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New technology for containerised bulk

KOTTA Container, a special container design company based in St Petersburg, generated a lot of interest at Intermodal Europe in Rotterdam last month, with a new concept for containerised bulk logistics.

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KOTTA bottom discharge containers (in low wall and high cube designs) at Port Bronka, St Petersburg
KOTTA bottom discharge containers (in low wall and high cube designs) at Port Bronka, St Petersburg

Presented by executive director Olga Cherednikova, KOTTA’s new development is a specialist bulk container system with two main components:

  • A container design featuring a removable lid for loading bulk commodities, and a bottom discharge system for unloading the container by opening the floor panels.
  • A special spreader system for activating the bottom discharge mechanism.

The design enables bulk cargo to be loaded, moved and discharged in containers, without the need for a specialist container rotator to empty the container.

 

KOTTA presented two different 20ft containers in Rotterdam. One is designed for iron ore, with a tare weight of 3.5t, a sidewall height of 1.896m, and a capacity of 19.3 m3 . Maximum gross weight would be 32.5t, which would allow a 65t capacity crane with a twinlift spreader to handle and discharge two containers at a time.


The other container is a high cube design, with a sidewall height of 2.896m and a tare weight of 3.8t. This allows a cargo capacity of 32.4 m3 with a maximum gross weight of 36t. This version features the plywood liner for handling corrosive materials (including HCI and H2 SO4), as well as potash, sulphur, fertilisers and grains.

The bottom-dump container eliminates the need for a rotator, but requires a separate attachment
The bottom-dump container eliminates the need for a rotator, but requires a separate attachment

KOTTA’s system design features an internal, patentpending, mechanism for opening the floor doors, using the twistlock system and an intermediate attachment that connects to any conventional container spreader and drives the floor opening mechanism. KOTTA declined to provide further details of its own “KOTTA specialised spreader” intermediate attachment, at this stage, but it is expected to be available early in 2019.

 

Using bottom-discharge containers, it would be possible for two cranes (STS or MHC) to achieve a shiploading rate of 60,000t per day with either the standard or the high cube KOTTA containers, according to Aleksey Shukletsov, executive director at the Port of Bronka in St Petersburg.


While KOTTA’s bottom discharge containers require more investment in the container themselves than conventional bulk boxes, this factor is likely outweighed by the advantages of the bottom-dump design in a closed loop containerised bulk supply chain, where the containers are typically used to move a commodity between a mining site and port.


Removing the need for container rotator from the loading process eliminates an expensive component that requires fuel, maintenance and servicing, and takes up a significant amount of crane capacity with its own self weight of around 14t. It was clear from the audience response in Rotterdam that a bottom-dump container for containerised bulk logistics has very significant appeal.

 

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