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Measuring up: Portland makes way for bigger ships
March 12, 2024

If you’ve ever set foot at a port terminal, you’ll know the scale of operations is massive.

From ship loaders as big as industrial cranes, to docks longer than football fields – the sheer physical size of the infrastructure makes it easy to feel like you’ve been put through the dryer and shrunk.

Even so, as maritime technology advances, some terminals are finding it tough to keep up with the ever-growing size of ships.

With economy of scale at the heart of GrainCorp’s bulk operations, it’s crucial for our teams to know the maximum size a vessel can be in order to load safely.

Recently, GrainCorp’s Senior Port Planner Eleanor Simunek noticed that Portland terminal’s height limits, known as the airdraft, were nearing their published limits.

“Part of my job is to ensure the ships we accept into port are able to be loaded safely, and to do this I look at the terminal data published by the port,” Eleanor says.

“Typically, a vessel’s hatches must clear the loaders safely – but with an empty ship towering higher over the water than a loaded one, that can be quite a challenge,” says Eleanor.

Berth survey being conducted at Portland, VIC

GrainCorp Ocean Freight Manager Hans van Adrichem decided that a physical berth survey was needed as the terminal data the team observed in consulting, didn’t align with what the team observed in person at the dock.

“We had a substantial bulk carrier come into port, providing the perfect opportunity to conduct the berth survey and confirm our thoughts that the airdraft measurement could be adjusted,” said Hans.

During the survey, the team discovered an additional 1.50 meters of clearance. While it might not sound like much – this can be the difference between accepting or rejecting a vessel to be loaded with 60,000+ tonnes of grain.

This discovery gives the Portland team not only extra space, but more importantly, it provides them with the knowledge to make informed decisions – a priceless advantage.

Media enquiries.

Jess Simons

Corporate Affairs & Government Relations Manager

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