Power Station Boiler (Part 2/2)

Breakbulk cargo is one of the core services provided by global project cargo specialists Tuscor Lloyds.

This difficult and complex multi-modal shipment was collected from Hunan, China (see ‘Chinese Epic’ posted previously) and the story continues with the arrival of the shipment in Trieste, Italy. The cargo had to be discharged from the vessel and then taken by road to the delivery point 150km away in Venice.

The shipment is part of a newly constructed Biomass power plant. The boiler, shipped as a single piece weighing 115 metric tons and measuring 1425cm long x 400cm wide x 425cm high, had proved extremely challenging in China and the final leg was to be equally as difficult.

The first problem occurred almost immediately when the vessel arrived in Trieste. The wires provided by the manufacturers for lifting the cargo were condemned and destroyed by the Italian authorities. The boiler was loaded as break bulk cargo on board a container vessel so there was a restricted window of time to discharge the cargo before the ship had to leave port. At short notice and for little cost, the experienced local agents used by Tuscor Lloyds managed to avert disaster by borrowing some cables locally. The cargo was duly discharged using 2 mobile coordinated cranes.

As the vessel arrived in the middle of a public holiday, the customs entry would be delayed. Tuscor Lloyds arranged for a temporary trailer for storage and mobility in port. This would be much more cost effective to use in port than the highly specialised 30m long, 13 axel, modularised low load trailer which would be required for the delivery by road.

The delays were next compounded by a number of different issues. There was an Italian public service general strike and the local customs office shut down. The cargo waited in port for longer than expected which was just as well, as the steel work at the delivery point was not ready to receive the boiler in any case.

Last minute checks to the road route revealed additional problems. Road works started by the highways authorities a week before required urgent re-planning of the route. The road permits had to be adjusted, which is difficult to do at short notice. Finally when customs authorities gave the green light the cargo was transferred late at night to the specialist road trailer and left the port area.


The size of the cargo is the maximum possible for much of Italy’s road network. In this case there were numerous pinch points and obstructions on the route. A team of contractors travelled with the cargo suitably equipped to infill dips in the road and remove signs and tree branches over hanging the route where required. The final test came when heavy rainfall hindered their progress to the power station in Venice.

After a slow and careful journey over 3 nights the shipment was nearing the delivery point. The welders had finished the steel work just in time and the crane was in place ready to lift the unit to the steelwork. The rain continued to fall and the sloping site became a mud bath. It would no longer be safe to bring the trailer in with its heavy payload. With some quick action by the team on the ground and coordination with Tuscor Lloyds project managers a solution was quickly found. Sufficient thickness of hardcore was compacted over the mud to enable the trailer to be unloaded safely.

The boiler was finally unloaded in bright sunshine and safely placed on the newly finished steelwork, as everyone breathed a sigh of relief for the completion of this mammoth job. Huge investments of time and finance were required to see the shipment through. It’s hard to imagine a more difficult and time consuming logistics project. Tuscor Lloyds team of project managers will not forget this job which over 3 months had ups, downs and severe crises but in the end it was done in time and on budget.

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