In the historic city of Ghent, Verstegen has won the prestigious IBJ Award for Best Grab. This was the sixth time Verstegen won the award, at the tenth anniversary edition of the IBJ Awards.

IBJ Awards 2018

‘Years of hard work in optimizing our products and working closely together with existing and new customers’. For Peter Visser, our sales director, there is no doubt that this is the secret for the success of Verstegen Grabs. This week our success was once again underlined in Ghent during the “Night of the Year” for the Maritime Bulk Industry. For the sixth time in ten years Verstegen won the IBJ Award for ‘Best Grab’.

The International Bulk Journal is the world’s leading trade magazine for the dry bulk industry. To stimulate quality and innovation, the IBJ Awards are presented every year to companies that make an extraordinary contribution to the industry. Never before there has been so many entrants as this year edition and that is why we are very proud of this wonderful achievement.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this success. Of course in the first place all our colleagues, who are committed daily to create an even better product, and also our customers. Thanks to their feedback and sometimes unique requests, we are always able to take the next step and stay ahead of our competition.

Six IBJ Awards

Verstegen grabs its sixth IBJ award


Wood chips are often handled with orange peel grabs and many people are still under the assumption that wood chips can only be handled with orange peel grabs. The grabs however are heavy, expensive and unfit for cleaning up operations.
Below the disadvantages of orange peel grabs are described:

  • These grabs have a relatively high deadweight so this reduces productivity;
  • The large circular footprint makes entry to a smaller ship hold difficult or impossible;
  • Orange peel grabs are not suitable for cleaning up;
  • The outflow of wood chips with orange peel grabs is uncontrolled and can cause difficulties with discharging direct into hoppers or trucks;
  • Orange peel grabs are expensive and require more maintenance in comparison with clamshell grabs.

Orange peel grab wood chips


Woodchips are normally difficult to handle. The material is very light but not free flowing and during loading of the ships, the material is often compacted by wheel loaders in order to store as much wood chips as possible in the holds. The combination of these factors, create a lot of digging resistance for the grab.


The first Verstegen grabs for wood chips were delivered in 1986 for a paper factory in the Netherlands. At that time the design of the grab was not optimal, but we learned a lot from studying the operation.

Handling wood chips history

First enclosed grab (4 m3 capacity) for handling wood chips (The Netherlands – 1986)

With designing the new generation grabs for wood chips these factors were taken into consideration. Other important design criteria were a high volume in combination with a relative low dead weight, to make it possible to handle large amounts of wood chips in a fast and efficient way.

Enclosed grab handling wood chips

60 m3 enclosed grab for handling wood chips

The grabs are equipped with removable teeth on the lower knives for a good grip and penetration into the material. The teeth can be easily removed and with normal contact knives the grabs are very suitable for cleaning up operation and also for unloading other light free flowing materials. The shells are designed to minimise digging resistance and compression of the wood chips inside the shells. For the best filling rate the use of an excavator for loosening and collecting the material is recommended.

Over the years the grab model has evolved and in total more than fifty Verstegen
‘high volume clamshell grabs’ have been delivered for biomass.

50 m3 enclosed grab for handling wood chips. Clamshell grab with removable teeth.


We are almost at the end of 2017, a year which brought us a lot of changes in the bulk industry. This time many changes, although on the cautious side, offer a positive perspective. The overall expectations for 2018 are positive in terms of growth and investment climate. New projects are developed and old projects are started up again.
This is also shown by the development of the Baltic Dry Index, which has risen up to 1700 points by the end of November this year.

Development Baltic Dry Index 2018

We are proud to invite you to the TOC Europe, which will be held in Amsterdam this year form 27 – 29 June. You will find us at stand nr.: C82.


We at Verstegen are always looking for the optimal bulk handling solution together with our customers. This is the background of our slogan “TOGETHER WE GRAB MORE”. Our customers bring in the experience with numerous different operations and we design the optimal grab with the most suitable properties. Trade fairs like the TOC are an excellent opportunity to meet our customers and exchange experiences and to make new contacts. Please take the time to visit our booth when you are at the TOC. If you are not able to attend you are more than welcome to contact us at or call us to discuss your specific project.


