Conference on Bulk Port Safety Highlights Risks, New Technologies

Screenshot of ATBO webinar discussing bulk terminal risks

A recent online conference hosted by the Freeport of Riga focused on safety and risk management at bulk ports around the world. Several expert speakers covered a range of critical topics to help bulk port operators understand and address key safety challenges.

Managing Climate Change and Cargo Risks

The opening presentation from the TT Club highlighted risks that are increasing due to climate change, such as more frequent storms that can damage port infrastructure and disrupt operations. The speaker also discussed the growing problem of abandoned cargo and the steps ports can take to spot potential issues early.

Preventing Fatalities in Confined Spaces

Confined spaces at ports lead to many avoidable deaths each year. The conference reviewed the persistent dangers of things like oxygen depletion in confined spaces and stressed the need for proper training, planning, and continuous vigilance by port operators.

Advanced Dust Control Technologies

Expert researchers presented new dust suppression technologies tailored to precisely target airborne dust particles generated during bulk loading and unloading activities. These intelligent systems can significantly reduce dust emissions and improve safety compared to traditional water sprays or cannons.

Explosion and Fire Risks in Grain and Biomass

The extreme explosion risks from combustible dust accumulation were covered for ports handling commodities like grain and wood pellets. The vital need for rigorous housekeeping to control dust levels was emphasized, given that just 1 mm of dust on floors can fuel devastating secondary explosions.

Preventing Ammonium Nitrate Disasters

The conference highlighted the catastrophic dangers of unwanted ammonium nitrate detonations, as tragically seen in Beirut. Key precautions include avoiding any chance of fire exposure near storage areas and restricting access to qualified personnel only.


Overall, the conference demonstrated the need for advanced risk assessment and technologies to protect people and property at high-risk facilities like bulk ports. Continued sharing of expertise and vigilance against complacency are vital for making progress on safety.

Peregrine Storrs-Fox

Risk Management Director

Manos Karanikolas

TT Club