The facilities that are involved in transloading silica sand are called transloading stations. These are purpose-built facilities that specialize in the transfer of mainly bulk material from railcars to tractor trailers.
This process might sound rather simple, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Mobile conveyors that are designed to only be used in the transfer of frac sand are necessary. This reduced the possibility of the frac sand from becoming contaminated with any foreign material or objects.
This is important since frac sand is purchased by the oil and natural gas explorers by a particular size. Each region and geographical formation uses a different kind and size of frac sand. If this becomes contaminated with foreign objects, it could cause problems in the wells where the hydrofracking will occur.
If the foreign material is water soluble, its visual appearance will not be present but the chemical makeup could cause an unwanted reaction in the solution.
Moving on to the actual transfer of the frac sand from rail car to tractor trailer, there is the time component that must be considered. A few of the important factors, besides the possibility of contaminating the silica sand, is the speed at which it can be accomplished.
People are able to increase the speed and efficiency of performing a specific task the more they do such a task. The same is with the transfer of bulk frac sand. The facilities that specialize in this field of handling non-food items know what works and how to perform the task at hand safely, along with being efficient with their time.
The average time it takes to off load one railcar of frac sand is generally around an hour. Knowing this, you can calculate how long it would take to off load your shipment by knowing how many designated conveyors are available at the transloading station. This will allow the calculation of the demurrage so cost can be kept at a minimum.
There is a lot more involved with transloading silica sand than just playing in the sand box.