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Floating transfer terminals


Floating transfer terminals


Clean efficient offshore transloading for dry bulk cargoes

Large ocean-going bulk carriers are often prevented from entering ports due to draft limitations or the lack of adequate loading/discharging facilities. To overcome these problems, full or partial loading and unloading of ocean-going vessels can be moved out of the port to deeper sheltered water using a transfer vessel, transfer terminal or barge for the transloading operation.

MacGregor offers complete cargo handling systems for the efficient, reliable and clean transfer of dry bulk cargoes. Key components of MacGregor transloading systems include grab cranes, deck hoppers, conveyor systems, ship loaders and hatch covers – all available from one supplier, MacGregor.  Each delivery is tailor-made to suit the specific requirements of the customer for maximum performance and efficiency.

MacGregor transloading systems offer great advantages including:     

  • avoiding new investments in ports that lack discharge facilities  
  • overcoming the problem of draft restrictions
  • larger vessels can be used for long distance transportation
  • high discharge capacities
  • a floating terminal can be relocated
  • reduced pollution in ports and their immediate environment
  • environmentally-friendly operation
Many free-flowing dry bulk commodities can be handled including coal, iron ore, gypsum rock and aggregates. 


Transloading operations often take place in the open sea, or where possible, in sheltered waters away from port constraints.  During the operation, the transfer vessel or terminal is moored next to an ocean-going vessel. 
A transfer unit can be equipped with MacGregor heavy-duty grab cranes and a MacGregor bulk handling system incorporating deck hoppers, a conveyor system and a ship loader. The grab cranes transfer the cargo into the terminal’s deck hoppers which feed it to the conveyor system. This moves the cargo along to the ship loader which directs it into the receiving vessel’s holds.
A transfer terminal can also be equipped with a MacGregor gravity-fed self-unloading system which transfers cargo directly from shuttle barges via the terminal into large bulk carriers. Employing a continuous unloading system throughout the whole transloading operation is the most efficient solution, making it possible to achieve very high discharge capacities.

Environmentally-friendly operation

Moving cargo handling operations from ports to the open sea by means of transloading systems offers great benefits for charterers and the local environment. Expensive and ecologically harmful dredging operations are also avoided in sensitive coastal areas.

A floating transfer terminal ensures virtually dust-free cargo handling. To lower dust emissions during an offshore operation, the conveyor system and the ship loader are totally enclosed. To further reduce dust creation during transloading, dust filters and spray water nozzles can be fitted in the discharge chutes, between conveyors and at unloading points. This ensures a clean ship and a clean terminal, with no dust pollution to impact the surrounding areas.  

​Key components of MacGregor transloading systems include grab cranes, deck hoppers, conveyor systems, ship loaders and hatch covers – all available from one supplier, MacGregor.  




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