PROJECT CARGO HEAVY LIFT 2007 - Oversized cargo to grow in ‘07

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Maritime  

Shipments of oversized or project cargo are expected to grow more than 15% in dollar volume in 2007, reaching the $2 billion mark for the first time in ocean shipping. Strong international requirements for the transportation of massive machinery and equipment that cannot fit into conventional ocean containers will increase throughout the decade as nations continue to develop their infrastructure. Growth is expected to be strong particularly to Asian, Middle Eastern and South Pacific destinations.
This is the assessment of Ike Ortiz-Luis, International Project Cargo Manager at Dependable Global Express (doing business as DGX), an international ocean and air freight logistics company headquartered in Rancho Dominguez, CA. Ortiz-Luis is an acknowledged expert in this highly specialized segment of ocean shipping with a decade of experience.
The DGX Project Manager reports that both container and project cargo volume has been strong at the outset of 2007 “with no signs of diminishing later this year. I have been receiving more telephone calls and e-mails for immediate and future delivery of project cargo than at any comparable time in the past,” stated Ortiz-Luis.
Much of this “big & tall” cargo departs to Northern Asia and the South Pacific from the Los Angeles-Long Beach complex of harbors. Gulf ports like Houston, as well as West Coast cities including Oakland and Seattle serve India, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. East Coast ports are not as active in project cargo operations because their primary destination, Europe, requires less infrastructure projects. Ortiz-Luis noted that Asia, particularly China and India, are rapidly industrializing with those countries requiring heavy, often complicated machinery to build roads, dams, factories and other large scale projects.
In the Middle East, traditional demand for huge oil equipment like on and offshore rigs is augmented by the war in Iraq and rebuilding efforts in Lebanon. Billions of dollars are being spent by government and private sources to rebuild infrastructures destroyed by war and insurgents in those two nations. The economies “down under” also are growing with Australia in need of massive machinery to further develop its economy, particularly the nation’s mining industry which is expanding rapidly.
These regions of the world are demanding massive and often odd-shaped machinery and equipment to handle large-scale new construction and replacement efforts.
The enormous scope and variety of this machinery and equipment, often valued in the millions of dollars, must arrive at their destinations in pristine, working condition. “Down time” is far too expensive because transporting a huge, bulky 50-100 ton electric turbine is far more complicated than stacking 40-foot containers atop one another. Shipping lines and their agents like DGX must consider each piece of heavyweight cargo as an individual shipment. How the cargo is loaded, how it is stowed on board ship and, perhaps most importantly, how to charge the customer a fair rate yet still make a profit on what is in effect a customized shipment, must be carefully evaluated.
Going “outside the box”Ike Ortiz-Luis says that satisfying a customer is like juggling five balls in the air. “Huge pieces of equipment must be disassembled at the factory, then loaded on a rail car or truck to be transported to the waiting ship. Shipping schedules must be carefully scrutinized because often project cargo is destined to off-line points like a mining operation in the middle of a jungle. Loading and stowing of the cargo aboard ship is often a delicate operation and must be accomplished without damage to the shipment. Finally, ensuring that the cargo is unloaded safely at destination and “ready to go” also is required,” he stated.
“Each shipment must be handled on a case by case basis. Unlike containerized freight where the cost of the container is determined almost instantaneously by a phone call or e-mail to the shipping line, a realistic quote for project cargo may take up to two d

American Journal of Transportation