharger’s patented clamp ring positioned atop a telescoping tube. This creates a high-integrity, sealed connection between the clean side of the bag outlet and the clean side of the equipment, and maintains continual downward tension on the bag as it empties and elongates, promoting material flow. Concurrently, spring-loaded extension arms at the top of the discharger's frame posts automatically raise the bulk bag into a steep v-shape as the bag lightens and elongates, and bulk bag flow activation plates pneumatically raise and lower opposite bottom edges of the bag, directing material toward the bag outlet spout. Discharged material enters an enclosed hopper through a screen that prevents oversize particles from reaching the inlet of the flexible screw conveyors.

Different conveyors move different materials

Figure 3. A clamp ring creates a high-integrity seal between the bag spout and the telescoping tube underneath for dust-free discharging. The telescoping tube applies constant downward tension and elongates as the bag empties for complete material evacuation.

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From the 140 l (5 ft3) floor hopper below each bulk bag discharger, an enclosed flexible screw conveyor ranging in length from 8 – 16 m (26 – 52 ft) moves the material to several silos. The conveyor screws specified are designed to propel graphite which is prone to crush and slip, without compressing or grinding the material against the tube wall. Each flexible screw conveyor (also known as a helix, auger

or spiral conveyor) is comprised of a stainless-steel flexible screw enclosed in a durable polymer outer tube of 114 mm (4.5 in.) O.D. The screw is driven by a motor positioned beyond the discharge point, preventing material contact with seals or bearings. Feeding the jet mill line, a tubular cable conveyor moves graphite and coke powder from a dedicated bulk bag discharger whose hopper is equipped with a rotary valve that meters the material into the conveyor circuit. The conveyor’s stainless-steel outer tube houses engineered polymer discs attached to a steel cable which is kept under tension by a wheel at the inlet end, and driven by another wheel at the discharge end, as material gently slides in pockets between the discs. The conveyor's 100 mm (4 in.) dia. tubing turns 90˚ to vertical immediately downstream of the inlet, rising 9 m (30 ft) before turning 90˚ to horizontal, gravity discharging above the feed hopper of the jet mill through downspouting. The circuit includes two sections of clear tubing to allow visual inspection of pocket fill volumes. The smooth, continuous movement of the enclosed conveyor is dust-free and reduces risk of abrasion and product degradation. After processing, flexible screw conveyors from 4 – 8 m (13 – 26 ft) in length, transfer the material to the bins above the bulk bag filling stations.

Clean fills at the target weight

The bulk bag fillers are arranged in pairs beneath bins holding the finished graphite product. Low and high level

sensors trigger the flexible screw conveyors to start or stop, ensuring each bin has enough product to fill a bag. An operator inserts the bag loops into the fill head’s four retractable hooks, and pulls the inlet spout of the bulk bag upward over a heavy-duty flexible collar, which inflates to create a dust-tight seal. A filtered air displacement vent at the fill head prevents escape of dust during filling. The operator sets the target weight, usually 1000 kg (2200 lb), on the PLC and initiates the filling cycle. A slide gate opens above the filling chute and a rotary valve

Figure 4. From the silo above, finished milled graphite is discharged into one of two paired bulk bag fillers on load cells until the target weight is reached. The PLC-controlled system allows an operator to remove the filled bag and hang an empty one while the adjacent unit is filling.

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meters product from the bin above. Load cells beneath the deck are linked to the PLC, which closes the slide gate when the bag reaches the target weight. As the bag fills, a densification/deaeration deck vibrates to stabilise the bag for storage and shipment. The operator deflates the bag spout seal, ties off the bag, and removes it with a forklift. Each operator runs two fillers side by side, connecting a second bag while the first one is filling. When the first bag is full, the PLC automatically signals the system to

begin filling the empty bag. The cycle allows the operator enough time to remove the full bag and replace it with an empty bag so that production is virtually non-stop. Although primarily intended for bulk bag filling, the system is flexible. When smaller packages are required, the company is able to switch out the bulk bag fillers and move in a bagging machine. Twice a year, the company has all the equipment officially calibrated to maintain its ISO 9001 certification.

