Barge Transshipments


Increased demand for raw materials has prompted the need to access mines which are located in rugged inland regions accessible only by shallow river networks. It is not feasible to transport by land large quantities of cargo from these inland mines to distant sea ports and it is not possible for bulk carriers to approach the inland ports. Barge transshipment systems provide a very cost effective solution to this problem; cargo is transported by land to a nearby shallow river/sea port and barges are deployed to carry the cargo from the shallow water port to large ports or offshore floating transshipment facilities.

A barge transshipment system is the most important and sophisticated component of its supply chain network. It is usually the bottle neck and it must be carefully analyzed, designed and implemented. This requires sophisticated trade-off analysis and extensive simulations with all possible scenarios (different weather conditions, barge sizes, port logistics equipment, etc.).


Due to increased competition, industrial logistics providers need to design innovative and sophisticated barge transshipment systems. They need to ensure maximum throughput while keeping fixed and operational costs minimum. They are also forced to pay stiff penalties if minimum performance levels are not met.

Most industrial logistics companies do the work of barge cycle analysis manually or they use in house/third party simulation tools. To cope with complexities, using manual analysis planners need to oversimplify the analysis model. On the other hand, classical simulation tools are too rigid and they are not “intelligent” enough. It takes a lot of time to implement the model in such tools. These models usually only accept input and calculate the results. They do not “cleverly” offer solutions or continuously optimize the system performance with changing scenarios.

The planning effort does not end at the analysis. Once the company is rewarded with a contract to build the proposed system, this system needs a detailed design and implementation. Its operations need to be planned and scheduled carefully to ensure an optimum barge cycle. Unfortunately, this day-to-day scheduling is also done manually (or not done at all) which results in higher operational costs and inferior throughput compared to the optimum potential of the system.


ICRON Technologies has developed tools and mathematical models that support the optimization of the supply chain network on every level: from supply chain network analysis and design to advanced planning and scheduling of daily operations.

ICRON Technologies helps industrial logistic companies in the analysis phase of a barge transshipment system in many ways. It enables a 100% fit Unified planning across the total supply chain. Using its Start Small Scale Fast approach it allows departments, enterprises and yet the total supply chain to do What if analysis and Scenario Planning.


ICRON gives decision makers increased control and visibility across the entire supply chain for an overview of the entire supply network so that areas of potential improvement can be identified and realized. Next to financial benefits such as:

70-90% reduction in planning cycle time;
15-30% improvement in forecast accuracy (collaboration and forecasting);
10-20% reduction in excess inventory (improved forecasting);
25-30% reduction in stock-outs (high customer service)

ICRON platform gives companies in the Barge Transshipments industry many other benefits such as:

  • Ensure maximum throughput while keeping costs minimum
    • Ensure that customer requirements are achievable with proposed system
  • Avoid unnecessary equipment investment
  • Avoid underinvestment and future penalty payments
  • Identify and solve bottlenecks
  • Execute What-if analysis to compare different transportation methods
  • Create deterministic and/or simulations for forecasted demand, weather conditions, equipment failures, etc.
  • Perform investment analysis on planned changes
  • Significantly shorten analysis and design phase of the projects

ICRON can also help industrial logistic companies to perform planning and scheduling of an existing barge transshipment system the several ways:

  • Planning, scheduling of day-to-day operations
  • Creating barge cycle schedules that maximize the daily throughput
  • Creating barge cycle schedules that minimize the costs (i.e. fuel costs, manpower costs, lease costs)
  • Forecast mid- and long-term resource requirements related to forecasted demand changes and weather conditions

100% fit: Using the Distributed Planning Concept it allows a 100% fit since all stakeholders will be able to contribute and participate in the Company Planning. It certainly also allows Scenario Planning up to the greatest granularity.

Unified Planning: In the Barge transshipments Industry it is extremely important to have an overview of all departments and external forces when planning. Only with a 100% Unified Planning one can optimize strategy to execution.

Distributed Planning: Making departmental planning optimization and yet being able to link and coordinate all of these planning environments in to one integrated planning using all constraints. This is a unique and nowhere to be found capability of the ICRON Distributed Planning Solution.

Continuous Optimization: ICRON helps you in creating the right planning and decision making but also in managing the disruptions during the execution of the planned such as: change in routing, availability of fleet, availability of personnel etc.

Visibility and Control: Enhanced Supply Chain Visibility improves industry wide collaboration. This leading to cost reductions and improved customer responsiveness.