Careful logistical planning
Abnormal Load Services (ALS) is celebrating 40 years of managing the shipment and transport of out of gauge, abnormal load cargo around the world, utilising its cross-functional network of offices
Abnormal loads or ‘Out-of-Gauge’ cargo are those that are unusually long, wide, high or heavy, which by virtue of this combination of features, renders their transportation more complicated. The company’s experienced and knowledgeable in-house teams can advise on the complexities of moving a large load and tailor a solution for their clients.
Planning – choice – flexibility
The key to any successful project is planning. The more advanced the planning, the more opportunity there is to reduce risk and mitigate costs. The secret to a successful move from planning to conception and conclusion is the amount of time given to find the ideal and best practice solution. More time usually allows for greater choice, flexibility and reduced cost.
Multi-lingual global network
A large network of offices and partnerships enables ALS to provide multilingual personnel who are highly skilled at finding the best routes and methods to save on costs. It may come down to a specialist piece of equipment i.e. tilt frame or a specific route/port to be used for the project.
Turning to the cargo itself, as much information as possible is required, starting with drawings and a site visit. Accurate drawings are critical as the dimensions and weight are used for shipping and transportation costs to calculate weight and the relative cube measure, as whichever is the greater will determine an accurate shipping price for deep sea and charter moves.
Site visits give a feel for what the job is all about prior to a move, they provide an understanding of the environment that the teams have to work in. Wherever possible a site visit will take place to assess the lifting, jacking, skating, or mega lift requirements etc, and will often involve a route survey.
In addition, the site visit assessment may also provide a lot of other answers.
Supporting the load
Regarding the stabilisation of a load – normally the manufacturer will supply supports for their cargo, though sometimes, due to the size of the item, ALS may ask to have the supports amended to suit a specific trailer required for the job. Alternatively, the company may suggest providing their own supports, though before these are used the client must first approve their design.
Packing of the load
Who packs the cargo is usually determined by the value and whether it is second hand or new. In most cases the packing and protection of the pieces will be decided by the value of the cargo, the country it is going to, and the conditions under which it is being transported then stored. Packing comes in all guises and cost must be established at the onset of a proposal.
The planning stage will also address the issues of exactly who is responsible for providing what for the movement. In addition to this the transport and shipping industry have conditions called Incoterms, these determine the responsibility of the seller or the buyer of the cargo.
They will be documented on Letters of Credit and Bills of Lading. Subject to what terms have been agreed upon will determine which party is responsible for what.
Sometimes, it is not possible to use just one company to move the goods as transport, cranes, barges etc may already have been obtained; in such cases the coordination and control of all different aspects of the contract becomes more problematic and, when different transport modes are used along with a variety of companies, things can occasionally become a little more difficult.
One point of contact
ALS’ unique selling point is that it operates as a ‘One Stop’ solution provider who can act as a single point of contact for all aspects of the move. The move is coordinated and managed by one office. This ensures the liability and the risk is mitigated and also the cost for the different options likely to be needed.
It will also mean that the move is discussed and documented in one place, which provides an accurate audit trail of events. If trans-shipments are to take place all agreements must be made on a back-to-back basis.
Finally, heavy, abnormal loads are dangerous by their size and weight. In the case of road transport, the haulage companies will only accept responsibility for the part they have moved. ALS being a freight management company tends to organise all the work and as a consequence is responsible for the total move from start to finish and can provide appropriate insurance to cover this.
Case Study – energy to waste
Following months of planning the ALS team in the UK over a six month period coordinated all shipments of materials, oversized equipment and containers from over 10 countries for deliveries to a site in the UK.
Regular meetings took place with the client and its suppliers and ALS Project Managers coordinated loading and off-loading operations in Turkey, USA, Poland, Denmark and the UK.
A vessel was chartered to ship the largest break bulk cargo pieces, which amounted to over 600T of cargo from the USA to Hull.
The five largest pieces were transported by road, overnight in time sequenced deliveries during the course of a week to their final destination.
Abnormal Load Services