Port Modelling

The client had completed a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) into development of an iron ore mine, rail system, stockyard and ship loading system at Port Hedland. The client requested Optika Solutions to validate that the equipment proposed to be installed and the operating practices to be adopted would, with a high degree of confidence, achieve the target export tonnage for the project.
Port Hedland has some special features which made modelling of the facility a challenging exercise:
• The principal export from Port Hedland is iron ore, a relatively low value export product, which demands low cost transportation and hence very large cargo size, typically Cape Size – around 180Kt. Such vessels have deep drafts of 17m to 18m fully laden.

• The port is tidally constrained, meaning that laden vessels can only sail during a short window during a rising tide. There are typically 4 or 5 sailing slots available during such a tide window and most are draft constrained, i.e. less than 18m;

• The port is a multi-user facility and is rapidly approaching capacity at current configuration. This means that there is competition for available sailing slots among users.

As a consequence, the port authority has developed Sailing Guidelines which set out the rules for sailing slot allocation.

As part of confirming the BFS assumptions, the client requested Optika to provide advice on a decision rule on whether to short load vessels and target an earlier tide, or fully load and sail on a subsequent tide.
The client also requested evaluation of an innovative ship loader circuit design which was under review as part of the value engineering phase of the project.
Optika constructed an end-to-end discrete event simulation model, which took the mine production plan as input and modelled each unit production facility from the ROM pad to the ship. Operating rules were imbedded in the model, including the decision making around short loading. In order to adequately model allocation of sailing slots, the Port Hedland Sailing Guidelines were modelled and a simplified model of third party shipping was included. Weather events, planned maintenance and breakdowns were modelled based on Optika’s experience and the client’s maintenance philosophy.
As a result of the modelling, Optika was able to evaluate decision rules for short loading and demonstrate the trade-off between reduced cargo size and total time in port for a given throughput tonnage.
With the chosen rule embedded, Optika was able to demonstrate that the facility was comfortably able to handle the target throughput for the project.

As part of confirming the BFS assumptions, the client requested Optika to provide advice on a decision rule on whether to short load vessels and target an earlier tide, or fully load and sail on a subsequent tide.
The client also requested evaluation of an innovative ship loader circuit design which was under review as part of the value engineering phase of the project.
Optika constructed an end-to-end discrete event simulation model, which took the mine production plan as input and modelled each unit production facility from the ROM pad to the ship. Operating rules were imbedded in the model, including the decision making around short loading. In order to adequately model allocation of sailing slots, the Port Hedland Sailing Guidelines were modelled and a simplified model of third party shipping was included. Weather events, planned maintenance and breakdowns were modelled based on Optika’s experience and the client’s maintenance philosophy.
As a result of the modelling, Optika was able to evaluate decision rules for short loading and demonstrate the trade-off between reduced cargo size and total time in port for a given throughput tonnage.
With the chosen rule embedded, Optika was able to demonstrate that the facility was comfortably able to handle the target throughput for the project.