Whilst we spent many months planning the shipment from Brasil, discharge from vessel and transport by road including the building of 2.5 kilometres of new access road across the former RAF Tealing airfield, it was only as this 157 tonne transformer arrived at Dundee that the supplier in Finland realised that despite what was agreed, they had not arranged the small matter of discharge and installation! After a frantic two days of discussions, we were able to arrange for a suitable 4-point lift system to keep the project on schedule.
Whilst the majority of our consultancy work is wind turbine related, having produced transport plans for in excess of 250 sites over the past 3 years – we are able to offer a comprehensive service for the investigation of the most suitable routes and methodologies for any type of cargo movement. For example we were briefed recently by a client to identify and document routes, staging plans and contingencies for the renewal of a complete pressings line at Jaguar LandRover in Halewood, completely independent of any subsequent involvement in moving the cargo.
In the course of arranging upto 500 abnormal load permissions per year for our own movements, we can’t help but know our way around the intricacies of notifying the correct authorities in the proper way and build up good working relationships with roads authorities and police forces. From simple C&U notifications, through VR.1 authorisations for loads exceeding 5 metres in width, to BE16 Special Order applications for the largest loads, we can assist. Even Temporary Traffic Restriction Orders and Road Space Booking where these are required, are all familiar territory to us – don’t hesitate to call us should you require assistance with any of these, and the additional supply of pilot vehicles approved under the ACPO Guidelines, manned by professional drivers with hands-on abnormal load experience.
The worldwide structure of the remaining players in the brewing market means that plant and equipment is often transferred between their facilities around the world without actually changing hands, as capacity requirements dictate. When the movement of around 20 vessels of varying sizes from breweries across the UK to increase capacity at the Hoegaarden brewery in Belgium was decided upon by InBev, it wasn’t quite across the globe, but still took quite some co-ordination. Weather problems, ferries with the required height clearance going out of service and other factors meant that the 3 specialist trailers brought in from a Belgian partner ended up traversing England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland AND Wales to deliver their cargoes – all without delay to the tight schedule and at no extra cost to the client due to our management of these unexpected changes.
More commonly seen with a dumper body fitted, the need for a dust suppression vehicle which could go anywhere in the quarry that tracked plant could saw us deliver the chassis/cab of this Bell ADT (Articulated Dump Truck) from the UK to a specialist bodybuilder in Provence, and some weeks later return it to Scotland.
From Muscat in Oman to Tromso in Norway, from the Canary Islands to Irkutsk in Siberia – there are very few companies with the knowledge and sufficiently experienced drivers to send them to these far flung points in the recent past. Whilst improvements in shipping/ports and rail links have ‘shrunk’ the globe, there are still times when only driver accompanied service will achieve the schedule or satisfy the security of the load. The photograph shows UK built specialised fume scrubbing equipment arriving at the Magnitogorsk iron and steel plant, and whilst Alan Whittaker had arrived at the main gate, the offload point was still a full 11 kilometres away – giving an idea just how vast the complex actually is!
Apart from regular shipments of nuclear waste to and from nearby Sellafield, Ramsden Dock at Barrow in Furness doesn’t see too many shipments these days. This Metso Tissue Dryer only travelled by road the short distance to Kimberley Clark’s mill on the other side of town, but we had brought it quite a distance already – from one of their US factories aboard the geared vessel seen leaving the docks to right of shot.
A long established client of ours on European abnormal loads, who manufactured very specialised radiator brazing furnaces, won a large order from a division of General Motors in the USA. The pretty unbelievable decision by the consignee’s nominated freight forwarder to allow the haulier to uncrate most of the first shipment because they hadn’t bothered to obtain the correct oversize permits, meant that after 400 miles through Upstate New York winter weather, the equipment arrived full of ice, snow and grit and, well, knackered! The fact that we had UK personnel in Tonawanda within 48 hours, and the cargo on a fast ro-ro ship back to the UK for reworking within 7 days, meant that we received the order to ship the remaining 11 lines to various plants in New York, Alabama and Mexico.
The former ICI flagship site on Teesside, now known as Wilton International and with the various plants operated by many multinational companies, is still one of the biggest chemical manufacturing clusters in the world. When the Nylon Polymer plant operated by DuPont underwent a $250m upgrade, one of the largest pieces of process plant involved was this 10 metre diameter and 140 tonne Crude Crystalliser, which we shipped from the manufacturer in Asturias, northern Spain via geared vessel to the (almost, apart from a short hop across the steelworks) adjacent Teesport and onto site utilising a 14 axle line modular trailer configured ‘3 file wide’ to aid stability.
The delicate nature of this multi-million pound machine for producing babywipes, and the concerns of the manufacturer’s insurers saw us arranging shipment from Devon all the way to Saudi Arabia without the cargo being handled once. We loaded one of our own 4 axle air-ride semi-low loaders, covered the cargo with tailor-made heavy duty sheets, and despatched it via ro-ro vessel to Jeddah, from where our local partners tractioned our trailer to the new factory for offloading. Once empty, the 2 month wait for the trailer’s return eastbound due to limited sailings was made a little less painful by managing to load press parts off the quay in Yokohama Japan for Gloucester for another client.
A ‘slight’ oversight in delivering this Drag Chain Assembly for managing cables and hoses on BP’s Azeri West Platform under construction at the Mercon yards at Gorinchem, meant that we received a telephone call on a Thursday asking if we could deliver by the following Tuesday…. The height of the piece meant that it wouldn’t fit under most bridges on Dutch roads even without a trailer underneath it, but come Friday midday it was loaded to the trailer pictured, and before the workers at the yard had even finished their ‘koffie en koek’ on the Monday morning, the same vehicle arrived aboard a pontoon from Rotterdam for them to discharge using their quayside cranes. A much appreciated letter of thanks from the Managing Director of BP/AIOC followed the next day.
Where the competition were happy to simply quote to ‘factory gate’ and so to arrive by road, we took advantage of our long-standing contacts at the consignee to visit and investigate alternative methods of delivering 3 large items of sugar processing plant from France. The method which we proposed, which avoided handling the cargo more than once with the attendant risks and costs, still took quite some detailed planning. Unfortunately the air-draught restrictions on the inland waterway leg in France, versus stability across the North Sea in December meant that we did transship from barge to a pontoon, but this and the sea lashing was carried out under our full supervision as is all handling of cargoes entrusted to us.