Safety and optimal production with sticky materials

Verstegen supplied many special grabs for handling sticky bulk materials all over the world. These grabs have a special design and the shells are modified to prevent the material from sticking inside the shells.


There are a lot of sticky bulk materials that have to be handled with clamshell grabs like nickel ore, wet bauxite, clay and wet iron ore. When using a standard grab a large part of the material will stick to the shells. Production rates will decrease because of the necessary regular cleaning of the shells, which takes a lot of time and the reduction of the grabbing capacity. Another important issue is the dangerous situations that can occur when large pieces of material break loose from the shells and fall out while swinging the grab over a ship or a quay. People can easily be hit by chunks that weigh several tons.


The design of the grab is an important factor in preventing material sticking in the grab. Verstegen has developed grabs with special design for handling sticky materials. The shells of the grab are smooth without abrupt transitions, so material compression is minimal. The design of the shells is also without internal strengthening plates which reduces the surfaces to which material can stick.

Verstegen special grab design


There are several ways to prevent the material to stick to the shells. For some bulk materials making the shells from stainless steel is a good solution. This is done with concentrates like copper and led concentrate.

Another option is to cover the inside of the shells with special liners with a very low friction coefficient. As a result the material slides easy from the shells when the grab is opened.

Special Verstegen grabs with liners


The Intermodal in Sao Paulo, Brazil is one of the most important events for logistics and cargo handling on the South America continent. This yearly trade show gathers many key players from strategic companies in the InterModal Logistic business.


Verstegen is already more than thirty years present on the South American continent as a supplier of high quality grabs for handling dry bulk cargo. This has resulted in a large installed base of bulk handling grabs for crane loads from 5 to 50 tonnes capacity.


Scrap is completely different from all other bulk materials, it is not possible to calculate with a fixed density for scrap as for example coal or fertilizer. Especially the Heavy Melting Scrap (HMS) is far from homogeneous and this makes that every grab of material will be different.

Dynamic forces

There are various factors that influence the forces acting on the grab and crane. Important with scrap handling are the dynamic forces. A lot of extra force can be required to pull the grab free from the scrap on the pile or in the vessel. This is especially important whilst unloading mixed scrap and HMS with large pieces. Dynamic forces can result in 20% to 30% higher crane loads than the combined weight of the scrap and the grab.


Another common type of scrap is shredded scrap. This type of scrap is more homogeneous and has an uncompressed density between 0.8 and 1.2 ton per m3. For unloading shredded scrap there is another important factor to take into account: the compression of the scrap. When the grab is put on the material and is closed, the grab picks up a much larger volume than the designed capacity and most of the time the shells cannot close completely. Furthermore the shredded scrap is compressed inside the shells.

Orange peel grab handling

Orange peel grab handling shredded scrap, grab capacity 12 m3 , dead weight 17 ton, working on 35 ton crane

The combination of the above points result in a “practical grabbing density” of 1.4 to 1.8 ton/m3.

Capacity of an orange peel grab

The capacity of an orange peel grab strongly depends on the type of scrap which is handled. The Verstegen orange peel grab has a very wide opening and large “grabbing capacity”. Normally an orange peel grab can pick up much more material than the scales can contain. As a result the scales don’t close completely, this is different from a clamshell grab. When the scales completely close the (theoretical) volume is less then the practical volume.

Orange peel capacity

Examples of grabs in operation

Below pictures show our grabs in operation with their practical filling.

Scrap grabs in action


In these 65 years we have gained an enormous knowledge, know-how and experience in designing and building grabs. Thanks to the feedback of our large group of loyal customers we have been able to improve our grab designs further, for optimal performance during operation. Without this feedback it would have been impossible to develop and grow further. This constant and never ending search for improvement brought us to the leading position within the global dry bulk industry. We are very grateful for the trust that many companies put in Verstegen to make us their supplier for their key bulk handling equipment.

Very happy holidays from the whole Verstegen Team!!