March 3 - Crowley Maritime Corporation's liner services group has transported two large electrical equipment enclosures, each weighing 44.4 tonnes, to San Juan in Puerto Rico.

The shipment required Crowley to move its 580 ft (176.7 m) triple-deck barge La Princesa beside the berth at its terminal in Jacksonville, so that the pieces could be rolled onto the lower deck of the barge, free from obstruction by the loading ramp - an operation which John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico services, said was "not commonly done".

Crowley was contracted by ATS International (ATSI) to ship the 3.6 m x 4.8 m x 19.2 m enclosures, which contained generating equipment, from Jacksonville to San Juan, while ATSI handled the overland transport, delivering the enclosures to the port on four-axle specialised trailers.

In order to safely load the cargo, Crowley explained that its tug Sentry was used to push the barge beside the berth, where it was secured to the dock with wires and chains. The barge was then ballasted down to match the dock height while two contracted harbour tugs pressed against it on opposite sides to hold it into place.

Once the barge and dock were level, the trailers were reversed onto the vessel. In order to accommodate the width of the trailers, wood matting had to be laid in the two trailer lanes prior to loading. After arrival in San Juan, the cargo was rolled off of the barge and securely stowed, ready to be collected by ATSI.

Crowley recently announced an expanded long-term lease with Jaxport, which will see the company relocate its Puerto Rican service from its private terminal alongside Jacksonville's harbour to the port's Talleyrand Marine Terminal.

Crowley is also building two new LNG-powered con-ro vessels for the Puerto Rican trade, which are scheduled for delivery in 2017.