Wollongong-based firm, SOTO Consulting Group has been providing its engineering design expertise on an infrastructure renewal project at the Port Kembla harbour. The new multi-user grain handling facility at Port Kembla will allow increased export trade from the region.

SOTO Consulting Managing Director Mr Frank Soto emphasised how their company successes were the product of their regional and national experience coupled with a strong belief in the capabilities of local industrial businesses.

SOTO’s engineering design team contributed to the newly constructed Holcim cement grinding plant at the Port; the company is now involved in a modern grain handling construction project at the same location.

According to Mr Soto, the benchmark project is great for the local economy and offers high potential for expanding the market for the local skills base.

The project includes an upgrade to Berth 103 in the inner-harbour, construction of new grain bulk storage and rail discharge facilities, conveyors and a mobile ship loader. Port Kembla was chosen as the preferred location for this type of facility because it has a strategic location, access to deep water, and the preparedness of the local authority to invest in the project.

SOTO assisted NSW company Kotzur with specialist design engineering skills. Kotzur fabricates grain-loading and handling equipment including climate controlled stainless steel silos for storage of processed food products, grain, plastics and polymers, lime and soda ash for mining, industrial powders, and defence applications.

The project is being executed under the banner of Quattro Project Engineering, which appointed Kerman Contracting for site preparation and construction works, and train and ship loaders. Kerman was responsible for engaging Kotzur.

The export terminal development comprises of a road receival hopper, a rail receiving facility, an elevated overland in-loading conveyor system, eight flat-bottom and nine smaller, conical bottom silos at the grain storage area, bucket elevators and conveyors for materials handling, ship loading conveyor and batch weighing system, weighbridge and control buildings.

As the local engineering specialist, SOTO is providing an important and strategic link by making available their personnel as well as by having the intimate compliance knowledge and contacts to provide real value to the new asset.

SOTO is providing structural and mechanical engineering support for Kotzur and professional advice to Kerman. In addition to having an important support role in the structural engineering and design work on the major tower structure for bucket elevators, SOTO’s engineers are also closely involved in the connecting structures and many of the other engineering tasks that rank as some of the most difficult and challenging in the project.

SOTO placed an engineer at Kotzur’s premises in Walla Walla, NSW to fast-track fabrication by synching it to the engineering requirements to eliminate any potential for delays. SOTO’s involvement in the project is regarded by third parties as critical input advising about local conditions, structural complexities, compliance and mechanical elements of the plant.

Port Kembla is recognised as a strategic location with good rail access and deep water for Panamax vessels. The facility is expected to provide better competition along the grain supply chain and benefit significantly the grain-growing regions of New South Wales. At capacity it will handle more than 1.3 million tonnes of export grain per annum as well as import cargo.

SOTO Consulting Engineers has been delivering advanced design solutions, engineering services and successful project outcomes to heavy industrial, agribusiness and mineral resource clients for over sixteen years.