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  Primal Squeak! wharf rat_dressed.jpg

Some thoughts (in no certain order)

on the proposed Marine Terminal Project


By Wharf Rat


The article quoted the desire to supply with Handymax class ships. This is a HUGE class of ships, many with self loading/unloading gear, however there is not adequate channel depth to accommodate them. Extensive dredging would be required. Keep in mind ships must have required depth from keel to sea bed as per Lloyds and industry standards.

It further stated that “short loaded” Panamax Ships might be accommodated. While these ships were engineered to traverse the Panama Canal with often lower depths and size limitations, the term “short loaded” implies they will arrive with limited cargo to reduce draft. Typically over 600' LOA, even light "with reduced draft" turning them around will be a challenge and will require the turning basin to be dredged to a deeper depth.


Rarely do Ships have shore power connections. They rely on on-board diesel generators for house power in port. This is 24/7.The residential community downwind will be sucking up this exhaust as well as that generated by surface transportation equipment (see Note). Often low grade fuel is burned (both cheaper and dirtier). The land elevations will cause this plume to contact residential areas with little diffusion.

Port operations are always 24/7. Ships cost often over $12,000 per day just to exist with crews and operational this can exceed $ 25,000 per day. The conceptual graphics showed no gantry cranes, perhaps ships will be self loading/unloading. For bulk cargo, a front loader is needed in the holds to direct cargo to the conveyor hopper. This will require a crane.

Both grinding and drying slag will require huge electrical supplies. Thermal drying being most effective and efficient will necessitate a robust heat source. The logical assumption would be for a co-generation plant to both supply heat and power, either via gas turbines or recips, natural gas being the fuel of choice. Permitting will be extensive and costly. While natural gas is a fairly clean fuel it does produce emissions and will require a selective catalytic reduction system and associated permitting /monitoring.

Note : BAAQMD permitting will be a bitch for this project. This should be the first hurdle to jump as it could very well kill this project. Another hurdle is the thru town rail system; COV being the "residual carrier" with unknown crossings and etc. The rail aspect will be a big ticket item and a constant one.


Note: All opinions expressed in the "Primal Squeak" column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.