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Lucky Bay export grain terminal in full swing

A new export grain terminal at Lucky Bay in South Australia is now fully-operational, providing local grain farmers with a much-needed alternate storage and export option in the region.

Ahrens were engaged to design and construct a $19 million dollar storage and material handling facility as part of the overall $130 million Lucky Bay project, with construction completed over a seven month period.

Take a tour of the new facility with the video below:

The new Lucky Bay Port on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, incorporates the Ahrens-built handling facility utilised by T-Ports’ owned and operated Transhipment Vessel (TSV) to transfer grain from the harbour out to deep water where ocean-going vessels can be loaded.

The project combined Ahrens’ diverse in-house capabilities including design, complete project management, silo manufacturing, structural steel manufacturing, site erection, and material handling equipment.

Ahrens scope of works included the design and installation of electrical and control systems, material handling systems and the supply and erection of three 8,300 tonne flat bottom silos. 

The silos are fed by a 1,000 tonne per hour infill system with two road intake hoppers housed within a specifically designed road intake building.

The silos included fumigation systems, Ahrens gas-lock sealing system exceeding the Australian Silo Sealing standard, and 300 tonne per hour sweeps, feeding the 1,500 tonne per hour reclaim conveyor.

The discharge mechanism also provides the client with the ability to proportionately control the discharge rates for blending purposes.

The grain outloading system with a 1,500 tonne per hour capacity, incorporates belt conveyors, bucket elevator, bulk weigher, and telescoping vessel loading chute.

The outloading belt conveyors also included belt weighers to provide the client with additional operational control to optimise efficiency.

The road receival system was also designed to enable two trucks to discharge simultaneously at 500 tonne per hour in all weather conditions.

The project was not without its challenges with ground conditions found during T-Ports initial site investigations identifying extremely low bearing capacity soils and the water table less than two metres below surface.

Identifying these constraints, the Ahrens team developed an alternate solution to provide a cost-effective and functional answer to what could have been an extremely expensive process.

As part of careful planning, all Material Handling equipment was positioned above the natural surface to avoid any issues that would have been encountered during construction due to the high water table.

Ground improvement methodologies, in conjunction with structural design requirements and cost modelling, were then investigated by Ahrens in consultation with T-Ports to achieve the most cost effective solution while ensuring the client’s operational requirements were met and structural requirements were achieved.

Another area where considerable costs could have occurred, was in the area of vessel loading.

Due to T-Ports’ unique transhipment methodology, the necessity to incorporate a traditional ship-loader and significant costs associated with this, were overcome.

This however created a challenge for the Ahrens and T-Ports teams with regard to the most flexible yet cost-effective method of loading the TSV.

The solution developed was to design a fixed conveyor with gantry cantilevering out over the water to discharge directly into T-Ports’ TSV.

The design incorporated a telescoping chute with deflector, allowing sufficient clearance and flexibility to accommodate the significant variations in vessel draft, tidal fluctuations and adverse weather conditions. 

Adding to the complexity of this project was the remote location of Lucky Bay however through the dedicated team of site staff, project management, long-term subcontractors, Ahrens were able to deliver on-time and on-budget to achieve great results for much-valued client, T-Ports.