August 14 - Schenker-Seino and ECL Americas teamed-up to complete the delivery of three 315-tonne cable spools from Japan to San Francisco, USA.

Sumimoto Electric USA required the cable spools for a PG&E project to install submarine electrical cables in the San Francisco Bay.

In addition to the weight of the cargo, schedule requirements made the project particularly challenging. The cargo was shipped from Japan at the beginning of April, but delivery to PG&E was not scheduled until June, with each spool to be positioned on a cable-laying barge at weekly intervals. 

Wataru Kobayashi, special advisor at Schenker-Seino and ECL Americas, researched the project for nearly two years, considering numerous locations and crane scenarios.

Suitable floating crane capacity was unavailable in the San Francisco Bay area; mobilising craneage from Long Beach and Canada was considered but was ultimately too costly. A special ringer crane was found, however, it could not be used at the Port of San Francisco Pier 80 Omni Terminal, as it could not support the combined weight of crane and cargo.

"We ultimately chose to use the ocean vessels carrying the cargo from Japan for the complete crane works," said Bill Christ, executive vice president and coo of ECL Americas.

The first two spools arrived on the BBC Chartering vessel BBC Coral in May and were discharged on to a temporary storage barge until ready for the cable laying operation.

In June, BBC Greenland arrived with the third spool. The heavy lift vessel was placed on extended charter by Schenker-Seino, and completed the first trans-loading from the storage barge to the cable-laying barge. This process was repeated at weekly intervals for the remaining two spools.

The operation was complicated further by tight workspace on the cable-laying barge, requiring extreme precision by the port captain, ship's crew and Metropolitan Stevedoring.