Dust-free bulk bag discharging, conveying and filling, too

Since 2014, the company has grown from four production lines to eleven, using nine forklift-loaded bulk bag dischargers, a tubular cable conveyor, numerous flexible screw conveyors and 11 bulk bag fillers, all supplied by Flexicon (Europe) Ltd. According to the company, the new equipment has significantly reduced airborne dust as well as product loss, improving overall plant safety and productivity.

About the author Figure 5. At the bulk bag filler, the operator secures the bag spout to the fill head with an inflatable collar to assure dustfree filling. The height-adjustable fill head accommodates various bulk bag sizes.

Alan S. Walton is the Applications Engineering Manager for Flexicon (Europe) Ltd. For the past twenty years, Alan has guided the processes for Flexicon’s customers and sales engineers in the United Kingdom and the European Continent in finding the right solutions for their bulk material handling requirements.

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Hirokazu Kaji, Nippon Paint Marine, explains how hull coatings can help dry bulk carriers reduce the impact of carbon emissions in 2024.


ll sectors of the maritime industry are under a global spotlight like never before as pressure mounts to decarbonise shipping. New regulations continue to come into force to reduce emissions, setting ambitious targets to drive greener operations and reduce the industry’s environmental impact. All stakeholders in the shipping supply chain must now face up to this reality and explore ways of driving operational and environmental efficiencies to improve the sustainability and commerciality of transporting goods worldwide. Further legislation coming in January 2024, marking the shipping industry’s entry to the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), will put a price on carbon for the maritime sector.

WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 41

The EU ETS is a ‘cap-and-trade’ system whereby the EU will set a limit each year on how much CO2 can be emitted, which decreases each year in line with the target of reducing emissions by 62% from 2005 – 2030. Companies will need to have a European Emission Allowance (EEA) in place for every tonne of CO2 they emit within each calendar year and each operator will not be allowed to generate more greenhouse gas emissions than its allowances can cover. If it does, heavy fines will be imposed. This results in even higher commercial stakes when it comes to choosing solutions to ensure vessels are as efficient and competitive as possible whilst maintaining asset value. Bulk carriers also face multiple challenges in addition to becoming more efficient, with corrosion and mechanical damage ranking as the highest risks for this vessel type. The need for robust and lasting protection against these challenges, that bulk carriers encounter in daily operations, is therefore essential.

Finding the right method

Ship owners and operators are already considering different solutions that will enable them to avoid the high costs that they could face as the EU ETS comes into force for shipping next year. Of course, this may include moving tonnage away from EU ports altogether, but this is not possible for everyone. Most organisations will look to reduce ship speeds when routes pass through the EU or analyse ship performance data to find ways to drive efficiencies and enhance vessel performance. However, simply decreasing a vessel’s sailing speed below the intended design speed could increase the ship’s hull fouling, resulting in a trade-off between lower performance and higher fuel consumption to maintain the same speed over time, which will in turn increase emissions. Assessing and addressing hull fouling is vital to reduce drag resistance, improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Every vessel must have a hull coating, which provides the industry with a unique and ubiquitous opportunity to reduce fuel consumption and associated costs and emissions using the latest anti-fouling technology. The Maersk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping states that implementing measures to optimise operations can offer efficiency gains of up to 15%; Nippon Paint Marine’s AQUATERRAS coating can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%.

The importance of proven solutions

Today’s market is awash with clean technology, and solutions at varying stages of development and credibility. Risking capital on unproven or minimally trialled clean technology is simply not an option for many. Therefore, this is where the role of more cost-effective, proven technologies can bridge the gap and support shipping’s transition to becoming cleaner and more sustainable. Ship owners and operators should look to adopt solutions based on thorough due diligence and analysis to ensure that the efficiency savings that are claimed are verifiable as well as compliant with regulations. Working with manufacturers that demonstrate rigour in the R&D and testing process whilst also being able to achieve

