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Roll On Roll Off Platform

Location: Baltimore, Maryland Client: Maryland Port Administration

JMT designed a new platform structure that greatly improved the unloading efficiency for ships at the Port of Baltimore.

The Port of Baltimore is a leader in imported forest products. To help the Port maintain its competitive advantage, JMT designed a new Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) platform at the South Locust Point Marine Terminal (SLPMT) on the Patapsco River.  The platform allows specially-designed stern ramp ships to dock adjacent to the existing bulkhead and lower the stern ramp directly onto the platform. Yard Master tractors pulling "MAFI" trailers enter the ship's hull via the stern ramp to retrieve 6,000 pound rolls of paper. Prior to the completion of the RORO platform, cranes were used for unloading two or four rolls at a time, which was time-consuming and not cost-effective. The addition of the RORO platform has doubled paper unloading productivity and reduced overall cargo damage as a result of less handling.

The complexity of this project resulted from time constraints and the need for coordination with stakeholders. The SLPMT was an operating terminal with ships calling and cargo constantly being moved. There could be no interruptions to the maritime business.

The new platform was designed to withstand the berthing impact and mooring forces of an 18,000 metric ton vessel. With this in mind, construction of the 92-foot by 110-foot RORO platform required underwater inspection of the existing adjacent 35 year old wharf and sheet pile bulkhead. Utilizing the inspection data and available existing plans, JMT performed structural capacity analysis of the existing wharf and sheet pile bulkhead to verify its ability to support the proposed loads, determining that remedial underwater structural repairs were required.

The resulting platform design consisted of 92 twenty-inch square pre-stressed concrete piles supporting a twenty-inch cast-in-place slab. Approximately 240,000 pounds of reinforcement steel and 830 cubic yards of cast-in-place concrete were required to construct the platform. The design was completed using STADD-PRO finite element analysis software to model the flat plate supported on piles.

To meet the tenant lease requirements and stay on schedule, design documents had to be completed on a fast-track basis. JMT completed all inspections, advertisement documents and permits within six months.  To the satisfaction of all involved, the RORO Platform was completed and ready for use an entire week ahead of the first anticipated ship.

The addition of the RORO Platform to the Port of Baltimore's South Locust Point Marine Terminal increases the tonnage handled through the terminal and returns the calling vessels to sea in a more expeditious time frame. This project allows the Port of Baltimore to remain one of the largest handling facilities on the East Coast for imported forest products.

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