How we provide cargo handling you can trust
Sets of trains – which have been loaded onto EUKOR M/V TIGER at the port of Antwerp, Belgium in early November – finally arrived at the port of Singapore, after completing approximately 24 days of voyage. We not only have extensive experience and expertise in handling self-moving cargoes, but also stuffing, stowing, and securing non-self-moving or breakbulk cargoes of different kinds.
Heavy breakbulk cargoes – mostly taller, heavier, or bulkier than normal cargoes – come in many different forms and shapes. If you are looking for an answer to “What mode of ocean transport is the best for shipping rail cargo?” this interview with our cargo superintendent Mr. Frederic Verhofstede might help you. He organize and supervises cargo handling at our major calling ports in Europe. Let us dive in.
What was the biggest challenge in handling those recent sets of train shipment from Antwerp to Singapore?
The challenge with this recent shipment was to transfer the locomotive from truck trailer to a MAFI trailer- or roll trailer- using a connection bridge. It must be calculated in detail; we must not forget that we have a locomotive that moves very slowly with a total weight of 53 tons without brake.
Most of the cases, usually challenges we face are cargo itself. To be accurate the shape of cargo are the biggest challenges. Because cargoes all come in different shapes and sizes when they arrive at the port for loading and discharging.
Let’s say you are shipping a train. It’s easy for one to say ‘they are just trains’, but for us to provide perfect handling of the cargo, we need the correct dimensions from customer or forwarder along with pictures and technical drawings. We must be well-prepared, and not forget that we must transfer everything from a barge and a truck to a MAFI trailer with rails.
Once we receive all the information, we look at this cargo specification step by step and keep all concerned parties – such as terminal operations, forwarder as well as customer - informed of how we will handle cargo.
Are there other difficulties that affect cargo handling?
Another factor that affects cargo handling is probably weather. The weather conditions, such as wind, are very important, especially when we get cargo units with large surface area to be discharged with mobile crane from barge.
What do you think is the benefit of shipping railcars on RoRo vessel?
From customer perspective, the benefit for shipping railcars on RoRo is that we can reduce risk of damaging the cargo. It is because of the way we handle the cargo. Once trains or railcars are stuffed onto special handling equipment such as MAFI roll trailer at the port, they can easily be moved with tug master and roll on and off the vessel via stern ramp. It is simple as that.
This means customers do not have to dismantle their cargo, resulting in minimizing the risk as well as saving operation time. The railcars are then lashed, stowed, and secured on appropriate deck throughout the entire sea voyage.
Are there any new trends in rail shipment?
The new trends we see is that cargo is getting more sophisticated, and we must treat this with extreme caution. It requires for us more time and resources for preparation. This is why we need all the details about the cargo.
If you need us at the factory? We must come to you. You would like to see cargo during loading? We present what is necessary. We ensure that your cargo is handled in the safest and most efficient manner possible, aiming to gain customers confidence, trust, based on our unmatched expertise in handling heavy breakbulk cargo.
Travelling supercargo specialist
Any comment you want to make for customers when shipping railcars?
We have a strong team of inhouse experts with know-hows and a big pool of equipment to handle various types of breakbulk cargo, including customized solutions for each and every project we handle. So, if you have a cargo to ship overseas and want to request rate for your shipment, just reach out to our sales team for support.
We are always in close contact with all commercial colleagues, giving feedback back and forth whether we can do it or not and confirm as soon as possible. And make sure we provide best customer experience ever to meet customer satisfaction. The market and business are hard - which means that we must work with customers as a tandem.