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meaningful reductions in fuel consumption and emissions is a sensible strategy. It helps to ensure that all claimed efficiency savings can be verified and have a tangible commercial impact. Nippon Paint Marine has worked to innovate technology for decades, investing in R&D facilities to bring to market new marine coatings and support its customers in meeting the shipping industry’s greatest challenges. The company’s hull fouling prevention products such as ECOLOFLEX, A-LF-Sea, LF-Sea, AQUATERRAS and FASTAR have been applied to more than 10 000 vessels, 2428 of which are bulk carriers, helping to drive efficiencies and reduce drag resistance from hull fouling. For instance, biocide-free self-polishing coating AQUATERRAS has demonstrated significant smoothness which has reduced friction between the hull and the water. This smoothness combined with resistance to fouling maximises fuel savings and reduces emissions, accelerating the path to decarbonisation and wider sustainability whilst ensuring ship owners and operators avoid the potentially devastating costs of non-compliance with the EU ETS.

Bulk carriers inspire specialised products

Bulk carriers also face multiple other challenges in addition to becoming more efficient, which can impact costs. Mechanical damage to cargo holds from abrasive cargoes and high impact loading procedures can occur, which can lead to corrosion and structural failure. In line with this dynamic, Nippon Paint Marine was inspired by customers to develop NEOGUARD TOUGHNESS in 2018, providing a more impact-resistant epoxy coating system for holds and hatch coamings. This coating system, with its heavy-duty system, generates significant cost savings for ship operators by reducing the need for costly maintenance and lengthy downtime periods. The coating’s easy cleaning properties can allow for quick and efficient turnaround between cargos, further contributing to reduced maintenance and repair work. These benefits can explain why this coating system has been applied to more than 100 bulk carriers since 2018.

Planning for the voyage ahead

It is clear that coating solutions will play a critical role in helping ship owners and operators to meet the increased regulatory requirements when the maritime industry joins the EU ETS, as well as enabling them to achieve sustainability goals as the industry transitions to greener operations for the long-term. Hull coatings can also help bulk carriers address wider challenges specific to the vessel type, generating further commercial savings and protecting the ship owners and operators greatest assets. As shipping navigates changing market dynamics, and wider macro-economic and geo-political complexities, the industry still has some distance to travel in its journey to reach decarbonisation targets, driving efficiencies that result in more sustainable operations and cost savings. Solutions that enable organisations to meet shipping’s sustainability objectives whilst also remaining financially viable will be critical for the road ahead.

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Ian Barr, London P&I Club, reports on an increase in claims regarding spillages involving bagged cargoes on bulk carriers, particularly when different cargo types are stored together.


he use of flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) to transport dry goods on handy-sized bulk carriers has become more commonplace in recent years. FIBCs, commonly referred to as ‘bulk bags’ or ‘jumbo bags’, are often used to transport products such as sand, foodstuffs and plastic granules due to their structural integrity, durability and reusability. This makes them an effective solution for various industries. They have also been sought after by many companies looking to circumvent supply chain issues in container shipping. For the same reasons, FIBCs are often used to house bagged dry hazardous chemicals, such as fertilisers and compounds, that require safe and secure stowage during transport. However, while FIBCs were commonly carried in containers, but this increased use of FIBCs on handy-sized bulk carriers presents a risk for both the vessel and the cargo itself. Handy-sized bulk carriers are not particularly well suited to this type of cargo as the shape of the holds make safe and proper stowage difficult. Many vessel crews are also not familiar with the safe stowage and securing of breakbulk cargoes in FIBCs, which can often lead to cargo damage and, in some cases, damage to the vessel if not stowed correctly. The issue is heightened when FIBCs are not stowed in accordance with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) rules or are used outside of their intended use.

