Posts Tagged ‘Semi-trailer truck’
The railcar transloading business has been in America for well over 100 years. The first ones were created by providing a service to those that needed an economical and safe way of transferring bulk material from railcars to tractor trailers.
The idea of this can from big industry. Most large manufacturing plants have their own transloading stations on site at their facilities. They also had a rail line running to them so the delivery of bulk material by railcar could be made.
There was a need to provide this service to the smaller business man and for industries that had small locations located in many different areas of the country. This evoked the American entrepreneur spirit in the pioneers in the transloading business.
When a feasibility study was conducted, it was determined that the average tractor trailer could make a delivery of bulk items in a 300 mile radius of a transloading station in just one day. This is the area in which any transloading station could solicit business from their community. By placing a transloading station in an area of the country that had business which needed this type of service, the building of transloading stations commenced.
It all depends on what types of industry is located in any 300 mile radius of a centrally located station that will determine if this is a profitable business venture. In the Marcellus shale rock basin in the north eastern portion of America, this service is needed by the natural gas and oil exploration companies.
This is a very large industry but they have multiple sites located in thousands of places in this area. For this reason it would not be economically feasible to run a rail line to each production well. By using a transloading station located within 300 miles of their well, the delivery of bulk material, like frac sand can be more efficiently and at a reduced cost than doing it themselves.
This saves the energy exploration companies money by them not having to spend capital on rail lines, a facility for the off loading of the material, the equipment to make the transfer and the storage bins for the material. By utilizing the transloading stations for the transfer and then the trailers as the storage bins, the cost of drilling a well is done at a lower cost.
This same service of railcar transloading is also used by many smaller businesses that have the need for large scale bulk items so the transportation costs are manageable. This also makes use of professionals that only handle bulk transfers for this task can be done at the lowest possible cost in the fastest time frame possible.
- Marcellus Drilling Transport (transloading.org)
- Transporting Sand for Natural Gas (transloading.org)
- Record Deliveries Signal Turnaround For This Railcar Maker (forbes.com)
The Marcellus drilling transport system is a complex maze of independent businesses that work together so an efficient and reliable service can be realized by the energy industry. The benefit to the American consumer is lower energy price they will pay for the natural gas that is used in the homes and at the gas pumps.
The reason a specialized system is needed for the Marcellus shale rock basin is the number of wells located there. Unlike regular industrial business ventures, the drilling of wells requires a company to have many different locations. For this they need to set up a supply chain to provide the required raw materials needed at each well.
Fortunately for the wells being drilled in the Marcellus basin, the energy reservoirs are known to exist there. This allows for each well that is drilled to be productive. It is the nature of the shale rock layer that makes this possible. What is limited is the amount of natural gas and oil that can be extracted from each of these wells.
To supply the needs of each well the use of the railroad transit system is used. This is the lowest price and most efficient means to transport the raw materials required of each well site to an area near their location. On the rail lines there are transloading stations strategically located in areas about 600 miles apart from each other.
The reason the transloading stations are 600 miles apart is because one station can send out tractor trailers loaded with bulk material for a radius of 300 miles in a one day trip. This permits each load to be taken off the rail car and delivered to the site where it was ordered in less than a day.
The transloading stations are independent businesses that specialize in the offloading of raw materials from railcars to tractor trailers. One example of their expertise is with frac sand. This raw material is ordered by the railcar load. A transloading station that is operating efficiently can offload the frac sand from one rail car to the awaiting five tractor trailers in one hour. This is done with a dedicated conveyor. The more conveyors a transloading station has, the greater number of railcars that can be offloaded per hour.
This same delivery mechanism is also used for the transport of drilling rods and piping, water and all other bulk material needed by the energy companies at their well sites. This efficient means of Marcellus drilling transport mechanism is why the energy being extracted from this basin is arriving at such a low cost despite the added effort to recover the natural gas and oil from beneath the ground.
- Marcellus Shale Natural Gas (transloading.org)
- Frac Sand Transportation (transloading.org)
- A Frac Sand Loading Facility: and Why We Need Them (transloading.org)
The availability of transloading facilities is limited to areas of the country where industry has a need for bulk material being delivered. This type of business is not something most American consumers are aware of or even that they exist but benefit from their services by the lower prices they enjoy on many items they use.
One of the places this cost savings is enjoyed is at the gas pump. By the transloading stations being placed near the oil and gas wells, the raw materials can be delivered to the wells for a lower cost with a reduction in the chances of it becoming contaminated or damage while in transport.
The cost savings is also realized in the American home with lower natural gas prices. This is especially true with the contribution of the transloading facilities on and near the Marcellus Shale rock deposit in the northeastern portion of the nation. These facilities are located in many of these states where there are active natural gas wells being explored.
Bulk Materials Transloading Facilities
The types of raw materials that these transloading stations handle include frac sand, water, piping surfactants and other items that are used on natural gas recovery sites. The reason these stations are so needed is because of the specific tasks they perform.
