87 metre transhipment vessel

Brand New Transhipment Vessel for Farmers at Lucky Bay Grain Port

The new vessel dubbed “Lucky Eyre” was specially designed by Sea Transport Solutions (partnering with T-Ports), who are both proud and excited to see the final build complete and ready to be fitted in Shanghai with a material handling system, before setting sail for South Australia.

artist rendering lucky bay port

Lucky Bay Port Development Breakthrough for EP Growers

artist rendering lucky bay port

An artist’s impression of how the new port and storage facility will look at Lucky Bay. (Supplied: T-Ports)

South Australia is expected to have its very first farmer and private equity partnership port built and in operation for the 2018-2019 grain harvest. The port has been proposed to be built at Lucky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula and will provide an alternative grain storage and export option for local Australian growers.

These growers will acquire equity in the port over the next seven years and are expected to save from $5.00 – $20.00 per tonne in transporting grain from farm to port, depending on their proximity to Lucky Bay.

After last year’s expression of interest phase where 120 EP grain growers gave their support for the new port, the new $115 million infrastructure and supply chain project was officially finalised this past week and on-ground works are due to begin immediately.

The key features of the Lucky Bay development include:

  • The Lucky Bay Port Facility – This is a shallow harbour port located in the upper Eyre Peninsula grain catchment zone.
  • Transhipment Vessel – The port will have a cutting-edge shallow draft transhipment vessel, with an approximate capacity of 3,400 tonnes, that will allow Panamax vessels to be loaded within the five-day industry standard. This new vessel, designed by the naval architects at Sea Transport Solutions – specialists in transhipment vessel design and operation, is currently under construction in China.
  • Grain Storage Facilities – New storage facilities located at the port will have an approximate capacity of 430,000 tonnes.
  • Up-country storage at Lock – Storage capacity of 150,000 tonnes.

The development of the new port has been a joint venture between Duxton Asset Management, Inheritance Capital Asset Management (ICAM) and Sea Transport Solutions. This joint venture has resulted a new company dubbed ‘T-Ports’, an abbreviation of transhipment ports, that will act as the operating entity following settlement.

T-Ports’ Chairman Rob Champan stated that the company’s ports infrastructure strategy focuses on establishing a more financially feasible ports model. This includes providing both shallow water ports with a lower build cost and smaller environmental impact requiring modest throughput and providing sound financial returns to investors.

The ports will be multi-user and multi-commodity transhipment ports, with the first at Lucky Bay and a second under investigation for the Yorke Peninsula.

“South Australia is in need of new export infrastructure in order to improve agricultural economics and allow development of its mining assets in an increasingly competitive world environment,” Said Mr. Champman.

“While this port development is based on agricultural product, it can readily expand to allow exports of local minerals and T-Ports will be pursuing opportunities to further diversify and grow the commodity base”.

lucky bay transhipment port finalised

Click image to enlarge

Lucky Bay grain port to be open by harvest

Click image to enlarge.

T-Ports’ CEO Keiran Carvill says that clear direction from growers has been to increase supply chain efficiency which we will achieve through Lucky Bay as a low capital expenditure and flexible port close to the product origin.

“This investment innovates upon the traditional port model and almost monopolistic grain supply chain in South Australia through proven transhipping technology that has been utilised in other industries for the past 20 years,” said Mr Carvill.

“The lower build cost and lower environmental footprint compared with traditional export port facilities in South Australia has made the financial feasibility of the investment easier to attain with a lower throughput requirement from growers.”

“This model means growers can access multiple small ports that can load vessels up to and including cape size, allowing product to be exported profitably, which will prove a great benefit to EP growers and South Australia.”

Andrew Polkinghorne, Lock grain grower and T-Ports Board Member, stated that the Lucky Bay development has been the breakthrough that man EP growers were waiting for in the supply competition.

“While there have been a number of projects flagged for EP, Lucky Bay is a reality, it is funded and work is starting. The benefits of this project will flow through to farming families, and their local communities, as they secure equity in T-Ports and, as a result, a share of the profits of storing and shipping their grain.”

“EP growers who did not respond during the EOI period can still be involved. A retail fund will be set-up before June 2018 that gives growers the opportunity to have some cash ownership in the development and either become involved or further increase their support.”

“It’s a great outcome for EP growers, the investors who supported it and the state as a whole.”

Mangalo farmer Isaac Gill, whose farm is approximately 60 kilometers from Lucky Bay, agreed stating that the Lucky Bay development will help save growers a lot of money in the long run.

“It’s fantastic because we are going to save off our bottom line extra freight which we have been doing down to Port Lincoln and we often can’t deliver straight to port at harvest time… now we will be able to deliver it straight off the header, straight out of the paddock and straight to port and it could be saving us around $15.00 a tonne” says Gill.

Sea Transport Solutions is excited to be a contributor to the Lucky Bay port development and will publish further information on its progress as it becomes available. For more information on Sea Transport’s transhipment vessel design, management and feasibility services please click here or call our head office on +61 7 5529 5777.

