Trust and relationship are two of the most essential elements of any operation, but they are critical in logistics. Shipments often involve oversized and heavy machinery in the mining and construction industries. In this article, we dive into some of the logistics best practices when shipping the impressive machinery used in mining and construction.
Since most of these machines are heavy and large, this can create logistics challenges, so having best practices in place and a team of experts is key. Ahlers has worked closely with the mining and construction industry key stakeholders for decades to help them capitalize on the advantages and added value of applying a tailor-made approach.
Step 1 - Planning
It all starts with planning and preparations. As a logistics service provider, it is essential to be involved in the project from an early stage. We prefer to work closely with our clients from the budgeting stage of a project. This gives us a better understanding of what is required, when it is needed, and the potential challenges and complications. At this point, we can also consult and guide our client on possible optimizations. There can be several challenges when transporting large machinery and construction equipment or supplies. Furthermore, many factors impact the total cost of such a project. For example:
- Stackability – are the machines assembled or disassembled? If disassembled, can certain parts or components be stacked? Stacking saves space.
- Cargo density - dense freight is very heavy, which impacts how it can be transported. Are there special trailers or handling equipment needed?
- Protection against the elements: can items be transported on the deck of a ship, or do they have to be placed in the hold? If transported by land, do they need to be covered by tarps and certain components additionally protected?
- Movability: are the machines self-propelled, or do they need to be towed/lifted?
The proper transportation and related equipment can be arranged when all information related to the cargo is gathered. Our experts, also referred to as solution builders or transport architects, analyze the whole project, start with the critical part, and plan from there.
Step 2 - Customs documentation
Preparing the necessary customs documents well in advance gives all parties involved the time to ensure everything is in order to prevent delays at any border crossing or customs clearance location. Our customs specialists are experienced and work closely with customs authorities to ensure seamless import and export procedures.
They are familiar with different customs regimes and can advise you on the best way to import or export your equipment. Does everything need to cross the border all at once, or is it better to ship certain parts separately?
Step 3 - Transportation
With oversized and very heavy equipment, specialized transport equipment is often needed, especially when transporting equipment via land. There are different types of trailers that can be used, for example:
- Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN) - can be detached and lowered to the ground so machinery can drive onto them. Very well suited for oversized and long and tall motorized freight.
- Double Drop Trailers - can be used for taller and heavier cargo. The lower middle section reduces the overall height.
- Low Bed Trailer - reduces the overall height of the shipment and lowers the center of gravity, making the trailer less prone to tipping over.
Sometimes machines need to be disassembled for easier transportation. Together with our customers, we look at the machines that need to be shipped and remove wheels, cabins, buckets, or other parts for optimizing transportation costs. We can remove vulnerable items such as mirrors, lights, and windows to protect them. When the machine arrives at its destination, we reassemble it again and can make it ready for use.
Our team will also look at the route the shipment will take and check with local governments whether there are special permits needed for specific stretches of the journey. If needed, route surveys will also be done to evaluate whether there are any obstacles on the side or over the road that might prevent a safe passing. Sometimes roads need to be closed to other traffic to ensure safe passage, or the transport needs to cross a stretch of private land. Close communication with local authorities and property owners is essential.
Why Ship Your Heavy Machinery and Equipment with Ahlers?
- 30 years of experience in complex markets
- Close customer relationships
- Tailor-made solutions
- Dedicated team of experts
- One common approach, global and local
- Own chartering desk to take care of ocean shipping needs