Like a fish out of water
Swiss lake-hopping. Trucks don’t cross the waters and ships don’t travel over land. Sometimes, however, this logic is undermined. For example, when a shipping line operating on one Swiss lake, the 24 km2 Walensee, buys a unit from a shipping line active on another one, the 38 km2 Lake Zug.
The MS Schwyz, the smallest unit of the fleet on the Zugersee, is getting ready to undertake precisely such a trip soon. The motor ship for 150 passengers weighs 100 t and is no less than 5.6 m high, making it quite a hefty transport task. Covering the distance between the two waters, which is only about 70 km, is the task of the company Käppeli Logistik, from Sargans (Switzerland).
Precise route planning
The task is still very much in the planning phase, as the 100 t vessel isn’t scheduled to set off until November. However, the route has already been announced by the transport company.
Most of the journey will take place on a low-loader, but the overland route will be interrupted by a stage on the waters. Lake Zurich, which lies along the way, will host an intermediate stage of about 30 km, between the lake’s ports of Horgen and Nuolen. According to Käppeli Logistik, 400 t cranes will be in action to handle the ship.
The classic solution for many heavylift transports – taking the motorway overnight – isn’t possible, not because the ship is 32 m long and 7 m wide, but because it’s too high for the route.
Thus Corsin Giger, Käppeli Logistik’s head of special transports, plans to use main and secondary roads. “We’re now getting all the permits in from the villages, cities and cantons concerned.”
Overall, the transport is expected to take about a week. The fact that the low-loader transporting the MS Schwyz only travels at 20–30 km/h is likely to be the least of the problems. A team of 30 people will form the escort.
At its destination the ship will be overhauled at the shipyard and is expected to be in action from the start of the season, in spring 2024. Daniel Grünenfelder, the managing director of the operator ‘Schiffsbetrieb Walensee’, hasn’t revealed the MS Schwyz’s new name yet. 2024 still holds many a surprise for us.