Specialist Logistics Services (SLS), a specialist in the movement of out-of-gauge and abnormal project cargo, recently successfully executed one of its largest projects – the movement of seven silos and associated equipment from Sfax in Tunisia to the Wheelabrator Kemsley waste-to-energy plant in Kent, UK.
Moving project cargo requires coordination of stakeholders in multiple locations to ensure smooth and timely delivery of vital equipment. It is a complex business, involving much more than simply moving an item from A to B – though that, in itself, is a challenging task when it comes to heavy or outsize shipments.
It took two years to plan the move down to the smallest detail. In cooperation with the client and manufacturer, SLS also worked with landowners, government authorities, other transport companies and crane hire providers to ensure the delivery took place on time and on budget.
The support of Ridham Dock at Sittingbourne in the UK was also crucial. The key to the project’s success was finding a small port that was willing to make many infrastructure changes (for example levelling yards, allowing SLS to make a new exit gate) to accommodate the sheer size of the silos. Consideration also then had to be taken of the overhead power lines and a transformer located near the exit point. The trucks carrying the huge silos had to comply with safety clearances specified by the National Grid.
SLS ensured that all cargo arrived in the UK on a weekend to avoid any disruption to local businesses and the surrounding area. SLS worked closely with local contractors to organise the removal of street furniture such as bollards and signage in order to pass unhindered and replaced it by the following morning along the private road between Ridham Docks and the job site at Kemsley, whilst ensuring minimal disruption to local businesses and residents.
SLS engaged many expert parties, including marine surveyors and customs clearance agents, to deliver this project safely and economically. On top of that, it is perhaps fitting that environmental considerations were of great importance in the logistics supporting this renewable energy project.
It was imperative that the largest silos, at 7.2m in diameter and 16m long, could be shipped to the job site in one piece without using public roads in order to minimise the amount of truck movements that would have been required if the cargo had been delivered as smaller units. SLS obtained special permission to use a privately-owned road for the final leg of the silos’ journey.
Detailed planning even helped to minimise the carbon footprint of the journey, making it as efficient and direct as possible.