Import bound transhipment refers to transhipment that is performed at sea and is destined for import markets or discharge ports.
Using geared Handymax and Panamax vessels specially fitted with side-mounted grabs, hoppers and a boom for single-point discharge, import-bound transhipment allows a gearless Panamax vessel to have its cargo transhipped at rates up to 35,000 metric tons either into barges for direct delivery to shore based facilities, or by direct delivery from the transhipment vessel itself. This service allows charterers to by-pass draft limitations and ports that lack discharging installations.
Discharging into Barges
The transhipment vessel remains stationary and discharges the gearless Panamax directly into barges using its side-mounted grabs, via the discharge boom. As the barges move to the shore facility, the transhipment vessel continues to discharge the Panamax into its own holds. When the barges return, the transhipment vessel continues to discharge the Panamax directly into the barges. Once fully discharged, the Panamax will depart, leaving the transhipment vessel to continue to load the barges from its own holds.
Lightering the Panamax and Discharging to Shore Directly
The transhipment vessel discharges the Panamax directly into its own holds and then proceeds to the berth to discharge at the customer’s facility via its discharge boom. When fully discharged, the transhipment vessel returns to the Panamax. When the Panamax’s holds are empty, it will depart, leaving the transhipment vessel to proceed to port to complete the discharge at the facility.
Lightering the Panamax and then Discharging the Remaining Cargo on both Vessels in Port
This situation is similar to the above except that once the Panamax vessel is lightered sufficiently to proceed safely to port, it does so and then “double banks” with the transhipment vessel alongside the customer’s facility. The transhipment vessel then fully discharges the Panamax, upon which time the Panamax departs, leaving the transhipment vessel to discharge the cargo remaining in its holds
Distribution of Lightered Quantities at More than One Discharge Port
Using a transhipment vessel, a “cargo pipeline” can then feed more than one facility by using any combination of the above.