Transloading – Efficiently Moving Crude Oil to the Refinery

In America’s search to find more crude oil at home, companies have had to travel to places previously not breached; partly because there has been no way to get to the oil and partly because there is no pipeline that runs the expanse of the country.

These days, new processes including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing allow the U.S. to tap into new resources and discover copious amounts of crude oil that had not been available previously. However, because no refineries or pipelines exist in many of these areas, companies have had to find ways to transport the oil themselves.

Depending on what part of the country you are located, there may be mountains, rivers and other physical barriers that have to be crossed in order to reach the refinery. A situation like this may require more than one form of transportation. That’s where transloading comes in.

The term “transloading” is used to describe the process of transferring a shipment from one form of transportation to another. This happens when one form of transportation cannot take the shipment the entire way. For example, a rail car may not be able to pull right up outside a refinery and unload. So the rail car will get as close as it can and then transload its contents into a tank truck to take it the rest of the way to the refinery.

Transloading facilities are designed to minimize product handling because errors usually mean added expense due to loss of product, environmental spills and risk of damage to property and people. Metering systems are used to keep track of how much product is transloaded. Portable access platforms and carts can also offer safe, versatile and quick access to both trucks and rail cars.

In order to transload crude oil properly, a terminal must be constructed using equipment that will get the job done quickly and efficiently. The equipment also has to take employee safety into account. Each terminal must be built to OSHA safety guidelines and properly integrated by experienced engineers so workers and their safety are never compromised.

Following are some of the elements that a safe and productive terminal should include:

• Single or double-sided loading racks that provide safe access to a variety of trucks and rail cars.

• Loading racks with fixed platforms allow access to multiple vehicles or multiple hatches.

• Transloading portable access platforms and carts for quick access.

• Tracking gangway systems.

• Rail enclosures that surround the crash box rail as well as full rail car enclosures.

• Truck and rail safety cages.

• Skid mounted systems with valves, pumps, meters, grounding, filtration, instrumentation, high-level shut off and ticket printers.

• Top loading arms with a range of valves, fittings, and instrumentation equipment for leak free operation.

• Bottom loading arms for quicker connections and faster tank filling.

• A metering system to measure how much oil you’re moving at any given time.

Due to the large amounts of crude that are being pumped from the earth, companies make enough money so that it’s cost effective to transload it from tank truck to rail car and back again. At least until the pipeline is further expanded.

For the safest and most effective transloading equipment, contact Carbis. We will evaluate your business and worker safety needs and design a transloading terminal customized to suit those needs.

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