The north harbour (“Landeshafen Nord”) is very important for BASF’s supply of raw materials. Since 1976 it has been a terminal for combustible fluids such as naphtha, methanol and compressed liquefied gases. More than 2.6 million tonnes of goods are handled here each year.
The port serves BASF mainly for its supply of raw materials: Around 85% of the goods handled comprises input substances supplied by ship; only 15% of the goods leave the port. Almost all of the products transferred here are delivered directly from ships via pipework into the production plants or into the neighbouring tank farm. Only a limited amount is pumped from ships into tankers and forwarded by road.
An average of seven ships a day moor at the 140,000 m² dock. Following the intake, a sample of the load is taken and analysed in the harbour laboratory. After the goods have been approved by the harbour laboratory and tank farm, unloading can begin.
The ship’s berths for combustible fluids and compressed gases are arranged separately. The minimum distance between ships during transfer in the harbour is 10 m in the case of combustible fluids and 50 m in the case of compressed gases.
BASF employees monitor the freight and cargo handling using ten movable cameras twenty-four hours a day. If, despite all care in loading and unloading, products find their way into the port basin or if other problems occur, various safety measures are initiated immediately from the control station.
One important safety feature is the compressed air oil booms, which are installed at the entrance to the port basin in the Rhine and around every fluid transfer point and every ship. The boom is a perforated pipe installed on the floor of the harbour through which compressed air can be passed. As soon as the boom is activated, the air rises from the bottom and raises the water level slightly. This creates a barrier on the surface of the water that prevents out-flowing substances from spreading out in the port basin and entering the Rhine.
Overall, BASF processes over 40% of its total goods handling at Ludwigshafen using riverboats. In addition to the north harbour, BASF has another two harbours; the river harbour for fire resistant fluids and solids on the west bank of the Rhine and the harbour at Friesenheim island for combustible fluids and compressed gases.