March 25 - Martin Bencher USA and Venezuela's TotalViax worked together to transport a 91.6-tonne rotary railcar dumper from its manufacturer's facility in New Orleans to the customer's premises 35 km away from the Venezuelan river port of Palua.
Martin Bencher first transported the cargo, which had the dimensions 10.6 m x 7.9 m x 9.7 m, from New Orleans to Houston by barge in partnership with St. Louis headquartered Ceres Barge, before it was loaded onto a BBC Chartering vessel for shipment to Venezuela.
"The barge loading was done using a hopper barge to keep the height down and overall centre of gravity low," explained managing director of Martin Bencher USA, Rodger Evans.
Martin Bencher worked closely with BBC Chartering and Ceres Barge to time the arrival of the vessel into Houston with the arrival of the barge from New Orleans, so that the cargo could be brought alongside the vessel and directly loaded onboard using the ship's own cranes, said Evans.
When the vessel arrived at the port of Palua, which is situated along the Orinoco River, it was discovered that the draft was too shallow to use the vessel's own cranes in the unloading of the cargo, so the port cranes had to be used instead.
Once the rotary railcar dumper was successfully loaded onto the waiting trailer, TotalViax began the inland transportation of the cargo, during which there were various obstacles to overcome, including low tree branches that had to be cut down and high voltage lines that had to be shut down.
TotalViax had planned to use two side-by-side trailers, but road conditions determined that only a single trailer could be used, which was reinforced with stools at either side of the truck.
The move was particularly demanding due to the anti-government protests in Venezuela at the time, explained Alfredo Sanchez, director of TotalViax.
Since the transportation was completed in the middle of street riots and strikes, TotalViax had to obtain special permission from the local mayor to undertake the road movement and remove the obstacles en route.