Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Heavy Lift Freight Project Delivery Answers the Customer's Question

Virus Complicated a Multimodal Challenge
Shipping News Feature

BRAZIL – MEXICO – According to Dachser USA the first approach to the company from a customer seeking someone to manage their latest project freight forwarding contract was the simple request 'Are you up for a challenge? '

The challenge in question turned out to be shipping 138 tonnes of oversized automotive manufacturing machinery from Jundai, Brazil to Silao, Mexico. Turning to Dachser for its project cargo expertise and strong connections throughout Latin America, the top-tier automotive supplier needed to transport an oversized compressor machine, which alone weighed 125 tonnes, as well as an additional 14 pieces of varying sizes of accessories from Jundiai, Brazil to Silao, Mexico.

One of the initial challenges was that the equipment to be shipped was located in an active factory in Jundiai, Brazil, and it was situated within an 18-foot concrete pit. Dachser Brazil called upon one of its local partners, a lift-equipment specialist, to facilitate in orchestrating the complex lift of the unit out of the concrete. Upon removal from the pit, the machinery needed to be disassembled into 14 pieces of varying size. The intricacies of removing the machinery from the plant in Brazil would impact the timing of the final shipment arrival date.

From the plant, the heavy lift cargo moved via multi-axle platform trailer through the streets of Brazil following pre-approved routes toward the Port of Santos. Due to Covid-19, there were no police escorts and the cargo could only move during the hours of 1100 to 1800. The 98-mile trip from Jundiai to the Port of Santos therefore took seven days. Guido Gries, Managing Director, Dachser Americas, commented:

“As an innovative logistics solutions provider, Dachser regularly guides our customers through complex logistics challenges, including those that require a collaboration with our global partners. But there are certain projects, especially complicated heavy lift projects that present unique challenges, offering an opportunity to stretch our innovative thinking. I can confidently say that transporting this automotive manufacturing equipment was one of those opportunities.”

The land based problems were of course only a part of the multimodal solution required. The next stage, ocean shipping, presented its own set of questions. Both Ro-Ro and Break Bulk services were considered, but following a thorough analysis of cost, transit time and, most importantly, the safe transport of the cargo, Dachser concluded that a Bulk Break solution would be the optimal approach, providing flexibility in loading, storage and unloading, while maintaining efficiency to meet the cost and shipment deadlines.

French line CMA-CGM was selected for the ocean portion of the transport, which, given the timeline, presented its own set of obstacles requiring innovative solutions. Working with CMA-CGM, the Dachser Brazil team needed to determine which type of ocean vessel would be most appropriate for shipping and storing the bulky equipment. João Caldana, Managing Director of Dachser Brazil, observed:

“There are a lot of factors to consider when planning the movement of this type of project cargo, but we knew from the onset that the most critical element to successful and on-time transport was communication. There were numerous parties involved in this project, from permit providers to brokers to local authorities as well as the ocean carrier and our road transport partners. We understood that keeping everyone updated and fully engaged was key to smooth execution.”

Ultimately, it was determined that the most efficient and timely option was to secure a containership. CMA-CGM agreed to store the cargo in the belly of the ship on flat rack containers and a custom-built platform that would protect the integrity of the equipment and distribute the cargo weight evenly.

Prior to arrival at the Port of Santos Brazil, the Dachser Brazil team was charged with developing a solution to load the heavy cargo without conflicting with the Gantry cranes at the terminal. The team arranged for a Floating Crane, a mobile crane that is situated in the water on a barge, which enabled the crew to load on the opposite side of the ship, avoiding the Gantry cranes. This required good weather and precise disbursement of the weight throughout the lifting process.

The cargo was at sea for 30 days, arriving at the end of a Mexican holiday weekend. The Dachser Mexico team’s well-orchestrated plans ensured the holiday did not slow down the process. The cargo was offloaded directly from the ship to a Modular truck that was waiting alongside the vessel for the oversized cargo with Customs clearance occurring the following day.

As with the road transport challenges in Brazil, the emergence of Covid-19 added extra layers of precaution as the cargo moved from the port to the manufacturing facility. While the pre-approved routes along country roads were cleared for the oversized load, the road transport schedule was impacted by some temporary road closures, specific travel hours and lack of local law enforcement escorts. The 436-mile trip from the Port of Veracruz to the customer’s plant in Silao took three days.

Upon arriving at its final destination at the scheduled time, the heavy lift cargo was offloaded from the truck with three carefully positioned cranes, prompting Edgardo Hamon, Managing Director, Dachser Mexico, to observe:

“Being able to successfully execute a project of this magnitude, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, is a great accomplishment and a testament to Dachser’s commitment to meeting our customer’s needs no matter how challenging. What’s more, it illustrates how well the different countries within the Dachser family collaborate and work together to achieve what may seem like the unachievable.”

Photo: A floating crane lifts the bulkiest piece from the multi-axle low loader.