The most Efficient Grabs to Handle different types of Biomass like Wood Chips

Clamshell grab

biomass (wooden pellets)Biomass is a relatively new type of cargo. The definition of biomass is still prone to the discussion and many terminal operators are facing challenges when this cargo arrives at their terminal.

There is a great variety in the appearance of biomass, varying from very easy to handle wood pellets to compacted and fermented wood chips, to undefined “forest products”.

Examples of dry bulk biomass cargo materials:

  • Wood Pellets
  • Wood Chips
  • Agricultural Residues (e.g., corn stover, wheat straw)
  • Olive Pits
  • Palm Kernel Shells
  • Sunflower Husks
  • Miscanthus
  • Switchgrass

Loading and unloading biomass requires a different way of thinking:

  • Production in cubic meters instead of tonnes
  • Covered storage
  • Dedicated conveyor systems
  • Minimising product degradation, especially important when handling wood pellets
  • Specific storage and climate control to prevent combustion/gas emission

The choice of grab type is of significant influence on your productivity, unloading process and possible savings on the use of expensive trimming equipment. Most important, however: enhanced safety of your people; less trimming equipment in the hold, means improved safety for your people.

The best wood pellets grab

For handling Wood Pellets, the Nemag clamshell grab will be the preferred choice: environmentally friendly and closed shells with high payload and low deadweight will do the job perfectly.

clamshell wood pellets (Large)

The best grab for loading and unloading wood chips

For handling wood chips the NEMAG Orange Peel Grab (Cactus grab) can be chosen. This will however also lead to relatively high trimming costs during the intermediate and final stage of unloading. Cactus grabs of up to 55 cbm have been supplied and are in operation.

Orange Peel Grab with wooden chips

Unloading biomass with Orange Peel grab


Most efficient grab for biomass

To cut on trimming costs, the NEMAG Scissors grab is the most ideal choice; efficient unloading though the ship hardly without the use of expensive trimming equipment. Scissors grabs of 60 cbm are in operation to full satisfaction.

Free digging wood chips to unload ship
Cleaning up wooden chips in ship
Free digging wood chips with scissors grab
Unloading biomass ship with scissors grab



We have experience in handling biomass and are happy to inform you on available solutions for your specific situation.

Feel free to contact us or book a meeting.

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If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
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+31 111 418 900

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Compare the grab glossary

Crane capacityIs the Safe Working Load of your crane in tons in grab duty, i.e. the total sum of grab dead weight and payload.

PayloadIs the nett load of cargo in the grab. Because it’s linked with the grab weight it will be filled in automatically.

Grab weightIs the Dead weight of your existing grab. Not sure? Check your grab manual, CE declaration, or on the ID plate on your grab.

Grab rope withdrawal lengthIs the length of the closing rope which needs to be pulled out in order to close the grab (not to confuse with the total reeved in grab rope length).

Not sure about the numbers?Check the grab manual. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Riny Stoutjesdijk
Sales manager

+31 (0)653109307