Sphere of application — cargo transshipment from SkyWay rolling stock:
- in bulk carriers — for bulk cargo (coal, ore, etc.);
- in tankers — for oil and petroleum products;
- in the container ships — for containers;
- transfer of passengers from SkyWay rolling stock to passenger ships.
This sea port is designed for handling dry mineral raw materials from a cargo transport system into bulk carriers and vice versa. The sea port and the transport system form a functional single logistics facility, from a minefield to the holds of a bulk carrier. The loading capacity of the offshore port is determined by the capacity of the transport system, because, unlike railroad transport, – SkyWay transport provides a uniform (uninterrupted) rhythm of performance. Therefore, the storage volumes on an offshore platform can be completely ruled out. For example, with the performance of the SkyWay transport system at 200 million tons, loading of a bulk carrier with carrying capacity of 390 thousand tons will be completed "from the wheels" within 17 hours. Platforms for loading and unloading have identical
technological facilities – terminals of loading and unloading, respectively. The external force shell of the processing platform superstructure in this design is created with a battery of storage towers, made in the form of reinforced concrete hollow cylinders, "intergrown" with each other. They have a common reinforced concrete base, which is mounted on the bottom ground of the seabed (natural or artificial). The technological structure of the port is equipped with dockside walls on both sides, covered with a dust-holding shed and connected by a passage with the adjacent office tower. In case of locating a sea port in the area unprotected from waves, the construction of a breakwater may be required.
Compared to traditional offshore platforms, the described sea port has the following differences:
- the possibility of berthing waterfront with depths of 25 m or more at minimal capital expenses for dredging and arrangement of harbor waters through the use of natural depth;
- lack of access channels that greatly simplifies the approach of bulk carriers in comparison with approaches to traditional ports and minimizes pilot support;
- no need for large free and expensive areas on the shore, usually with a vulnerable ecosystem, to locate open warehouses and piles of cargo on the shore and in the coastal area, which would contaminate and pollute the environment;
- loading the entire volume of cargo by the scheme "SkyWay transport system – bulk carrier", without intermediate storage with a significant saving of time and operating costs;
- considerable reduction of time and funds for the construction of a transshipment sea port.
Summarizing, we can state that the substantial and continuing increase of capacity of bulk carriers due to the rapid growth of the market of dry bulk cargoes, in the conditions of fierce competition, has created the problem of lack of deep-water ports. The solution to this problem is encumbered by impressive capital expenses (for dredging and creation of harbor areas), as well as complicated by a shortage of dredging machines and free coastal
areas. The developed concept of the SkyWay cargo transport systems allows to offer an alternative solution to the problem of lack of port facilities for transshipment of bulk cargoes through the development and construction of the SkyWay sea port on a sea shelf with the water depth of 25 − 30 meters, with practically no restrictions on the distance from the shore.
- port location — on the shelf in the open sea; natural depth of the sea in the port is 20—30 m and more;
- distance from the port to the shore: 1—10 km and more, both within territorial waters and beyond;
- cargo transshipment volume — up to 250 million tons per year;
- number of transit passengers — from 1 million people per year;
- cost of the sea port, excluding the cost of SkyWay access track, rolling stock, loading-unloading terminals and infrastructure — from USD 10 million.
1. The possibility of arranging waterfront berth with depths of 20 m and more by using natural depth of the sea.
2. Lack of necessity for large, free and high-cost areas on the shore, with vulnerable ecosystem, as a rule.
3. Decrease of capital expenditure for construction due to:
- lack of necessity for dredging operations with the purpose of creating deep-water port area for vessels approach to the dockside;
- lack of necessity for a berth wall, needed for ships mooring and protecting the shore from erosion by the surf;
- lack of artificial sea access channels in harbor waters and the port.
4. Reduction of operating costs by:
- simplifying the entry of vessels with deep draft, compared with entry in conventional ports;
- reducing the vessel demurrage while transshipping cargo and transferring passengers;
- minimizing the cost of port pilot service;
- improving the logistics of bulk cargo while working on the scheme: "ore deposit — SkyWay rolling stock — bulk carrier hold" instead of the traditional scheme: "ore deposit — rolling stock — unloading in the storehouse on the shore — loading from the shore storehouse into the other rolling stock — transportation to berth — overloading into the bulk carrier hold ";
- reducing the consumption of energy and fuel for transshipment; reducing expenses for operating personnel and their wages;
- automation of loading-unloading operations;
- reducing the volume of maintenance and repair works in the port.
5. Improvement of the quality of cargo, especially bulk (ore, coal, etc.), and increase of its selling price by reducing the number of loading and unloading transshipments.
6. Improvement of the reliability and safety of all-weather and year-round operation of SkyWay sea port on the shelf compared to a conventional port on the shore.
7. Environmental friendliness:
- low resource consumption and low energy consumption at all stages of the life cycle of SkyWay sea port (design, construction, operation and dismantling);
- SkyWay sea port does not violate the terrain, biogeocenose and biodiversity of sea shore neighborhood;
- SkyWay sea port does not destroy the fertile soil and its vegetation on the sea shore neighborhood;
- the absence of large-volume open storage areas and piles of bulk cargo on the shore (ore, coal, etc.) and in the coastal zone, which would pollute and litter the environment.
8. SkyWay sea port does not prevent:
- existing natural movement of water and natural underwater currents;
- movement and the natural migration of fish and marine animals;
- biogeocenose and biodiversity of the seabed in the port and harbor waters.
9. Reliability and safety:
- tsunami and tides in the open sea are not dangerous, because the wave height in them rarely exceeds one meter;
- waves in the open sea have less height and cause less danger for vessels than at the shore;
- sea port is not exposed to the surf due to its absence;
- high stability to vandalism and terrorist acts.