The importance of maintenance costs | CAPEX VS OPEX

Clamshell grab

The dry bulk terminal operator environment is changing rapidly. There is extreme pressure on handling rates because of the overcapacity in the dry bulk market. This creates a growing concern among shareholders to increase yields from their investments. As at the same time costs for wages, maintenance and energy are rising. At Nemag we want to help our customers to bring these costs down. That is why we researched and managed to bring the maintenance costs down, starting with iron ore grabs.

CAPEX and OPEX, maintenance is the hidden key factor

In this changing environment, the purchase price should be your number one consideration, right? Or… maybe not?
On average, the asset investment costs (CAPEX) of a four-rope grab are around
1 euro cent per tonne of cargo transferred, calculated over the grab’s lifespan. On the other hand, grab maintenance costs, can be as much as 2 to 3 euro cent per tonne of cargo transferred,  calculated over the grab’s lifespan.

NemaX open clamshell grab in action

This means that over time, the total maintenance costs will exceed CAPEX costs. It’s justified to ask what’s more important, CAPEX or operating expenditure (OPEX).

Bulk terminals with clear insight in maintenance costs have concluded that asset investment costs (CAPEX) are of minor importance compared to the total maintenance costs.

Saving maintenance costs

Grabs are always moving – day in, day out, 24 hours a day. There’s no way to prevent normal wear in an iron ore grab all together. But when a grab has fewer moving parts, it requires less maintenance. And that’s precisely what the NemaX® offers! Using a NemaX grab allows you to save significantly on maintenance costs per tonne of cargo transferred.

Clamshell compared to nemaX

The NemaX grab has an exceptionally robust, patented symmetrical layout. The grab design features a number of highly specific design solutions that combine to give the structure high stability and lend the grab a strong structural resistance against impact.

Want to know more about maintenance costs or the NemaX?

Download our whitepaper about maintenance or request the Quick Guide for more information about NemaX's field of applications

Download the NemaX Quick Guide

Alternatively, view our service and maintenance page to learn what you can expect from a service focused grab supplier.


If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
We are happy to help you!

General contact

+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