How does one transport enormous objects across the globe?
Windmill blades, industrial batteries, paper mills, trainsets, helicopters, and harvesters are all large machinery that is integral to the operation of our farms, factories, and cities. However, these important items do not fit within TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) standard shipping containers, creating complexity when loading cargo ships, trains, and trucks.
Thus, getting oversized cargo from factory all the way to the end-user is a complicated dance of different modes, complicated paperwork, and numerous stakeholders; though these challenges can be overcome, and systems can be strengthened by the power of integrated logistics providers.
Difficulties with oversized cargo
Put simply, everything is a challenge when it comes to oversized cargo transportation. Challenges begin at production sites, where particular equipment like cranes are needed to lift the cargo onto a specialised truck and trailer. Then, trained professionals are deployed who have planned for this transportation and are able to execute the lashing and crating of the special cargo, securely fastening the products to the trailer.
To make matters a bit more complicated, it is commonplace for trucks carrying oversized goods to require special permits and an escort car when driving from the production site to the port. In some extenuating circumstances, oversized cargo transportation might necessitate the temporary removal of traffic signs, streetlights, or other proximal obstacles. Additionally, depending on the journey, building a temporary road might even be required to get the oversized cargo to port.
Once at port, another specialised crane is needed to move the cargo from the truck to the ship, usually by way of a flat-rack or open-top container. After the cargo’s journey at sea, it returns to land with the same challenges it encountered from production to port, but with a bit more of a time pressure on this end. Often the oversized cargo needs to get to its final site at the exact time when it can be lifted and put in place, creating a crucial timing challenge for all steps in this process.