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Sea Transport Announces New CEO

aurora ferry design

Starting off the New Year in 2018, Sea Transport Solutions welcomes our newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Ross Ballantyne.

Ross brings with him a Master Class IV coastal ticket, a BEng (Hons) in Naval Architecture from AMC in Tasmania and has made invaluable contributions to STS in his seventeen (17) years with our company.

Sea Transport Solutions has been instrumental in contributing innovative and durable vessel designs for transhipping on a global scale and we will continue in doing so under the direction of Mr Ballantyne who has worked on both national and international projects.

With ship designs and services sold to forty-seven countries already and new contracts being secured on a regular basis, including the most recent projects in South Australia, Queensland, and Far North Queensland, our team is anticipating another exciting and successful year ahead.

In closing we wish to acknowledge and thank Dr Stuart Ballantyne for his contribution to Sea Transport. Stuart recently retired from the CEO position and will remain with our company as Chairman of Sea Transport.  

Pacific Titan Tug Vessel

Utility Tug, Pacific Titan, Adapted for Australian Service

STS Designed Pacific Titan

The East Coast Maritime (ECM) Group of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia has acquired a brand new 31-tonne bollard pull, shallow draft, twin screw utility tug, dubbed the Pacific Titan.

The design for the new tug was developed by Sea Transport Solutions with the initial concept inspired by European work boats – with the exception of a hull that is better suited to offshore conditions.

ECM’s operations manager, Lindsay Toy, states that “She (the Pacific Titan) features several unique design elements to maximise her performance when bed levelling, which is something we do plenty of.”

With an overall length of 25.8 metres, a beam of 9.1 metres and a draft of 2.6 metres, the Pacific Titan is powered by a pair of Yanmar IMO Tier II diesel engines – making it capable of reaching up to 12.7 knots. A certified bollard pull of 31.6 tonnes, provides additional maneuverability, with the tug also equipped with a 2-tonne Nakashima bow thruster. Designed for plough dredging, dredging support, barge handling and towing due it’s anchor handling capabilities, this impressive vessel also features:

  • Fully air-conditioned and heated crew quarters
  • 5 single cabins with individual wash basins
  • Heated shower compartments
  • A combined galley and mess
  • Satellite compass
  • Two radars
  • AIS
  • Sounder
  • Autopilot
  • VHF
  • MF/HF
  • Deck machinery
  • Heila crane capable of lifting 12.5 tonnes at 10m
  • Timber clad decking
  • Double drum HES Australia winch
  • Dynamic tugger and plough winches
  • Stern roller
  • HES anchor windlasses
  • WK Hydraulics towing pin
  • 30-tonne Mampaey towing hook

The Pacifc Titan will be serving Australia’s eastern coastline from operation bases at Gladstone and Brisbane.

Photo Credit: East Coast Maritime








transhipment port south australia

New Transhipping Port | Upper Eyre Peninsula

transhipment grain port

South Australian grain farmers have been given more export options thanks to a new purpose-built grain transhipping port in Lucky Bay, Upper Eyre Peninsula that is expected to be in full operation for the 2017 harvest. This has been made possible thanks to the hard work of our team at Sea Transport Solutions.

The Lucky Bay ferry harbour has been expanded to allow bulk grain to be filled on small container ships before being transported to larger ships and exported.

Sea Transport’s new port offers new export options for farmers with Viterra, a Canadian grain handling business, holding current control over the seven ports in South Australia.

“Farmer’s definitely want competition, they do not want to be dominated by one part…they lost control through deregulation when the co-op was sold, the bulk handling systems in South Australia, and this is about bringing some further competition into storage and handling to the state”

lucky bay south australia

Lucky Bay, SA

This new port is owned by Spencer Gulf Trust who has been working with Sea Transport Solutions to establish innovative and economic transhipping technology at Lucky Bay, which has been used elsewhere to transport minerals within the northern regions of Australia.

“It has the ability to be able to maximise shallow waters, so it is about building export facilities closer to where the resource is produced, and being able to reduce some of the supply chain costs,” said STS who explained that the on land set up would be similar to existing ports; however the actual loading of the large export vessels would take place
at sea.

“They use seagoing vessels that are totally enclosed and have their own discharge booms, which reach over the side of the ship’s hatch and then discharges straight into the hull.”

In the future this same technology could be utilised in Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula.

“We see the opportunity to have a transhipping site on both sides of the gulf and then maximise the use of these transhipping vessels, because we can relocate those vessels within an hour and a half from one side of the gulf to the other.”

Sea Transport Solutions is very excited to see the results of this new port in the coming years and is hopeful that our innovative transhipment methods can be adopted in more regions within Australia and around the world.



Passion Catamaran Stuart Ballantyne

A ‘Passion’ for Catamaran Design

Stuart Ballantyne has a passion for sea vessels, so much so that he named his 56 foot catamaran after it.  ‘Passion’ is an innovative twist on the traditional catamaran which was designed over 15 years ago by Sea Transport Solutions and is referred to as a Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) as opposed to a catamaran.

