Tugging a bulk carrier in to port.
Optimising bulk material supply chains and port operations
New optimisation methods developed by CSIRO enhance throughput at Australia’s bulk material shipping terminals, and offer improvements over conventional approaches.
4 August 2011 | Updated 14 October 2011
Bulk material logistics for coal, minerals or agricultural commodities are complex; they pose substantial challenges for terminal operators and supply chain planners.
There is often pressure to reduce operating costs. By understanding the true throughput capacity relative to the current versus theoretical capacity, the gap between them can be represented as reduced demurrage costs, significantly faster loading and ship turnaround and therefore net revenue increases.
CSIRO is undertaking research into stockyard optimisation systems including:
This research is producing smart tools that will help businesses maximise the efficiency of their stockyard scheduling, stockyard configuration and supply chain design.
Skills and experience
“This research is producing smart tools that will help businesses maximise the efficiency of their stockyard scheduling, stockyard configuration and supply chain design,”
Dr Simon Dunstall, CSIRO
CSIRO has created innovative simulation and optimisation models which can maximise system throughput and provide time and cost effective solutions to deal with growing demand and expansion at port terminals.
To deliver these outcomes, the resulting software performs analyses to optimise:
stockpile layout over time to make the most efficient use of stockyard space
optimising the use of yard machines such as stackers, reclaimers, train load out stations and ship loading facilities in order to minimise machine conflicts and maximise throughput. The software observes constraints on the use of the facilities and allows for maintenance
streamline rail schedules to interface with the stockyard operational requirements while observing rail transport capacity constraints.
By optimising these areas of the supply chain, the software can minimise the demurrage costs associated with delayed ship loading and also provide disruption management capabilities to rapidly recover from unplanned outages and breakdowns.
Capabilities in ports optimisation
CSIRO has developed a computer program for modelling the blending function of stockpiles. Called CHASM (Cone-Handling Algorithm for Stockpile Modelling), the program can model several types of stacking and reclaiming, keeping track of the geometry of a stockpile as material is stacked and reclaimed from the pile.
CHASM can ensure grade control across the supply chain by calculating how much of each load reclaimed came from each batch of material stacked. The grade of loads of material reclaimed can then be calculated, using information about the grade of the batches stacked. CHASM can also be useful for keeping track of inventories of bulk materials.
Comparing stockpiling practices
CHASM can be used at the time of planning a bulk materials handling operation to help estimate the amount of variation likely to occur after the new facility has been constructed. It is particularly useful for considering different stockpiling options and aiding in the estimation of the benefit of using better stockpiling practices. CHASM can also compare methods of stacking and options for staggering the stacking limits.
Long Term Capacity Planning
CSIRO’s has developed innovative optimisation models that can help port operators identify the capacity requirements, and most cost effective capacity improvement initiatives to meet the demand while minimising the total cost of infrastructure and demurrage.
CSIRO has developed models and algorithms that can assist schedulers in developing optimal schedules for their day-to-day operations. These algorithms reduce the time taken to develop schedules, but its fast execution time also allows schedulers to test the outcomes of various planning strategies before finalising the schedule.
Learn more about CSIRO's work in Travel, Transport and Logistics