E-Crane Floating Bulk Handling Terminals

Ten years ago E-Crane® delivered the first barge and ship mounted E-Cranes to offload barges and small ships. E-Crane® has adapted this concept for the offloading of ships up to Panamax-class and has more than 15 units successfully operating world-wide.

These barge or ship mounted E-Cranes have been developed in close cooperation with the clients. The concept of a floating bulk handling terminal is well suited for both port operations (ship-to-shore) as well as midstream transfer (barge-to-ship and ship-to-barge).

Floating transloading terminals address a host of material handling needs that are present in today’s rapidly changing environment. This concept offers the following benefits:

  • the complete terminal can be built and tested and then floated to its final destination
  • the terminal can be located at the closest possible location to the mine
  • at the preferred transfer point
  • near the end-user
  • and all this with limited local regulatory requirements
  • the complete terminal can be relocated quickly and cost effectively if required
  • the minimum investment combined with a short delivery time provides for an excellent return of investment
  • the option to have a floating buffer storage to smooth out any peaks and valleys between inbound and outbound material deliveries.

GMSV Floating Terminal since 2002

GMSV floating E-Crane terminal in Venezuela

The GMSV floating terminal is located near a bauxite unloading facility along the Orinoco River in Venezuela. This floating terminal was developed to improve the bauxite unloading at the existing port in this important region of Venezuela. The previous system of bauxite unloading had several limitations: poor serviceability and availability of the existing unloading equipment as well as interference of barge unloading with ship loading since the existing dock was used by ships as well as barges.

The upgraded floating barge unloading terminal is now built around two equilibrium cranes mounted on an ocean going barge. The two E-Cranes unload all the bauxite for the nearby alumina producer (CVG Bauxilum). This material originates from the El Jobal mine located 650 km downriver and is transported by barge.

Equipped with 2 E-Cranes, one with 15 tons, the larger with 25 tons lift capacity this installation has a proven bauxite unloading capacity of close to 6 million tons in an 8 month time window (navigation season)! The terminal has been in successful operation since early 2002 and is proof of E-Crane’s excellent reliability and ease of operation in an extremely tough environment.

Seaboard’s Midema Midstream Transfer Facility

Seaboard Midema

In the second half of 2008, E-Crane® delivered a Mid-stream transfer station for Seaboard Corporation (US), for their Midema (Minoterie De Matadi, flour mill) Ship Unloading Project in Matadi, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The floating transloading station, the 1000 m² barge “Mama Mobokoli” equipped with a 1500B Series E-Crane® was designed and built in Belgium, and reached the Midema grain terminal in Matadi after a 40-day ocean going voyage late summer 2008.

In Matadi, the farthest inland harbor on the Congo River, Seaboard was faced with major port congestion problems and outdated neglected port infrastructure. After carefully reviewing all options (such as investing in the existing infrastructure, building a new quay, …), a floating transloading station proved to be the quickest, most flexible and cost-effective solution.

The Mama Mobokoli floating terminal is designed for ‘Ship-to-Quay’ discharging of handy and handy-max vessels (25.000 to 30.000 tons) with ‘Ship-to-Ship’ and ‘Midstream Transloading’ capabilities of break bulk commodities on the Congo River.

The E-Crane® has a reach of 35,9 meters, lift capacity of 13,5 tons and a 400 Ton/hour unloading capacity for handy-class vessels. A 550 kVA generator set is installed onto the barge that allows the barge and crane to operate independently. There is also a connection for shore power.

To unload the ships, the Mama Mobokoli is towed alongside and secured to the ship, then using its winches to move along the ships. The E-Crane® transfers grain from the ship into two hoppers, a conveyor then transports the grain directly to the silos.

During the official inauguration at Matadi in February 2009, Seaboard officials confirmed that all E-Crane systems, including the winch system, are working perfectly and the floating E-Crane® has greatly improved the capacity, efficiency and flexibility of Midema’s ship unloading operations.

Coal Handling Terminal

The Alabama-based cooperative PowerSouth needed an integrated and efficient coal handling terminal to offload coal from incoming barges at their Charles R. Lowman Power Station in Leroy, AL. The center-piece of their coal handling system is a 2000 Series all electric E-Crane®. It has the ability to offload 1,500 tons of coal per hour with only 450 killowatts of installed power. This equates to the same amount of mechanical horsepower on a sports car.

PowerSouth Lowman
Lowman Power Plant

The E-Cranes fundamental design principal of balance results in much lower dynamic overturning moments transferred to the floating terminal compared to competing equipment. This benefit results in less barge movement, more precise control of the load, simpler mooring systems and less potential for damage to adjacent vessels or infrastructure. This benefit also allows smaller, lower cost floating platforms for a given unloading rate.

Not only is PowerSouth receiving a state of the art crane, E-Crane International USA is also providing the barge, receiving hopper, assisting jib crane, and barge moving system. The crane is assembled and on the jobsite and will be operational this month.

The benefits PowerSouth took advantage of are immense:

  • Having the barge system and hopper designed by E-Crane® experts ensured maximum efficiency.
  • The complete terminal was built, tested, and then floated to its final location in Leroy, AL.
  • The floating terminal ensures the crane and material are always in the same position eliminating inefficiencies due to fluctuating water conditions on the Tombigbee River.

These advantages combined with state-of-the-art, proven E-Crane® technology result in unmatched productivity and an extreme versatility. E-Crane® International USA is using its expertise to give its customers a one stop solution for their coal handling needs by engineering a customized, fully integrated solution for today’s coal handling industries.


E-Cranes can be employed not only for scrap or bulk handling purposes, but are also highly suitable for dredging operations. E-Crane® is currently installing an “E-Dredger” on a self-propelled barge in Kallo, Belgium.

E-Crane’s clients are found in several water related sectors, specialized in piling, ship salvaging, heavy demolition with dynamiting, classic dyke works, construction of breakwaters, quay construction and beach and embankment preservation jobs.

E-Dredger Albatros by Herbosch-Kiere

This 1500B Series, Model 10290 E-Crane® has a horizontal reach of 29 meters, a lift capacity of 15 tons and a dredging depth of approx. 18 meters. The E-Crane® will be mounted on a self-propelled jack-up barge (50 meters x 15 meters, displacement at maximum draught is 1600 m3).

This E-Dredger will be mainly used for port and river maintenance jobs.


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