VIDEO: Ahlers delivers 6,000 freight tons to Russia
Over 50 standard and oversized truckloads is what it took the freight forwarding specialist Ahlers to transport a complete air separation unit from four separate countries to Moglino in Russia. Several of the oversized units had a weight of 85 tonnes and the total volume of the cargo was about 6,000 freight tonnes.
The air separation plant was ordered from Italy by a company in the Russian city of Moglino. The parts that needed to be transported to Russia came from Italy, Spain, Turkey and South Korea. The largest units leaving the factory in Italy were two cold boxes where the largest one was 35 meters long, 5,5 meters wide, and 5 meters high. These cold boxes were first transported by road to the Port of Marghera (Venice) where they left for Ust-Luga port in Russia by chartered vessel. Upon arrival to the destination port, these units were again reloaded onto trucks and transported to the final job site.
Another lot of heavily oversized units was shipped by vessel from Masan, Korea, via Zeebrugge, Belgium to St. Petersburg, Russia. Upon arrival to St Petersburg, these units were also reloaded to trucks and delivered to Moglino, Russia.
Six-day trip in Italy
The bigger and heavier the cargo, the bigger the challenge. Each route has limitations in terms of the size and weight of the load that can be transported. This can be because of bridges or tunnels, other landmarks or buildings that make it impossible. Most of the oversized cargo was shipped through the Port of St. Petersburg and transported further to Moglino, but this was not an option for the two largest units.
For these units, transporting them from the factory in Italy up to the nearest port was already a challenge. Because of all the required works on the route, such as railway crossings, electrical wire lifting, and removal of street furniture – covering a distance of approximately 250 km took six days.
Temporary bridge solutions in Russia
The main challenge was the transport on the Russian territory. As previously conducted route survey showed that transport from St Petersburg was not feasible, Ahlers used an alternative route using the Port of Ust-Luga.
Port of Ust-Luga is mainly a bulk cargo port, so the challenge here was that there was no suitable equipment readily available at the port to unload the units from the arriving vessel. Ahlers team designed and certified special beams and spreaders, which made it possible to safely handle this cargo.
The main hurdle for the remaining leg of the trip of these cold boxes was several bridges that needed to be crossed en route to the final job site. The composition of the trailers together with the cargo was too heavy to cross these bridges. After an agreement with the relevant transport authorities, certain civil works were done and whenever the load was too heavy for a bridge, temporary fly-over bridges were installed.
This operation was done for 3 bridges in the Pskov region and to assist with the installation of these temporary fly-over bridges, suitable cranes were brought to the location and normal traffic was re-routed for the duration of this operation.
Ahlers tackled legal and customs challenges
Transporting oversized cargo through Russia not only poses operational challenges but equally carries legal and procedural challenges. Permits to move oversized units through tunnels, towns, and across bridges require obtaining authorisations from local authorities and infrastructure owners. These are then submitted to the federal authorities for obtaining the final permit for the entire route.
Additionally, with the seller needing to import the plant from various origins to Russia, this posed a major customs challenge. All paperwork that needed to be submitted to the Russian Customs Authorities was arranged and managed by Ahlers customs specialists.
For the buyer, it was essential to import the plant as a whole production line, because then a zero percent import duty would apply. Ahlers handled the customs process for both the seller and the buyer, which made importing into Russia as smooth as possible.