VERTICAL FOCUS: Project Logistics
Tracking 60 Tons Across Two Continents
Shipping large, heavy, and irregular sized cargo isn’t simply a matter of getting it from point A to point B. It also requires flexibility to tackle unique challenges.
Take the case of a 60-ton autoclave moving from Germany to India. A German machinery and plant manufacturer commissioned DACHSER to ship the gas-tight sealable pressure vessel to India. The logistics company tapped its Air & Sea logistics team to precisely plan the shipment’s journey from Germany to Bangalore, India, tackling challenges along the way that smaller shipments do not face.
The autoclave left the plant in Coesfeld on a flatbed headed to Lüdinghausen. A 450-ton mobile crane then loaded the cargo onto an inland vessel that docked in Antwerp. Next, the autoclave embarked on a 21-day voyage to Chennai, India as break bulk.
After it arrived in Chennai, it still had 217 miles to travel to reach its final destination. This last leg was completed on the road, which required some special considerations.
For example, all 28 tires on the trailer needed to be replaced to allow it to navigate a railway underpass. Concrete separation blocks needed to be removed in one area so that the vehicle could turn around there, and excavation pits in the plant had to be filled in to allow delivery. In all, the last leg took two weeks to complete.
Five Tips To Tackle Big and Bulky
During the pandemic, consumers got used to having all types of items delivered, including large and bulky products, such as furniture and appliances.
But big and bulky inventory may be weighing down today’s supply chain. How should shippers respond?
Third-party logistics provider Kenco offers five tips:
1. Involve the customer where you can. Unexpected circumstances have a habit of popping up during delivery. Some shippers counteract this by asking customers to measure their spaces in their pre-delivery notes—giving delivery drivers a heads-up on any potential issues.
2. Final-mile or white-glove delivery? Final-mile delivery is faster and more cost-effective, but white glove improves the customer experience. Companies should examine what will propel their brand forward while keeping image and customer experience goals in mind.
3. Ensure you have a robust system. Customers expect the same tracking visibility for appliances and furniture as they do for smaller packages. This requires investments in technologies that optimize delivery routes, narrow down delivery windows, and communicate with customers. Skipping this step leads to tracking and customer experience challenges.
4. Have a reverse logistics strategy in place before you start. Without a plan to deal with a return rate that could reach 40%, companies risk filling available warehouse space with single-stack, unboxed returns. Avoid this by having a plan to receive and grade returns, then quickly re-box undamaged inventory for resale, process it for second-channel sales, or scrap it.
5. Lean on trusted partners. Shipping big and bulky items comes with a variety of issues. The right partner should provide expertise and guidance.
Expanding Project Logistics in The Great White North
A number of oil, gas, and offshore companies already call Eastern Canada home, but more are moving in with plans to expand renewable energy sources in the region. Case in point: work has already begun on World Energy GH2’s Project Nujio’qonik that will see 164 wind turbines built throughout Newfoundland’s largely rural Port au Port Peninsula. Big projects such as these bring big shipments, and logistics companies are ready to help.
Rhenus Logistics, for example, is opening two new business sites in Halifax and St. John’s. The company plans to kickstart its service operations related to onshore, offshore, project logistics, and transportation with customs clearance in Eastern Canada. The project logistics specialist also plans to focus its efforts on renewable energy and offshore markets.
Meanwhile, the Port of Argentia and Torrent Capital created a joint venture company, Argentina Capital, to focus on port infrastructure construction. The port is gearing up to host renewable energy companies proposing to establish facilities to produce wind energy, hydrogen, and ammonia. It is also expected to act as a staging site for offshore wind farm construction projects throughout North America.
Deliver On Time…Or Else!
Large deliveries come with a variety of challenges, but retailers need to keep their promises or it could lead to lost business. A study on big and bulky deliveries conducted by DispatchTrack shows that 61% of shoppers are unlikely to purchase from the same retailer again if the order didn’t arrive on time. The survey also finds that 44% of deliveries aren’t completed on time, so some businesses may want to take a harder look at their shipping procedures.
Improving communication and touchpoints with customers should be the first step. Customers’ top concerns are poor communication and an inability to track order status. In fact, half of the customers surveyed cite poor communication as the leading cause of a poor delivery experience. And while 90% of consumers say they want to be able to track big and bulky delivery orders online, 35% say they are unable to do so.
The survey points to areas where stores and shippers can focus efforts to improve the delivery experience. Consumers say the key components of a positive delivery experience are on-time delivery (66%), accuracy (57%), item condition (41%), speed (47%), and courteous delivery teams (38%).
Taking Big and Bulky to the Finish Line
Many businesses have standard operating procedures for shipping automobiles, but what happens when they’re asked to transport specialized, expensive, and unique cargo? AGI Bristol, for example, recently transported a Formula 1 car and simulator to Berlin.
The delivery required careful planning. The car and simulator were being shipped by road, so the team had to think creatively to guarantee no movement during transit. They placed pallets beneath the wheels, then strapped the wheels to the pallets. This method also helped by allowing the team to use a forklift when loading and unloading the car and simulator.
AGI Bristol also arranged a carnet—an international customs and temporary export-import document that is used to clear customs without paying duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months.
The shipment reached its destination safely and without any hiccups, which helped AGI Bristol secure the contract to deliver the car and simulator to its next destination—a trade show in Dubai.