Technological advances and economic incentives have brought about the increasingly important role of the 250,000-dwt and larger ore/oil carriers in the worldwide movement of dry bulk cargoes. Offshore shiploading and unloading terminals have greatly contributed to this development.

A review of marine installations being engineered by Soros Asso. indicates that out of 12 terminals for 250, 000-dwt bulk carriers in the planning, design or construction stage, eight are located in the open sea. Their distance from the shore is up to 3 miles. Other terminals, designed by the firm for smaller ships, are up to 8 miles from shore.

The engineering details, operational features and economic aspects of the various terminals are examined. Criteria for location and design of different types are discussed. The movement of commodities through the major terminals is examined. Such factors as berth availability, loading rates and ship sizes are evaluated in terms of their influence on the cost of transportation.

The use of 250,000-dwt ships is well established in the world trade. It is the conclusion of the authors that the construction of terminals for the loading and unloading of these ships is both feasible and necessary. Where such terminals cannot be provided in protected harbors, they will be built offshore. Since it is technologically feasible, ecologically acceptable and economically advantageous, this development is inevitable.


The second half of the 20th century brought revolutionary changes to ocean shipping. 1 The size of ships increased beyond anything dreamed of before, with the accompanying increase of speed. One of the factors in the increase of ship sizes is the recent development of construction techniques that make it possible to build ships capable of carrying hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo. The capital costs and operating expenses of ships do not increase in direct proportion to the increase of size. The costs per 1 ton of cargo decrease as the ship size increases. In view of the reduced unit cost of transportation in the larger ships, the natural trend is toward the use of larger and larger vessels, subject to draft limitations imposed by the sailing routes and terminal facilities.

The oil industry was the first to see the need for terminals capable of accomodating the new giant ships. The construction of oil handling terminals kept up with the growth of the ships, with the result that today many tankers of the 350,000-dwt class are plying the high seas. The shippers of dry bulk materials are now coming to similar conclusions about the economics of these super-carriers. As of today, at least 40 dry bulk carriers in the 250,000-dwt class have been ordered, representing an investment of over ﹩ 1 1/2 billion. Most of these vessels are being built as combination ore/oil (0/0) carriers. Naturally these ships, which will start entering into service in 1973, will have to be loaded and unloaded safely and economically if full advantage is to be taken of the benefits they offer.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.