Careful planning and management were key to a complex project that saw Global Transport bring 5000 cubic metres of drying equipment to New Zealand from Europe and Asia for two South Island dairy processors. BY MARY SEARLE BELL.
SPECIALISING IN HEAVY and over-dimension loads, Global Transport moves cargo around the world. A rather complex project late last year saw the team bring a variety of equipment from Europe and Asia for Tetra Pak, which is constructing a $114 million nutritional dryer in Hokitika for Westland Milk Products.
The dryer unit will allow Westland milk to produce fully-formulated infant formula milk powder products. At the same time Global Transport delivered equipment for Tetra Pak from the same manufacturers for a new milk dryer for Synlait, another dairy processor, to its Dunsandel plant in Canterbury.
Coming from the fabricators in Europe was dryer equipment and the associated ducting and condensers. Global Transport director Richard Hyde says there were 22 loads in total. These were of various lengths and ranged in weight from 17 to 70 tonnes.
Richard says the original plan was to ship everything in one go from the European port straight to Timaru and truck it to the two plants from there. However, manufacturing constraints meant it was easier for the shipment to be broken into two and carried across Europe by truck to the port in Bremerhaven, Germany, and be shipped to New Zealand from there.
The route from the manufacturing plant to the port in Germany was a trip of about eight to nine days, depending on the weight and dimension of the load. It crossed five countries – each with their own permitting rules and regulations.
Global Transport’s London agent had a good connection with an agent in Europe and he sourced local truckers for the job and was on site to ensure the loading was done correctly. Local truckers were used as they had better access to permits. That being said, permits for the larger loads took up to 17 days to source.
Once the trucks reached the port in Germany, Global Transport had a surveyor on site there to supervise the transfer of the loads from the road trailers to Mafi trailers (specialised roll trailers to facilitate the equipment being transferred at the ports), then lashed properly and loaded onto the ship.
The Global Transport team was very hands-on throughout the whole job to ensure there was no damage to any of the equipment at any stage of the journey.
Richard was waiting in Auckland for the ships to arrive – the loads ended up travelling on four different ships.
Once the dryer equipment reached Auckland, Global Transport subcontracted the transport to three companies – STL Linehaul, T Croft and Tranzcarr Heavy Haulage – to carry it to the two dairy plants in the South Island. The largest item, however, waited at the Ports of Auckland for a short while for a ship from China headed to Timaru.
On the ship from China was other dryer equipment that had been manufactured there and for which the transport was contracted to Global Transport.
Richard says there was a lot of ducting that came from China, and although it wasn’t heavy (five to six tonnes a piece) several pieces were quite big, measuring up to 10×8.7×3 metres. These were trucked in five loads from the manufacturer to a barge; once loaded and secured they were barged to an ocean vessel headed for New Zealand. In total, around 2000 cubic metres of componentry was shipped from China to Timaru.
Overall, Global Transport was responsible for around 5000 cubic metres of equipment being imported from Europe, China and Indonesia.
“The logistics of getting the equipment out of Europe were testing at times,” Richard told Contractor. “Getting the larger units to the South Island and then getting them from Timaru to the West Coast site was challenging, with weight restraints creating difficulties.
“However, all the equipment was delivered either on time or ahead of time for both sites’ erection programmes.”
When he says it like that he makes it sound fairly simple, but realistically, the list of things that could have gone wrong is staggering.
The Global Transport office team in Auckland was involved from the beginning of the fabrication process; managing the shipping process – looking for possible alternatives to ensure the parts got to New Zealand as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Richard says there was a lot of planning involved, and a lot of changes were made throughout the project.
Four key things he lists that impacted the transport for this project were:
1. Ports – Bremerhaven offered more flexibility with choices of vessels.
2. Permits – the timeframes they were effective for varied from country to country.
3. Weather – it was winter in Europe; ’nuff said.
4. Space available on the ship – and having hands-on people at the load out and ports to ensure the loads were lifted correctly, lashed properly and landed safely. It was imperative there was no damage to the equipment while it was in transit.
The transport project took three months in total, and was completed in January this year.