A round-up of HLPFI's top shipments from 2014.

Much has been written about the difficult conditions that continue to beset shipping lines involved in the carriage of heavy and out-of-gauge project cargoes.

Rates remain depressed, losses are commonplace, competition with other sectors is intense and many of the ships that are capable of handling oversize cargoes are in severe financial stress.

So, what will 2015 bring? Will a recovery in project activities around the globe develop quickly enough to lift freight rates for the benefit of shipping lines? Or will the year see the much predicted swathe of mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies?

The answer remains elusive, but HLPFI will continue to provide insight and analysis that helps our readers with their daily business decisions.

Let's hope it is a happy new year for one and all, with more examples of the type of shipments that we highlight below. These are HLPFI's top shipments for 2014 - do you agree?


Shipments of the year

2014 was witness to the completion of a huge project to ship the 16 lock gates required for the Panama Canal expansion project. The logistics contract, which was awarded to Geodis Wilson in 2012, saw four sets of four gates barged from manufacturer Cimolai's site in San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy to the port of Trieste, before being shipped across the Atlantic onboard semi-submersible heavy lift vessels. The largest gates weighed in at 4,200 tonnes, with the massive dimensions of around 31.9 m x 57 m x 8 m. Among the companies involved in this project were Sarens, Cosco Shipping, Pan Ocean and Crowley.



The summer of 2014 saw WWL ALS handle what the Metropolitan Police dubbed "the widest loads moved within Central London since records began" - a dismantled 1,300-tonne tunnel boring machine, named Jessica, which was transported through the UK capital from Stepney Green to Limmo Peninsula as part of the Crossrail project. With some pieces measuring as large as 18.2 m x 7.1 m x 4.35 m, the transport required between seven and 12 police escort vehicles for each movement, as well as private escorts provided by WWL ALS.



In April, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) received five oversize cargoes for a refinery project being developed in Ruwais, claiming the cargo to be the largest and longest heavy lift modules ever to have been handled in the Abu Dhabi Free Port. The cargo, which had a combined weight of 3,367 tonnes and volume of 29,492 cu m, was shipped onboard the vessel Dongbang Giant No.1 from the South Korean port of Ulsan.



One of the most memorable points of 2014 was the completion of one of the largest salvage operations in history - the refloating of the Costa Concordia, which capsized off the Italian coast in 2012, killing 32 people. After a lengthy process involving many marine and transport companies, Crowley Maritime Corporation subsidiary Titan Salvage and its partner Micoperi advised that the wreck had been successfully refloated and was being towed to the port of Genoa ready for its dismantling.



December saw the port of Antwerp handle what was claimed to be its largest ever load, when a second shipment of four modules for Total's Optara oil refinery project was transported from the Spanish port of Tarragona by Coordinadora. The heaviest module weighed around 1,000 tonnes and had the dimensions 24 m x 11 m x 23 m. Once in Antwerp, ALE and Aertssen coordinated the 5 km road transport to the refinery. The overall project consists of five shipments of 28 modules, totalling more than 85,000 cu m, over a period of six months, from Tarragona to Antwerp.



ALE completed the transport and load out of a 13,191-tonne production, utilities and quarters (PUQ) deck in Jebel Ali, which had the dimensions 98.5 m x 46 m x 58.8 m, utilising 512 axles of SPMTs. The deck was transported 883 m and loaded out by ALE for onward shipment to the North Sea.



Jumbo also completed its role in the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) project in 2014, which involved the transport of thousands of freight tonnes of equipment from fabrication yards in China and Malaysia to Australia. Over the course of 15 months Jumbo transported eight modular wharfdecks; two 125 m long stackerbridges weighing 500 tonnes; and a 1,250-tonne shiploader using its heavy lift vessels Jumbo Jubilee and Jumbo Fairpartner. 22 gantries that formed part of a conveyor system and about 40 galleries were also delivered to Queensland.



In August, the largest piece of a turret for Shell's Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility set sail from Dubai for the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, where the facility is under construction. ALE completed the weighing, transportation and load-out of the combined modules, which had a combined weight of 3,395 tonnes. 176 axle lines of SPMTs were used to load the modules onto the semi-submersible vessel CJ Korea Express.



Air Marine transported a 1,480-tonne absorber for the Petronas LNG production development in Malaysia, using 48 axle lines of Scheuerle SPMTs. The massive absorber was moved from Malaysia's Bintulu port to the jobsite by road, which involved various discussions and meetings with local authorities prior to the movement, as well as the removal and widening of the port exit gate; removal of various lamp posts and sign boards; cutting of trees; clearing of areas; and strengthening of drains and culverts using steel plates.



Earlier in 2014, Mammoet completed the transportation of an entire methanol plant over 8,720 km from the southernmost part of Chile to the US state of Louisiana, on behalf of Methanex Corporation and in cooperation with Jacobs Engineering. Mammoet completed the lifting and moving of almost 400 heavy components and modules, which had a combined weight of over 12,145 tonnes.



Mammoet also claimed to have completed the heaviest machinery lift ever undertaken in Malaysia - a 1,210-tonne absorber used in the development of a petrochemical plant in Sarawak. The lift was a 'top and tail' operation. The top section of the 55 m long absorber was lifted using a specialised gantry system, while the other end of the absorber was driven into position with an auxiliary crane. It took roughly five hours to complete the lift.



Almajdouie impressed with the transport of an evaporator, weighing 5,736 tonnes and measuring 137.9 m x 32.1 m x 11.4 m, to the Yanbu 3 desalination project in Saudi Arabia. The evaporator left Dung Quat port in Vietnam and arrived in Yanbu in May, where Almajdouie used 200 axle lines of SPMTs to unload the cargo and transport it into its final position.



All about Evie

Evie says that if you would like to see your company's name in the spotlight in 2015, make sure that you keep HLPFI's editorial team advised of any news. From all the team at HLPFI, best wishes for a very happy, successful and prosperous 2015.