Trailer Mounted Mobile Transloading – Reduce Cost with Movement between Sites

There is an increasing demand to utilize mobile transloading units to move products like propane, butane, crude oil, condensates, ethanol, renewables and refined fuels all over the USA and Mexico, between rail cars and trucks. The need to move into the market quickly once contracts are negotiated has remained consistent, and the need to utilize the asset at multiple sites is increasing, with moving the mobile transloading equipment being an area that is costly and a logistics challenge.

For this discussion, we will assume we have a mobile transload unit with a fixed platform and stair, that uses a gangway with safety cage for safe access and fall protection on top of the rail car (see Fig. 1). This is a common setup used to load or offload between rail cars and trucks where top access is required to open domes for filling and or venting, connect hoses or insert loading arms. The transload unit will also have equipment such as pumps, compressors, controls and meters used for loading or unloading. The fixed platform with stair unit is mounted to a trailer and moved around a yard from car to car and typically pulled by a heavy duty truck. All good and works perfectly ok. However, let’s look at where the additional cost of ownership, above and beyond that of the actual transload unit can increase when it’s time to move the unit to another site and how we can minimize it.

Transload Unit with Fixed Rail Car Access Platform, Stair

From the day the transload unit leaves the factory, the cost to move the unit begins. Because the platform is fixed to a trailer and the height exceeds the 13’-6” DOT height restriction for shipping down the road, the transload unit, and its platform must be shipped on a flatbed truck to the job site. On arrival additional money must be spent to now assemble the unit at site, requiring a fork lift and or boom truck to unload the unit and lift the equipment onto the mobile trailer, man lift, associated tools, sometimes generator power, 2-3 man crew. Cost to do the job vary around the country, but discussions with multiple clients puts the range from $6,000.00 to $8,000.00.  More cost now come if/when you are ready to move the unit to another location. That same $6,000.00 to $8,000.00 has to now be spent twice – once to take the unit apart and load on a flat bed and again to unload and re-assemble the unit at the new site. On the low side, taking the initial delivery, setting it up and then relocating it just one time puts us at $18,000.00.

Transload Unit with Fixed Rail Car Access Platform, Stair

Fig. 1, Transload Unit with Fixed Rail Car Access Platform, Stair

Is there a way to reduce this cost?

Is there a way to reduce this cost – yes. Instead of using a fixed platform that has to be removed, use a platform that rotates and collapses down, mounted to a DOT approved trailer for over the road transport (see Fig. 2 – Fig. 3 3D Model Shots and Fig. 4). With this design, the trailer can be moved by a pickup truck from the factory to the site if one wished to. Some companies use a hot shot service to tow the unit to the site which can reduce transport cost and there is no need to load the unit on a flatbed or cost to unload the unit once at site. The platform is designed to raise up and down for transport via use of a hydraulic system. The platform, with built on safety cage, rotates around from the stored position for transport, to the rail car and locks into positon for use. This can all be done by one person. The trailer also has hose storage racks and a tool box for fittings etc… needed to connect the hoses to the rail car/trucks for loading/unloading, all designed for over the road transport. When it’s time to move the unit to another site, the platform is rotated around, lowered down and secured into position. Hoses are stored and a truck can then tow the unit to another site. This solution greatly reduces the cost to ship, mobilize and re-mobile the unit from site to site.

Fig. 2 Transloader in Working Position

Transloader Ready for Towing

Fig. 3 Transloader Ready for Towing

Many companies can build things. S&S solves problems, improves operations and helps drive down cost by utilizing a team of experts with varied industry experience and knowledge. If are seeking better solution that save time and money, give S&S Technical a call and see how we can help.

Transloader Ready for Towing-2

Give S&S Technical a call today at (678) 250-9507 for help with Trailer Mounted Mobile Transloading for your upcoming project or facility.

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