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Port of Riga: first port in Europe to introduce containerised dry bulk handling

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Dry Bulk,

By continuing to develop the terminal and by increasing the effectiveness of cargo handling, Rigas universalais terminals Ltd (RUT or the Port of Riga) has introduced a new technology: containerised dry bulk handling. The Port of Riga is the first port in Europe to use this technology.

RUT is currently using this containerised handling method for handling wood pellets on large dry bulk ships. Pellets are delivered from warehouse to pier in special-purpose open-top 20-ft containers. Using a portal-frame container lift equipped with a revolute system (revolver), the entire contents of a container are delivered onto the ship by turning the container over into the holds.

Atis Šulte, RUT Trade and Business Development Director, said: “The main benefit from introducing the new technology is significant optimisation of terminal expenses and increase in performance. Now, we can perform dry bulk handling operations involving a significantly smaller number of machinery and human resources. Savings on resources amount to almost 50%. By introducing containerised cargo handling, we have become more competitive and can better adjust to customer requirements. Following the general tendency in cargo carriage, dry bulk ships handled at our terminal are becoming even larger. By means of the new technology, we are able to ensure fast and effective loading of large ships. By applying the new technology, we are able to load dry bulk and containers at the same pier, using one portal-frame lift. It allows us to quickly organise our work in the terminal and quickly handle any type of ship”.

Containerised dry bulk handling is also an environmentally-friendly technology. Cargo is practically poured into the holds, rather than above them, which reduces the amount of dust that ends up in the air. Likewise, spread of dust and cargo losses are reduced by handling a great amount of cargo within one lifting time.

This method of containerised dry bulk handling is used in the ports of Australia and South America, where it is used with the logistics of mining industry products, i.e. metal ore, coal, as well as grain. This technology is to cause a revolution in dry bulk logistics since by using closed standardised containers dry bulk can be transported from the place of extraction, stored at the terminal without unloading from the container and loaded onto the ship using the same container.

As a result, no investments are needed for warehouses, and the entire logistics chain from extraction to loading onto a ship can be optimised using standardised containers and equipment which has been developed and is already used in container cargo logistics.

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