Dry Port Terminal
We have Free Zone User Agreements with Uruguay dating back to the 1950s for certain lands on which we operate in Uruguay. The agreements have been extended to 2046 and may be extended further until 2066 at our option. Additionally, since our terminals are located in the Nueva Palmira Free Zone, foreign commodities moving through the terminal are free of Uruguayan taxes.
We believe that the Dry Port Terminals we own and operate constitute the largest independent bulk transfer and storage port terminal complex in Uruguay based on throughputs. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, 3.0 Mt. 4.9 Mt and 3.8 Mt of grain and mineral cargo, respectively, were moved through our Dry Port Terminals. Our Dry Port Terminal complex comprises of a grain terminal, and a new iron ore terminal that commenced operations in 2017.
We have experienced significant growth in the last ten years from 1.0 Mt of grain moved in 2000 to 3.6 Mt of grain moved in 2019. We believe that there will continue to be an increase in the use of land for agriculture and implement technology for increasing yields on productive lands in the Hidrovia Region. To address the continuing growth in the Hidrovia Region, we have expanded our grain silo capacity from 274,000 tons of grain cargo in 2009 to 454,000 tons of grain cargo as of December 31, 2020. We also installed a grain drying and conditioning facility on 13.6 acres of land adjacent to our Dry Port Terminal, which has been operational since May 2011. In addition, in October 2013 we completed the construction of an additional vessel-loading conveyor belt.
Furthermore, we have expanded our dry bulk terminal operations and we believe there is significant potential for further expansion. After the completion of the development of the iron ore terminal that commenced operations in 2017, we developed 74 acres of land, and we have 144 acres available to be developed inside or near the Nueva Palmira Free Zone.
Grain Terminal Operation: The commodities most frequently handled include grain and grain products, including cereals, soybeans, corn and wheat. Our Grain Terminal receives bulk cargoes from barges, trucks, and vessels, and either transfers them directly to dry bulk carriers or stores them in our modern silos for later shipment. The Grain Terminal operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to provide barge and ship traffic with safe and fast turnarounds. Multiple operations may be conducted simultaneously at the Grain Terminal, including cargoes from vessels, barges, trucks and grain silos. The Grain Terminal uses a fixed fee structure for customers.
Grain Terminal Infrastructure: The Grain Terminal is unique in the region because of its sophisticated design, efficiency and multimodal operations. Our Grain Terminal has specially designed storage, drying and conditioning facilities and two-belt conveying systems that provide significant flexibility in cargo movement aimed at avoiding delays to trucks, vessels and barge convoys. The Grain Terminal currently offers approximately 460,000 tons (soybean basis) of clean and secure grain silo capacity. With nine silos (some with internal separations) available for storage, our facility provides customers storage for their commodities separate from those of other customers and allows for identity preservation of customers’ products. The Grain Terminal has the latest generation, high precision, independent weigh scales for loading activity.
The Grain Terminal has two docks. The main outer dock is 240 meters long and accommodates vessels of up to 85,000 DWT loading to the maximum draft permitted for vessels at the Martin Garcia and Mitre Canals. The dock has three modern ship loaders that since the construction of the second conveyor line to the main pier are capable of loading vessels at rates of up to 48,000 tons per day, depending on the vessel, use of silos and on the type of commodity. The secondary inner dock is 170 meters long and is dedicated to the discharge of barge convoys, which is carried out on both sides of the dock. The Grain Terminal is capable of discharging barge convoys at rates averaging 10,000 to 14,000 tons per day, depending on the type of barges and commodity. There is also a fixed-duty cycle crane to discharge barge convoys. In addition, discharging at our facility is optimized through the use of commodity-appropriate bucket size and type.
Iron Ore Terminal Operation: The commodities most frequently handled include iron ore and manganese. Our Iron Ore Terminal receives minerals from barges and either transfers them directly to dry bulk carriers or stores them in our stockpiles for later shipment. The Iron Ore Terminal operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to provide barge and ship traffic with safe and fast turnarounds.
Iron Ore Terminal Infrastructure: The Iron Ore Terminal is unique in the region because of its sophisticated design, efficiency and multimodal operations. Our Iron Ore Terminal has specially designed storage facilities and conveying systems that provide significant flexibility in cargo movements aimed at avoiding delays to vessels and barge convoys. On shore the new facilities comprise an area of approximately 20 acres with two stockpiles for mineral with a storage capacity of up to 700,000 tons. With two stockpiles available for storage, our facility provides customers storage for their commodities separate from those of other customers. Mineral at the stockpile are handled by a Stacker/Reclaimer. Auxiliary equipment for barge mooring, power, environment control and water treatment are also part of the iron ore terminal facility.
The Iron Ore Terminal has two new docks. The main outer dock is 300 meters long with two berths for vessels able to accommodate vessels on both sides; up to 150,000 DWT on the outer side, and up to 85,000 DWT on the inner side, loading to the maximum draft permitted for vessels at the Martin Garcia and Mitre Canals. The secondary inner dock is 200 meters long and is dedicated for the discharge of barge convoys, able to accommodate and discharge two barges at the same time. Vessels are loaded with a travelling shiploader and barges are unloaded by two cranes.