It is the responsibility of each transloading facility to transfer the raw materials from the rail cars to a waiting tractor trailers in the safest and most efficient manner while reducing or eliminating any possibility of contamination. This is possible because these stations are dedicated to handling these bulk items and do this on a regular basis.
The transfer of frac sand is the best example of this. At a transloading facility there are conveyers that take the frac sand from the rail cars and dump it into the tractor trailers. The conveyors are dedicated for this purpose so the frac sand does not become contaminated. One conveyor can transfer the contents of one rail car into 5 tractor trailers in about an hour.
With the use of 5 conveyors, 5 rail cars can be unloaded per hour reaching a total of 120 in a 24 hour period. This is important since the first 24 hours a rail car is at its final destination has a demurrage charge of $0. After that point, there is a charge per rail car per hour it is idle. By being able to handle this type of bulk material in an efficient manner, the charges for transporting the material are kept to a minimum.
This is just one example how transloading facilities are helping to keep energy prices low. This then makes a contribution to helping the American consumer spend less on their energy needs so they can use their revenue on other necessary items around their home.
- Shale Gas Fracking (transloading.org)
- Frac Sand Transportation (transloading.org)
- A Frac Sand Loading Facility: and Why We Need Them (transloading.org)
[Image courtesy flickr.com/Bengt]
The process of transloading frac sand is one of those types of transfers that go highly unnoticed unless there is a problem, or it takes too much time. What most people do not realize is that his is a critical step in the transportation of this vital commodity.
What is not apparent to most that observe this transfer of bulk material is that it has to remain as free of contamination as possible. This might be the same types of sand that is found on the beaches around the world, but it has a specific task that it will need to perform.
All frac sand that is in transported to the oil and natural gas fields in America are destined to perform an important task. This is to keep the fractures open during the hydrofracking and propane fracking procedures so the valuable energy reserve can be extracted at the well bore. Without this frac sand being present and free of contaminates, the fractures in the rock bed would not remain open allowing the recovery of the energy reserves to occur.
The reason contamination of the frac sand has to be kept at a minimum is to help prevent an unwanted reaction to occur so the intended task it is to perform can happen. It also allows the frac sand to be more efficient in performing its task.
To help minimize the contamination of the frac sand during the transloading of the material from the rail cars to the tractor trailers, a designated conveyor is used. In the stations that are equipped properly, there is more than just one. Ideally there should be a conveyor for each station that a railcar can be positioned into for unloading.
On average it takes 5 tractor trailers to transload just one rail car. The time it takes to do this one railcar is just over an hour’s time. Since the demurrage of each rail car is at no charge for the first 24 hours, it is financially responsible for the transloading station to perform the transloading of the frac sand within this time to minimize the cost of transporting this commodity.
An average load of frac sand sent by rail car is upwards of 25 cars. For this reason it is fiscally responsible to have up to 5 different transloading stations to off load the frac sand to help minimize the cost of its transport. 5 stations will be able to transload the frac sand of 25 rail cars in 5 hours. This will not only reduce the time required for the transportation of the frac sand to its final destination, but help to minimize the cost of its transport.
Transloading frac sand is more complex than it first appears to the casual observer. This is ok since the operators of the transloading stations know the tasks they have to perform and why.
- Transload Equipment for Bulk Sand (transloading.org)
- Railcar Sand Unloading (transloading.org)
- Why Use Sand with Fracking (transloading.org)
(Note: the image used above is of a transloading operation of a product that is not sand, however the process is quite similar. Thanks to Bengt at flickr.com for calling my attention to this and thanks also for the use of the image. Rich Hill admin.)
The Marcellus shale drilling has been going on for nearly a decade now with a positive recovery of natural gas and oil. These energy reserves are helping, in part, to supply the American public with its high demand of fuel needs that are being used to help generate revenue streams for the area.
The positive economic impact of the wells that are tapping into this energy deposit is larger than most realize. This includes all the supplies that are needed to extract the natural gas and oil. The only raw material that can be found locally is water. All of the rest have to be brought in from other parts of the country.
The list of raw materials needed to recover the energy reserves is vast. This includes all the piping, machinery, frac sand, and containers, along with the means in which to transport all of the supplies.
In America, the transportation system is already established that makes this moving of large and bulk items essentially easy. This includes the vast fleets of tractor trailers and the roads that they use to transport the goods to their final destination. The railroads are another part of this all important transportation system that is widely used.
The railroads are how the large and bulk items are transported close to their final destination. They arrive at the transloading station where the material is offloaded to waiting tractor trailers for the final part of the journey. These transloading stations are strategically positioned near the area that has the largest demand for bulk items.
With all of these involved with Marcellus shale drilling, it is beneficial to the local economy and the nation as a whole providing jobs, revenue streams and energy reserves that are made available by the energy businesses.
The sponsor of this blog is TRAN-Z a company that owns short line railroads that haul bulk materials out of quarries and sand and gravel plants, as well as serve as interconnecting lines to frac sand suppliers for the Marcellus Shale Drilling industry. They build transloading stations to accommodate the needs of contractors that work in the gas drilling business.
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