Damage and demurrage

Damage to jumbo bags during loading, transport or discharging inevitably leads to spilled cargo. This becomes even more problematic when multiple cargo types are stored in the same

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WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 45

hold, most notably chemical cargoes, and the risk of contamination and reactions increases which can lead to onboard vessel fires. The problem can be exacerbated when the jumbo bags are over-stowed with general cargoes, which often includes trucks and buses. All of this can result in the total loss of the entire contents of the hold and large insurance claims being filed. This increase in claims related to FIBCs has been highlighted by P&I Clubs as a major area of concern for vessel owners and charterers. “We continue to see a high number of incidents and damage claims arising from the carriage of dry chemicals in FIBCS that have been stowed in the same holds as breakbulk cargoes,” said Ian Barr, Director at the London P&I Club. “These claims are almost always on voyages in which handy-sized bulk carriers have been loaded with breakbulk cargoes in China. The stowage plan often appears to have been developed with only the discharge port rotation in mind. As a result, very high value steel products can be over-stowed with jumbo bags of dry chemicals, which can be corrosive to steel. “In many cases the jumbo bags burst, spilling the dry chemicals within the hold. The chemical cargoes are themselves damaged, but the spillage can result in significant further damage to the other cargoes in the hold. There have been multiple examples of shifting of stow or of chemical spills that have resulted in cargo fires. In severe cases, improperly stowed mixed cargoes can result in significant incidents going beyond just cargo damage,” he added. In a review of a number of cases the Club has handled in recent months, it was noted that breakbulk cargoes are not always loaded and stowed in accordance with the principles set out in the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code) or in accordance with the ship specific Cargo Securing Manual (CSM). Failure to load in accordance with the CSS Code or the CSM is potentially prejudicial to P&I cover for both vessel owners and charterers. The review also highlighted that FIBCs are ripped, torn or collapsed due to several factors. These include not being stowed in accordance with IMO rules and guidance and good seamanship practice, poor handling techniques during the loading and discharging process, poorly constructed FIBCs, and jumbo bags being utilised outside of their intended design such as exceeding stowed tier height.

“While the charterer will have certain instructions on the loading of the specific cargo, it is the responsibility of the master to ensure the safety of the vessel, its cargo and its crew under Chapter V, Regulation 34-1 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). If the Master has any concerns, they should alert their P&I Club so that assistance can be sought from qualified industry experts,” Barr noted. “Importantly, if you have any concerns, masters, charterers and shipowners should always seek expert advice following a spill and that you should contact your P&I Club as early as possible so that this advice can be sought in relation to the proposed or actual loading,” he added.

Good guidance


The London P&I Club recently worked with UK-based technical and scientific consultant Brookes Bell to highlight the best practices and guidance for stowing FIBCs with other breakbulk cargoes onboard bulk carriers. According to the report, some recommendations included ensuring the shipper provides good notice of the cargo type so that proper planning can be undertaken, keeping accurate records and taking photos throughout cargo operations, and ensuring that holds are adequately vented in case of gas leakages from chemical reactions. On top of this, the joint guidance noted that vigilance remained the most critical preventative measure when it comes to FIBC spill-related claims.

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In action

The joint report from the London P&I Club and Brookes Bell cited a case study of a five-hold geared bulk carrier loaded with a mixed cargo of FIBCs, vehicles and steel coils and bars. The vessel was loaded in China for offloading in Africa and Brazil, and the charterers’ Pre-Stowage Plan indicated to the Master that all the cargo was to be loaded on top of the steel coils. During the loading operation, the master issued a Letter of Protest (LOP) concerning the construction of a wooden structure around the loaded steel coils with FIBCs containing Monoammonium Phosphate (MAP). The master protested that there was a risk the wooden structure would collapse, leading to a potential shift risk and concerns that the MAP would contaminate the steel cargo. Despite the LOP, the loading operation concluded as pre-planned. However, upon arriving at the final discharge port, it was discovered that a large number of steel coil cargoes had reacted with MAP that had spilled from their FIBCs above. The result was a tremendous loss of cargo and a large cargo claim brought against the vessel’s owners, all in spite of the master’s LOPs. The report also cited that, in a lot of cases, spillages are sometimes unavoidable. If it is the same cargo throughout the compartment, the product can usually be swept up at the end of the discharge with no major safety issues, albeit some minor claims on the cargo. However, when different cargo types are mixed in the same hold, the risk to the vessel and the crew is exacerbated and the cost of a potential claim can rise exponentially.

