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Marine Asset Management

Case Study 

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Cost of Corrosion 

Introduction
Corrosion is a significant challenge in marine asset management, posing substantial financial and operational risks. Marine environments are particularly aggressive due to the constant exposure to saltwater, humidity, and varying temperatures. Effective corrosion management is critical to prolonging the lifespan of assets, ensuring safety, and maintaining operational efficiency. This case study demonstrates how sound management, planning and use of data can save businesses time and money, reducing the impact of maintenance on operations.

Risk management in corrosion control 

Effective risk management is essential in addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by corrosion. This involves identifying potential corrosion risks, assessing their impact, and implementing strategies to mitigate these risks. The goal is to ensure that assets remain serviceable and safe throughout their operational life at the lowest overall cost.

This is done through:

  • Identification and Assessment: Regular inspections and monitoring are crucial. Advanced techniques such as ultrasonic and eddy current testing, radiography and corrosion mapping help with the early detection of corrosion.

  • Preventive Maintenance: Implementing preventive measures such as cathodic protection, coating systems and wraps to reduce the rate of corrosion.

  • Predictive Analytics: Leveraging data analytics, predictive modelling and experience to forecast potential corrosion issues before they manifest. By analysing historical data and environmental conditions, high risk areas of corrosion can be prioritised during inspection and maintenance.

  • Training and Awareness: Ensuring that the asset owner understands the risk corrosion poses to the asset, and that inspection and prevention techniques is vital.

Example 1:

Iron Ore Export Wharves

One example of Paemac’s recent clients includes the owner and operator of iron ore export wharves
in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. These structures are exposed to severe offshore sea and

weather conditions leading to accelerated corrosion rates in any areas of the structure that aren’t
appropriately protected. Maintenance and repair of these structures is complex due to: 

1. Size: The scale of these structures means that an intensive effort is required to understand the current condition, the rate of degradation and the relative structural importance of the steel members making up the structure.

 

2. Access: These wharves typically consist of a variety of different structures which were added over time to increase output capacity or keep pace with the ever-increasing size of bulk vessels and weren’t always designed with access for maintenance in mind. Remedial works therefore need to consider the type of repair when selecting appropriate access methods.

 

3. Operations: Remediation projects are made complex through the various interfaces with shipping and iron ore outloading operations. Closing a berth, shiploader or conveyor for remedial works has significant cost implications and should be aligned with other routine maintenance where possible.

4. Environment: The Pilbara region in which these wharves are located has some of the largest.

​5. Productivity: The site is remote, and therefore factors such as limited accommodation, long travel time, and high tidal range meant only a few hours of a 12 or 14 hour shift are available for productive work.

Incorporating these complexities into dynamic cost and schedule models allowed Paemac understand
the best execution strategy for achieving the client’s goals: maintain the assets in usable condition
indefinitely, minimise any down time to maintenance and ensure works are completed safely. In doing
so, Paemac was able to present a solution that reduced overall project cost by 18%, duration by 13%
and impact on operations by 45%.

Example 2: Riverside Infrastructure

Another client was the owner of a small hospitality business on a riverside wharf. Previous inspections
had indicated extensive corrosion leading to potential structural issues if not addressed. The owner approached Paemac to manage the process of updating the inspection, analysing the present-day condition data, development of a strategy for identifying and targeting critical repairs, and presenting an execution model based on minimising the cost and impact to the business.

By understanding the client’s needs and priorities and balancing these against the short term
maintenance needs of the structure, Paemac was able to present a solution that:

  • addressed critical repairs in the short term,

  • controlled the annual expenditure to an appropriate level for the business,

  • minimised short term impact on operations, and

  • ensured the structure remained stable for the foreseeable future.

Image by Zsolt Palatinus

​Conclusion

Corrosion is an unavoidable but manageable challenge in marine asset management. The real cost of corrosion encompasses both the immediate financial implications as well as operational efficiency and safety. Risk management plays a crucial role in mitigating these impacts, ensuring that assets remain serviceable throughout their intended lifespan.

By engaging Paemac, the clients were able to focus on business as usual, increasing business profitability and sustainability while significantly reducing the costs and risk associated with corrosion.

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Get in touch with our civil, marine and infrastructure consultants today to find out more.

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