Heavylift / Breakbulk
Delicate operational sensitivity
Every manoeuvre has to be executed exactly right in project cargo operations. Jumbo’s recent transportation of a shiploader from China to Venezuela required very precise skills from all of the parties involved.
A high degree of operational skills and finesse are called for when a project cargo specialist is asked to transport a heavy and large consignment. This was once again the case when the Dutch heavylift specialist Jumbo recently transported a shiploader from Dalian (China) to the port of Palua (Venezuela).
Meagre water depth
The crane, which registered around 420 t on the scales, measured 16.3 m wide by 28 m high and was 58 m long. A tripper car weighing approximately 35 t was also on board, as was a telescopic chute and supporting structure, which came to another 10 t.
The successful completion of the operation required the navigation of unique challenges, one of them being a water depth at the port of loading of only 5.6 m. This meant that a vessel with shallow-draught capabilities was required. This posed no problem, as Jumbo vessels have strong heavylift capabilities at shallow draughts. The Fairlane, a ship in Jumbo’s H800 class, with the capacity to carry 7,051 t, was selected for the task. It has two on-board cranes which can lift 400 t each, giving quite an impressive lift when they are deployed in tandem.
In this case, however, the shiploader was lifted on board the Fairlane using Jumbo’s fork-lift method, which deploys two 24 m beams and thus brings the combined lifting capacity to 1,600 t. The beams are not stored on board a vessel but are brought into action as and when they are needed in a specific project. On this occasion they were collected from storage in Singapore by the Fairlane as it was en route to China.
After loading the cargo onto the vessel in the People’s Republic of China the ship set sail for Venezuela. The most direct route would have been through the Panama Canal. This was not an option, however, as the cargo protruded on either side of the vessel. This necessitated transporting the crane via the Cape of Good Hope instead. Scheduling played an important part in the planning of the operation, as delivery of the cargo was only possible in Venezuela’s June to September rainy season. The rainfall in this period raises the water level in the port’s fairway, thus allowing access to the quay.
Planning + engineering skills = success
Once the Fairlane had docked punctually in the Venezuelan port the next challenge arose. The cargo had to be discharged using a conveyor belt structure. The Fairlane’s capacity to lift heavy loads at an extensive outreach was crucial to the success of this order.
The shiploader is particularly important for the port of Palua, which is why Ricardo Menendez, Venezuela’s industries minister, was present for its unveiling, together with mining company representatives. The new crane will have a major impact on activity at the port, the minister said, improving performance considerably and enabling the hub to handle 7.5 million t of minerals a year, a 60% improvement on previous levels.