Passion Catamaran Stuart Ballantyne

The vessel has many appealing features for those that appreciate the cruising style of a catamaran including:

  • A 7.4 metre beam with a draft of 1.0 metres.
  • Less pitching, greater hull efficiencies and better handling through its bulbous bow design.
  • A wide-open throttle comfortable for 23.5 knots or 44 km/hr.
  • Yanmar 6LPA-STP2 engines.
  • Modest fuel consumption of 22.5 litres per engine per hour and 1000 nautical mile cruise range (at cruise speed of 18 knots).
  • 4000 litres of fuel on board
  • Built on alloy and fiberglass.
  • Incorporation of motor and motor sailing configurations.

With its Gold Coast design through Sea Transport Solutions, ‘Passion’ is setting the precedent when it comes to enhancing and diversifying the capabilities of the build and structure of the traditional catamaran.

yanmar engine catamaran

Yanmar Engines Offer the Perfect Fit

yanmar engine catamaranWhen developing a new catamaran vessel that was already pushing the boundaries in design, it was imperative that the engines chosen to power the vessel were of the highest in quality and performance.

Stuart Ballantyne, CEO of Sea Transport Solutions – the designers of the SWATH catamaran ‘Passion’, was extremely specific in the capabilities of the chosen engines that would be used in the vessel and after a lot of research, decided on Yanmar.

Designed and manufactured in Japan, Yanmar Co. Ltd was founded over 105 years ago with their success in producing reliable and quality products such as heavy equipment, watercraft, diesel engines and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Yanmar engines that were inserted into vessel were the 6LPA-STP2 and provided the required performance and preferred fuel consumption for the 17 metre catamaran that was designed on the Gold Coast at STS.


With the Yanmar engines ticking over at 2800rpm with the impressive fuel consumption of 22.5 litres per engine per hour at the comfortable cruise speed of 18 knots 22.5 litres, the engines can travel 23.5 knots with no compromise to performance.

transhipment commodities

Sea Transport in the Australian Journal of Mining

Sea Transport Solutions has been highlighted in the Australian Journal of Mining for our contribution to Australia’s transhipment activity within the mining industry.

Our Managing Director Stuart Ballantyne, gave an interview that outlines the latest capabilities and operations of STS design, transhipment vessels and services.

transhipment commodities

Excerpt from Australian Journal of Mining | July – August 2011

“Sea Transport has 20 years of experience in bulk feeders and self-dischargers. In 1991 Sea Transport designed the world’s first no ballast bulk carrier Deepwater … In 2008, the Sea Transport 5,200 dwt self-discharging barge Wunma [for MMG’s Century mine] was the only bulk carrier abandoned in a cyclone that actually survived.”

The transshipment system offered within Australia from Sea Transport has a comparably short lead time, Ballantyne states “a feeder barge you can get in 11 months” and it takes “up to 16 months” to build a floating harbour transshipper (FHT).

“The FHT comes in Handymax, Supramax and Capesize versions. The Handymax FHT has 30,000 tonnes of storage and capacity of 7mtpa; the Panamax size 50,000 tonnes storage and 12mtpa capacity; the Capesize 100,000 tonnes storage and 20mtpa.”

Like any transhipment system, the first contact with product is on land. Sea Transport Solutions uses a negative pressure shed, which is sized between 5-10,000 tonnes. A wet dock is attached, which includes patented stern loading vessels with capacities ranging from 3,000-6,000 tonnes. Loading vessels are shallow draft, which means the harbour required to house the terminal can be shallow with four metres depth.

Ballantyne described the loading process:

  • 1) Feeder vessels, of 2,000 to 6,000 tonne capacity,
  • 2) Back into the shed for loading;
  • 3) Sail out to the FHT,
  • 4) Return back into a reclaimer system inside it, which strips the feeders.

“If there is no bulk carrier alongside it stacks into the FHT. If the ship is there, the product goes directly from the feeder into the bulk carrier.” Sea Transport’s transhipper loads the bulk carrier with grabs.

“About 60% of the export cargo is actually sitting there, at the [FHT]… so the trick is to feed another 40% during the 3-4 day load out. That is how we optimise the size and number of feeders, so that these feeders go 24/7, backwards and forwards feeding just as a truck or a train would.”

Stuart Ballantyne | Managing Director (STS)

Ballantyne explains that Sea Transport’s system can operate in seas that are often deemed too rough for transhipping. “10 days of model tests were carried out at the Australian Maritime College during November 2010 confirming that 4.5 metre significant wave heights can be handled without stopping the feeder vessel operations, whereas two metres is the normal maximum limit. The cost of a FHT and feeders and small shore shed works out about 20-25% of a fixed jetty installation. But the fixed installations now have to place a bond to have them removed at the end of the mine life, which could add 30% as a contingent liability.”