Everyone involved in the loading and discharging process should be aware of the risks posed by incorrectly stowing FIBCs and the corresponding risks they could have on other cargoes on the hold. If FIBCs are to be used more on bulk vessels, then the need to understand the best practice, IMO guidance and safe stowage techniques to help avoid costly claims, which should be a priority for all parties.

About the author

Ian Barr is a Director at the London P&I Club with responsibility for claims, loss prevention and sanctions compliance. He has worked both at sea and in ship management prior to joining the marine insurance sector.


he year was 1997 when the first electronic bill of lading (eBL) solution was approved by the International Group of P&I Clubs. 26 years on, we are still waiting for eBLs to be adopted at a wider scale. However, we are starting to see proof that the stars are finally aligning and that now might just be the time for eBLs to finally catch on – especially in the dry bulk industry. So, why now? Why is it different this time? There are several reasons for this encouraging development which this article will identify.


The pandemic made the distribution and handling of paper shipping documents much more challenging: couriers could not easily move documents across borders and people were often reluctant to handle paper. The restrictions on movement helped drive improvements in technology making it easier for people to work digitally. This created a momentum among companies considering switching from paper to digital documents.

The unified push

In February 2022 five organisations, representing stakeholders in global trade, joined forces to drive the adoption of eBLs through the FIT Alliance. The five organisations were BIMCO, representing shipowners and charterers in the bulk trades, DCSA, representing the container trade, ICC, representing the buyers and sellers of goods, Swift, representing the banking community, and FIATA, representing the freight forwarders. This marked a departure from the fragmented and disjointed approach that had created a stumbling block in the past. Now, for the first time, we have some joined up thinking across the key stakeholder groups to explore how the digitalisation of trade can be achieved through collaboration and development of common standards. The FIT Alliance has also launched an initiative to secure a universal commitment to go digital from all groups involved in global trade: the eBL Declaration. The Alliance is pushing for the increased use of eBLs and we are pleased to see that more and more companies are pushing in the same direction.

Major push by shippers

Within the iron ore trade, shipments are increasingly being carried on eBLs. To support this drive, BIMCO launched a campaign in March 2023 called the ‘25 by 25 Campaign’. Through the campaign, shippers and receivers can pledge to a target of moving at least 25% of one commodity on eBLs by 2025. With support from BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale, Anglo American and Roy Hill the campaign already covers more than 70% of the world’s iron ore production. WINTER 2023 . DRY BULK . 47

In 2022, eBLs accounted for more than 20% of these miners’ annual trade volume, and they managed to increase the amount of iron ore carried on eBLs by 80% from 2021 – 2022. We expect more sectors within the dry bulk market will soon go digital and reap the benefits of using eBLs. The benefit for shippers is clear: using eBLs is faster because the slow physical transportation of paper is replaced by near instant transfers, and safer because it decreases the risk of fraudulent activity and the reliance on letters of indemnity (LOIs). In addition, it is also a greener solution as it eliminates the need to courier pieces of paper across the world. Many shippers also choose to buy insurance cover for their LOI exposure, yet another practice that could be reduced or perhaps even eliminated.

Shipowners benefit too

For shipowners, the advantages are also straightforward. Adopting eBLs can help reduce the widespread practice of discharging against LOIs, a practice that operates on a sea of unnecessary legal and commercial risks. In addition, it is a highly time-consuming task to have legal teams go through all of these LOIs, and while they are largely standardised, it is crucial to check the details as just one misdelivery could have significant financial implications. The journey towards wider adoption of eBLs is still in progress. That being said, we are encouraged by the rise in the uptake of eBLs and by seeing more and more stakeholders realising the vast potential for cutting costs and adopting a more efficient and safer way of doing business.



04 Bedeschi S.p.A.

39 MRS Greifer GmbH

27 DCL

21 N.M. Heilig B.V.

40, 43 Dry Bulk Magazine

23 Van Aalst Bulk Handling



29 Global Mining Review

17 Vortex Valves

OBC Hägglunds

13 Martin Engineering

48 . DRY BULK . WINTER 2023

33 World Cement



FEBRUARY 24-27, 2024




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