Bulking up

Situated in the port of Redcar, on the south bank of the River Tees, Port owner and operator Redcar Bulk Terminal Limited was established in 2011 to operate and manage the Redcar Ore Terminal. Features of the port’s terminal include a 320 metre long quay that can accommodate vessels up to 17 metres draft, which is fitted with two ship unloaders that can operate on grab or hook for bulk or conventional cargoes respectively. These rail mounted gantry cranes have a travelling length of 300 metres and in bulk mode can work in unison to achieve offloading rates in excess of 40,000 tonnes per day. Conveyors transfer these bulk materials, once discharged, into a large open bulk storage area before they are stock piled with stacker re-claimers. Immediately adjacent to the quay is the terminal, this area covers 320 acres and provides storage capacity for both bulk and conventional cargoes.

HMRC approved for the storage of un-cleared goods, the terminal benefits from direct rail access to the Network Rail network, as well as road links to both the A19 and A1. Equipped to handle rail wagons with separate load and offload bulk-handling facilities, Redcar Bulk Terminal carries out the loading of rail wagons via overhead hoppers that are directly fed by conveyors. Off-loading of rail wagons, meanwhile, is achieved by bottom discharge into an underground hopper and conveyor system; this is linked directly to stockyards, which thus enables the quick handling of rail traffic both to and from the terminal.

Previously handling up to 12 million tonnes of bulk raw material used by the adjacent Redcar steelworks together with steam coal imports for the power generators, the company had to restructure operations following the closure of the Steel Works in October 2015. Faced with the challenge of replacing the lost raw material imports that were associated with steel making with new and alternative cargoes as well as customers to supplement its existing business, the company has been successful in attracting new clients and products. Today the ISO 9001 and 14001 approved company is involved in the import of petroleum coke, granulated slag, and aggregates, as well as export cargoes of metallurgical coke and furnace ready scrap.

“Following the closure of the steel works in October 2015, Redcar Bulk Terminal carried out a major restructuring exercise that significantly reduces costs and introduced more flexible working practices. We also embarked upon a re-training programme for the workforce in order to meet the needs of new customers and also ensure we can address the increased number of new products being handled. The current markets that we are focusing on attracting include bulk material imports and exports such as aggregates,

pet coke, coal, coke and scrap. However, bulk cargoes are not the sole focus for us; given the availability of land, a great deal of interest is coming from the offshore wind and North Sea oil & gas sector, as well as biomass and waste derived fuels,” says Garry O’Malley, General Manager at Redcar Bulk Terminal Limited.

Alongside attracting new customers, Garry notes that Redcar Bulk Terminal has been focused on a project that it is undertaking with West Cumbria Mining: “Redcar Bulk Terminal has been working closely with West Cumbria Mining and has been identified as the port facility through which coking coal produced by the new mine will be exported, not only to European ports, but to the rest of the world. Redcar, with its deep water, large storage capacity and existing rail handling facilities makes it the ideal port for the WCM project. Coal from the mine will be transported by rail directly into Redcar, where rail wagons will be offloaded through the utilisation of existing excellent rail handling facilities before it is stockpiled, pending shipment, over the wharf.

“In addition to this project, we have also recently signed an agreement with Denham Metals to handle scrap exports to Europe and continue to handle pet coke imports for M&G Fuels, a long-standing customer of Redcar. We also handle granulated slag and aggregate for a variety of customers and regularly handle metallurgical coke exports for Hatfield Energy.”

With its deep-water berth, on-site rail handling facilities and immense size when it comes to the port estate, the future looks positive for Redcar Bulk Terminal as it seeks to diversify operations and expand into markets such as the oil and gas industry. “We are also well located to serve the offshore wind industry and meet the full criteria that is laid down in the Offshore Wind Industry Council’s strategic review of UK East coast ports for staging and construction,” comments Garry.

“Over the next 12 months Redcar Bulk Terminal will focus on establishing itself as a hub for offshore wind and position itself as a key player in the regeneration of Teesside following the closure of Redcar Steelworks. We will also continue to work closely with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and the Tees Valley Combined Authority to attract new business and industries into the area with the goal of creating more jobs and securing opportunities associated with offshore wind, the North Sea oil & gas sector and the growing energy from waste industries,” he concludes.

Redcar Bulk Terminal Limited
• Port owner and operator
• Direct rail access to the National Rail network
• Excellent bulk handling facilities
• Restructuring company with added focus on renewables, offshore wind and oil & gas