Part of our project logistics portfolio at our Hamburg office is logistics solutions for shipping machinery and equipment for the oil, gas and petrochemical sector. These goods are often overweight/heavy lift pieces and they also often show enormous oversize. Hence such goods are usually shipped conventionally using break bulk vessels. The high loading capacities and attractive ocean freight rates compared to other modes of ocean freight transport, however, often require the trade-off of accepting slower transit times with this shipping method.
Each transport is unique. This makes our job so exciting.
One of our customers in the “oil, gas and petrochemical” sector is an internationally renowned manufacturer of heat exchangers for the petrochemical industry. They lately entrusted to us the transport of a custom-made heat exchanger – measurements 23 meters length x 3,40 meters width x 2,60 meters height, weight 70 tons – from their manufacturing premises in Berlin, Germany, up to CFR Busan, South Korea. Transit times played a central role for this project cargo shipment as the consignee wanted to exchange the heat exchanger in use by the new one as soon as possible. A shipping solution via break bulk vessel would have taken them too long.
In order to come to a faster shipping solution, we teamed up with an internationally leading container carrier to work out a way of shipping the “giant in a hurry” break bulk via container vessel. In that way, we could significantly shorten the transit time from the port of loading – Hamburg, Germany – to the port of discharge – Busan, South Korea – to 31 days. Shipping via break bulk vessel would have meant a transit time of around 58 days.
Our customer has direct access to a public loading area for barge transportation. So we could perform the pre-carriage from the manufacturing site in Berlin, Germany, to the port of Hamburg, Germany, in one haul via heavy lift barge. This is a real advantage regarding cargo protection – the less handling steps, the better.
The special apparatus was loaded into the chartered river barge using a mobile crane. Transit time from the loading area in Berlin to the port of Hamburg: 4 days. "Performing a pre-carriage via road transportation would have simply been impossible", says Thomas Burkhardt, Branch Manager at Karl Gross in Hamburg. "The infrastructure does not allow for this."
For loading of the apparatus onboard the container vessel at the port of Hamburg, we had arranged for direct transloading. The river barge was positioned alongside the ocean going vessel and a floating crane was used to perform the move. “Hiring a floating crane was necessary because the heat exchanger’s weight exceeded the capacities of cranes at the terminal. At the same time, we could save another handling step”, says Thomas Burkhardt.
For protecting the special apparatus against the elements, it was stowed in the lower holds of the container vessel. We had a bed of 5 collapsed 40’ Flat Racks set at the top layer below deck. The heat exchanger was positioned on these transversal to the vessel’s course. Lashing took place onboard.
It takes out-of-the-box thinking to make the project a success.
Supplementary equipment travels along
Part of the shipment was equipment for installation of the heat exchanger. The respective cargo pieces had been stowed in several boxes in Berlin. We trucked these to Hamburg and had them stowed into a 40’ container there. The container was loaded into the ocean going vessel along with the shipment’s main piece.
“Each shipment is unique. That is what makes our profession so very interesting”, says Thomas Burkhardt. “When it comes to matching special customer demands in project logistics, profound know-how of the possibilities and their realization is important. It takes professional service and out-of-the-box thinking to make the project a success for the customer and truly add value to their supply chain. That is the target we aspire to.”