Hi-Tech Scales, Conveyor System In Place At Port

Loading grain

Loading grain

OSWEGO – The Port of Oswego Authority is now registered for grain export, US department of agriculture federal inspection quality assurance compliance division, according to William Scriber, acting executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority.

Workers prepare the scales for installation.
Workers prepare the scales for installation.

“We now can export grain at maximum quantities,” he said.

The scales are being installed and prepared near the large silos at the Port property.

“Perdue and the Port have joined together and we have very aggressively looked at exporting on larger ships and more ships,” Scriber said. “So in order to do that, Perdue had to get clearance from the US Department of Agriculture to actually bring testing laboratory (in one of the nearby offices) on site and we had to have an accurate scale system …. Have to certify the weights being loaded.”

They’re going to load the ships and go to their final destination point, which will provide higher prices for the soybeans they are selling by eliminating extra steps in the transport process, he explained.

The scale site
The scale site

“What that does is that gives us (more than) triple the amounts of grains. We’re looking at 60,000 metric tons this year, export,” he said. “Last year, we had just about 15,000 MT.”

In order to do that, the Port and Perdue had to invest heavily into a certified scale system that the USDA approved of. Right now they’re installing that certified scale system.

A large depression, resembling an in-ground swimming pool, was constructed. Recently, workers nearby worked on assembling the scale system as the concrete cured.

“Once the scales are set in there, we’re going to have a hi-tech transfer system, data transmission system to the weigh office,” Scriber said. “That system is going to weigh every single ounce of grain, transfer it automatically into our system. The ‘scale track system’ will then be able to print reports and with USDA we’ll be able to certify it.”

There already is a system for railcars. This new system is designed for loading ships quickly.

A closeup view of part of the conveyor unit
A closeup view of part of the conveyor unit

“How this is going to work is the loaders will dump their loads onto a huge conveyor system that feeds directly onto the ship” Scriber said. “Loaders will come up to the scale, it will automatically weigh them and then they’ll dump into the bin and go get another load and repeat. We’ll have maybe three or four loaders going. It will be transferred to the high-speed conveyor right to the ship.”

They can handle about 5,000 MT in eight hours or less; sometimes closer to seven hours.

They anticipate a ship will be at the Port 24 hours while it’s being loaded.

Loading grain
Loading grain

“The conveyor is the second largest one you can buy. This is just not some little farm toy. When the unit is all together, we are the second largest mobile conveyor on the Great Lakes,” Scriber said.

The unit’s price tag is three-quarters of a million dollars. Part was paid by Perdue, part by the Port, he added.

It’s all computerized and operated by remote control.

The conveyor system
The conveyor system

“You can actually tell the rate of speed, the belt speed, what we’re feeding it,” Scriber said. “We’ll be able to pump out a whole ship load of grain in 24 hours or less.”

There is an abundance of soy bean in Central New York and it’s actually better to export them by ship – there’s less carrying cost.

“The less you touch a product, the less expensive it is to transport it. Farmers are planting more soy bean and when this is up and running they’ll be able to plant more and not have to worry about transportation costs,” Scriber said. “They can bring it here and we can load it on ships.”