Transporting costly and sensitive equipment in a just in time environment during a pandemic year

Project Delivery from Thailand to the USA

This challenging project started in May 2020 and was split into two lot deliveries from Laem Chabang, Thailand up to inland USA destination located in Ohio, with the last delivery taking place in December 2020. The receiver is a leading international supplier of high-quality steel products. The cargo deliveries consisted of 2 overhead crane installations and were part of the company’s’ Capex plan to expand its production plant in Ohio.

Our key challenge when shipping time-sensitive project cargo on a route that requires multiple transshipments is to align continuously per the availability of the different transport equipment.  Close follow up and coordination is key to mitigate any impact on lead times during the transshipment process and ensure swift sequential transportation to the destination. When presented with such a challenge, it is essential to have our local project coordinators present at all transshipment locations ensuring swift and safe reloading operations. With our project manager delivering the interface between all the involved stakeholders, we provide our customers with end-to-end visibility throughout the entire shipment process.

Project - Each lot consisted of approx. 500 tons and 1800 cubic meters of various cargo including quite impressive 28-meter-long crane bridge units and 85-ton trolley parts. Our assignment was to move the cranes from the manufacturing plant, located in Thailand, to the installation site in Ohio, USA. The equipment pieces were over-sized and overweight, requiring special loading/unloading procedures; and a multimodal transport solution comprising ocean, barge, and road transportation. The equipment was essential to the plant operations and needed to arrive on schedule.

The Ahlers Chartering desk assisted us with the contracting of appropriate heavy lift vessels from Thailand up to New Orleans port, finding the most suitable vessels on the markets. With the assistance of our US partners, Ahlers arranged reloading of cargoes from ocean vessels onto river barges at New Orleans port for further transport via Mississippi and Ohio river network up to a second transshipment place at a river port in Kentucky. Thereafter, the cargo was further reloaded onto specialized trailers for the last leg transport by road up to the final site in Delta, OH.

The crane equipment moved on schedule from Thailand to the US, more than 14000 km. Ahlers Projects and Machinery identified and planned for critical points in the move to minimize delays. Despite detailed preparation, there are always potential events that can disrupt the initial transport planning. In this specific case, our transport planning was disrupted due to a temporary engine breakdown of one of the ocean vessels but also hurricane Zeta passing through New Orleans right on the dates when the ocean vessel was discharging, which required us to temporary suspend transshipment operations and rework the consecutive transportation plan.

Despite the numerous challenges along the way, our team managed to rise to the occasion and overcome the obstacles. Ahlers has a track record of managing complex global projects, tailor-made, with a clear scope and dedicated team. We strive for optimal solutions for every type of cargo and destination.


Customer challenges

  • End-to-end service required.

  • Time-sensitive delivery.

  • Traceability and visibility as key requirements.

Customer benefits

  • End-to-end solution ensuring full supply chain visibility.

  • Risk and project management.

  • Dedicated project team.