13 February, 2002
WHAT CARGO IS COMING, AND WHERE WILL WE PUT IT?
Carmen Lemon is the logistics support assistant for Palmer Station. There are two main parts to her job. The first is cargo: she makes sure that we get the food and equipment we need to do our jobs. She also makes sure that the waste material we don't need is sent off the station. Rick Lichtenhan is the cargoperson who works with Carmen on these tasks. The second part of her job is inventory: she manages the cargo while it is here. She has to find a place for everything.
Carmen says that her job is like solving a puzzle. Sometimes she has to move things to different places in order to make room for something new. She wants to move things as few times as possible, so she needs to plan carefully.
Our cargo is shipped to us on the LM Gould. This ship comes to Palmer Station every four to six weeks. It comes from Punta Arenas, Chile. Our cargo has either been flown to Punta Arenas or it has come by ship from Port Huenueme, California. The ship carries the scientists and other workers who need to be at Palmer Station. It brings fresh fruit and vegetables ("freshies"). It brings materials for construction and for science.
The cargo is usually packed in milvans. (A few of the people may sleep in a special milvan if the ship is really crowded. The milvan has bunk beds in it. It is down in the hold of the ship, so it is a great place to sleep when the seas are rough!)
These heavy metal milvans are approximately 8 feet by 8 feet by 20 feet. Their actual volume for storage is 1170 cubic feet. When the LM Gould comes to the dock, Carmen has to be ready. She needs to have a plan, because there will be milvans of cargo coming off the ship, and milvans of waste material going on the ship.
There is room for four milvans on the pier. Right now there are 2 milvans sitting there. One is plugged in to electricity and doesn't move. The other one can be moved. When the LM Gould comes in later this week, there will be 4 full milvans that will need to be unloaded from the ship. You see the puzzle?
Carmen uses math in her job all the time. Here is a complicated problem. There isn't just one right answer.
Carmen has ordered 44,000 pounds of concrete for Palmer Station. This will be used in the remodeling project that is scheduled for the winter (April-September). The concrete is needed here in March. It will be used as the foundation for the remodeling. Carmen has to plan a way to ship the concrete here from Punta Arenas. Because concrete is heavy for its volume, Carmen plans by the weight of the concrete.
Each empty milvan weighs 5000 pounds (its TARE weight). The LMGould has a crane that can lift 26,000 pounds. The LM Gould can carry 5 milvans on deck and 4 milvans in the hold. However, 2 of the milvans in the hold are used as sleeping quarters for passengers, so there are really 2 milvans in the hold for cargo.
If a milvan is put in the hold of the LM Gould, its loaded weight cannot be more than 20,000 pounds. If the milvan is on the deck, it can have a loaded weight of 25,000-26,000 pounds. The Skytrack here at Palmer can move 6,000 pounds, which is just a little more than an empty milvan.
To make matters more complicated, Carmen has other cargo waiting to come to Palmer Station. She has 27,738 pounds of materials that are at the top of the priority list for transfer here. In addition, other construction material must come also. So, how should Carmen plan to send this cargo? How much concrete can she bring in the next visits of the LMGould? The ship will make two trips with cargo in March.
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