Cargill quietly has invested significant capital to expand and improve its fertilizer businesses during the last year. The investments not only enhance efficiencies and drive costs out of the system, but they also improve the quality, convenience and safety of the products and services delivered to our customers. Below are a few examples of customer solutions delivered by Cargill Fertilizer.
A Third High Speed Truck Load-Out Installed at Port Cargill
A third high speed truck load-out was installed last summer at Port Cargill, our flagship wholesale fertilizer terminal just south of the Twin Cities on the Minnesota River in Savage, Minn. The third system is used to load MAP from building 14. Identical systems were installed to load DAP from building 15 and granular urea from building 16 during the previous two years. The three load-out systems were designed and built in conjunction with a new truck flow scheme implemented at the facility. Traffic engineers developed a new truck flow after a detailed evaluation of the existing flow that included extensive feedback from truckers who regularly served the terminal. In the past, truckers waited as long as eight hours to load during peak periods when more than 400 trucks per day were loaded at the facility. Truckers told us that long waits were unacceptable.
We listened. Port Cargill now can load more than 650 trucks per day with an average wait time of less than two hours. Trucks first weigh-in on one of two scales near the terminal entrance and then proceed to the fully automated load-outs. Trucks are loaded and weighed, and all of the paperwork is processed in as little as five minutes, down from an average of 20 minutes. Each load-out is covered to facilitate loading during inclement weather.
Retail dealers and truckers now find it less complicated, safer, faster and more convenient to buy and move a load of fertilizer from Port Cargill to their retail bins.
E-Crane™ Barge Unloads added to Port Cargill and Houston Terminals
An Equilibrium Crane (or E-Crane™) barge mounted unload system was added to the Port Cargill terminal last September and an even larger system will go into operation at the Houston terminal in March 2001.
The installation of an E-Crane™ at Port Cargill coupled with a corresponding upgrade of the conveyor system doubled the capacity to unload river barges of fertilizer and salt at this terminal. The E-Crane™ boosts unload rates from approximately 350 tons per hour to 600 tons per hour. The E-Crane™, equipped with an 86-foot boom and a 360-degree rotating bucket, enables the operator to clean barges more completely than older cranes, minimizing the time frontend loaders need to spend inside the barge finishing the job. As a result, the new system cuts the total time required to unload a barge from approximately eight hours to four hours. In addition, the new unload system reduces shrink, product degradation and barge demurrage. The system increases barge unload rates to roughly match rates at the three high speed truck load-outs at the terminal.
The Houston E-Crane™ is a larger version of the Port Cargill E-Crane™. The Houston E-Crane™ will boast a 104-foot boom and lifting capacity of more than 700 tons per hour. The new E-Crane™ combined with minor adjustments in hopper and belt configurations will facilitate the unloading of vessels ranging from 1500 ton river barges to 18,000 ton cross gulf barges to 33,000 ton ocean going vessels.
The E-Crane™ also provides a safer working environment. Easy to use electronic and hydraulic controls improve ergonomics and the cab design enhances both the visibility and comfort of the operator.
The E-Crane™, developed more than 25 years ago in Europe, is completely hydraulic and designed specifically for repetitive material handling. It is called an equilibrium crane because a counterweight mounted on a hydraulic cylinder at the rear of the crane is synchronized with the boom to keep the crane in equilibrium at all times.