Tuscor Lloyds has just completed the shipment of a large and heavy consignment of anchor chain from Shanghai, China to Aberdeen, Scotland.
This complicated and difficult to manage cargo was destined for one of the large deep sea oil rigs in the North Sea, but had to travel half the globe from Shanghai first.
The shipment comprised of a 1.1 km length of heavy chain weighing 645 metric tonnes. The chain was segmented in 3 bundles of 215 tonnes each. From the beginning of the job in Shanghai’s Luojiing terminal, the shipment was closely followed by the management team at Tuscor Lloyds every step of the way. In fact a representative was present at every key stage of its long journey from Shanghai via Antwerp and finally to Aberdeen.
This type of cargo requires specific skills in handling and transportation. Only the most knowledgeable and experienced shipping agents should attempt a shipment of this nature. The inclusion of a transhipment in Europe onto a short sea full charter only added to the complication.
Tuscor Lloyds dedicated a team of project managers to the job, who worked tirelessly across time zones to ensure the successful loading, and reloading of the cargo in the various ports of entry and transfer. The company provided on-site management in each of the ports to oversee and advise on operations.
The first of many challenges presented itself immediately on presentation of the cargo in Shanghai. The shipper brought a barge alongside the mother vessel ready for trans-loading at the designated time. The mother vessel was hired on a part charter basis. As soon as the loading operation was started, the meter was running, and the owners of mother vessel allowed only 6 hours to complete the job.
The chain presented to the mother vessel was totally mixed up and jumbled in the barge, with all three bundles placed on top of each other in no discernible order. After a great deal of trial and error the ship stevedores managed to work out the order of the chain and began slowly lifting the cargo from the barge into the main hold of the ship. Tuscor Lloyds had commissioned a new vessel fitted with 2 x 450 tonnes cranes which were more than able to lift each bundle.
Once the complication of the bundles had been fully understood, the loading went smoothly but all the same took longer than anticipated. With a manager stationed on board the vessel, Tuscor Lloyds provided the necessary support to the loading team, the shipper and the buyer of cargo. Although the loading over ran, the vessel arrived in Antwerp a day early.
Tuscor Lloyds once again provided on-site coordination of the transloading of the chain from the mother vessel to the short sea barge in Antwerp. This time the experience and attention given to the job in Shanghai paid off, with the full operation completed ahead of time and the barge loaded on schedule.
The barge finally made it to Aberdeen 2 days later, and the chains were delivered to the end user well ahead of schedule and in time for the completion of the rig out to sea off the coast of Scotland.
The critical timescale and limited budget available to Tuscor Lloyds to complete this shipment demanded diligent management and high level skills in cargo handling and port operations. The company needed to hire 2 ships on both full and part charters, and look after trans-loading operations in 2 overseas ports.
This type of cargo is by no means easy to move under any circumstances, let alone under the highly pressured requirements of this particular customer. The fact that the shipment was completed on time, within budget and with very few problems along the way demonstrates the expertise and tenacity of the specialist project cargo at Tuscor Lloyds.