The BeiHai vessel, which was sailing from the port of Mariupol (Ukraine) to ports in the European Union, has been loaded with an additional 8,000 tons of steel sheets in open sea in an offshore area of the Black Sea for the first time. The vessel’s total load was 33,000 tons of metal products, the press service of the Metinvest steel and mining group announced.

"The Metinvest group has become the first on the world market to assume responsibility for additional loading of vessels in a roadstead, during which the probability of damage to both cargoes and vessels is sufficiently high. We - a team of specialists from Metinvest, Transship, and Portinvest - prepared for this project meticulously. We passed the first test with top marks thanks to our well-coordinated joint efforts," said Metinvest Group’s Logistics Director Olha Ovchinnikova.

"Following this successful loading, Transship has become the undisputed market leader in provision of services involving delivery and loading on the roads," said Oleksandr Smirnov, the general director of Portinvest Holding.

The cargo was transshipped by Afina, the Transship company's unique transshipment facility that has already proved to be excellent at loading additional iron-ore concentrate onto Capesize vessels in roadsteads and loading additional pig iron onto Panamax and Supramax vessels in the offshore areas of the Black Sea.

According to Ovchinnikova, increasing shiploads through transshipment in roadsteads allows significant reduction of transportation costs and freight rates: "The economic impact is about USD 2,500 per ton. For a company, this represents a significant increase in the competitiveness of its products and an opportunity to tap into new markets."

Specialists from Portinvest Holding coordinate the loading of steel sheets, iron-ore concentrate, and pig iron in roadsteads.

"The loading of rolled steel products, especially sheets, is a complex and demanding technological process that dock workers perform in ports," said Smirnov. "It is much more difficult to do this in the open sea due to several natural and technological constraints, such as the wind, ocean swell, the restriction of space by the dimensions of cargo holds, and the need to use auxiliary equipment and devices for cargo operations and cargo fastening. We are currently analyzing the results of this loading operation to determine the additional reserves that can be created through improvement of cargo-loading processes and operations both in the roadstead and in ports."

As reported, the Metinvest group, together with the companies Transship and Portinvest Logistic, performed transshipment of pig iron (23,000 tons) in a roadstead on the Black Sea for the first time on the market in April 2014.