IFLN News 2018

The Stars Aligned for IFLN Members in Power Engine Shipment from Germany to Argentina

   Two IFLN forwarders, BTG International Spedition Germany and Clippers Argentina, recently worked together on the complex transatlantic shipment of an outsize piece of project cargo. Both are members of the IFLN Network and its new IFLN Global Projects network; the latter consisting only of project cargo shipping specialists.

   Their collaboration on this project cargo shipment highlighted the value of these two IFLN networks’ connections. In particular, perhaps, their successful cooperation once again illustrated that one of the major benefits of membership of the IFLN Global Projects network is the access it gives to IFLN’s global reach, given that the grouping encompasses nearly 300 logistics specialists located across 100 countries.

   A regular customer of BTG, Finning – the world’s largest distributor of Caterpillar products – approached BTG Hamburg branch manager Lars Nitzsche to ask him to quote on the task of moving a Caterpillar marine engine ex works from Germany to Argentina. BTG won that tender.

   Separately, Clippers Argentina was asked by one of its regular clients, a South American investment bank, to supply integral logistics for the same shipment, to oversee the ocean freight together with BTG and to focus on issuing all transport documents corresponding to Argentina’s strict Customs requirements, as well as to arrange the local handling of that same shipment to its final destination in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Given that Clippers and BTG are long-time partners and collaborators on such complex international shipments, the stars seemed to have been aligned on this shipment.

BTG  International Spedition Germany
BTG loading and securing the outsize cargo on the truck at Rostock.

   The transatlantic movement of the 50-ton engine, plus component gearbox, generator and other parts, required extremely careful handling. BTG handled the pre-transport arrangements out of Germany, worked with Caterpillar, the engine manufacturer and shipper on the movement, and handled all the logistics associated with the land transport of the cargo from Rostock to Hamburg on a specially arranged low-loader.

   As Nitzsche explained, BTG’s tasks also involved securing the required regulatory permits for the outsize load, arranging and overseeing the ocean-going shipment of the consignment from Hamburg to Zárate, which lies north of Buenos Aires, in partnership with Clippers.

   Clippers handled the Argentina end of the operation, arranging and overseeing Customs clearance at Zárate, the unloading of the cargo from the ship and then, the overland movement of the cargo to its final destination in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires.

   The bigger parts of the consignment (weighing in at 86 tons and having a footprint of 106 cubic meters) were transported as breakbulk cargo on-board ship, while the smaller units were moved in containers (a 20’ high-cube container and a 20’ dry cargo container) on their long journey from Hamburg to the port of Zárate. Then, from the port terminal in Zárate, the cargo was driven to the final destination on MAFIs.

   Shipping from Hamburg began late 2017, with arrival at Zárate in mid-January this year. Following Customs clearance that month, the cargo was transported up to Mar del Plata in the first days of February, with the installation of the engine onto its host vessel at the wharf there in April.

Clippers Argentina
Clippers oversaw the project cargo’s movement
to its final destination in Mar del Plata.

   Federico Boettner, Clipper Argentina’s logistics & project manager, explains some of the complexities of the shipment. “Although only a single manufacturer/shipper was involved, the complexity of the import Customs declaration required highly detailed tariff classification for the purpose of providing the client and final consignee of the goods with the correct declaration, and therefore smooth inspection and Customs clearance.”

   For the transport of the cargo from Zárate to Mar del Plata – a distance of 500km, Clippers had to hire one of the lowest low-bed trailers on the market in order to be able to get into the client's premises due to the difficult entrance structure.

   Furthermore, as had been the case in Germany, special road permits had to be obtained from the relevant authorities, and in some sections a police escort was necessary. All this was carried out "to the total satisfaction of the client and the final consignee of the load," Boettner points out.

   Even then, the job wasn’t quite finished. Following the successful delivery of the new engine to Mar del Plata, Clippers undertook the operational coordination of the loading on-board and installation of the engine and gearbox into their new home on the fishing vessel Ponte de Rande.

   While this complex transatlantic shipment offered challenges to both IFLN forwarders, it did not deter BTG and Clippers from completing it to the customer’s satisfaction. More so, the project cargo shipment offered a unique opportunity for teamwork among IFLN Members, representing the true value of IFLN’s global reach.

Previous News IFLN News