If man can build it, shipping is necessary! Whether by truck, rail, steamship or airplane; raw materials, assemblies and finished goods need to be transported to all parts of the world. When that type of shipping involves ocean vessels, the 40-foot container is the most popular option for moving cargo. Since its “invention” 60 years ago, the 40-foot container and its derivatives move 52 percent of all seaborne cargo.
Obviously, not everything fits perfectly into a 40-foot box. For example, oil, iron ore, cement, corn and soybeans are qualified as “bulk cargo” and, therefore, must use alternative options to efficiently transport goods in bulk. Statistically, approximately one-fifth of all seaborne cargo is moved as bulk cargo.
Other specialized cargo is by nature inefficient and often impossible to ship within a standard container given its size, weight and the white-glove service it requires.
M.E. Dey, a locally based freight forwarder and Customs Broker, handles specialized transportation and the management of many of these types of shipments each year. Our Export Manager, Brian Shea, explains in more detail the complexities that come with these kinds of shipments: “Specialized cargo shipments are unique in their kind and, therefore, come with higher risk of staying compliant and being transported safely from origin to destination … Quite often, such shipments require supervision at the site of loading and unloading, and can take months or even years to plan. With these types of shipments, it is highly recommended to use an experienced forwarder that is reputable in managing specialized projects.”
Much of the advanced work in managing specialized shipments goes into the coordination and planning. As part of this work, all involved parties must take on responsibilities for the shipment and agree upon terms long before shipment takes place. Here are a few of the topics that need to be addressed in order to plan the journey of an oversized shipment:
- Who will pack and move the cargo to the port of landing?
- Will there be a required pre-shipment survey? Who pays for this service?
- Who will take on the responsibility of paying for the ocean transportation and insurance?
- When will the title of the goods transfer?
- For truck transportation, will the cargo need special permits and/or a police escort? Can the cargo only be moved by rail? If by truck, must it move only on weekends?
- Is there a delivery deadline and sufficient time built into the project to arrange timely transit? What are the consequences of a missed deadline?
In our 110 year history, M.E. Dey has had the honor in moving several specialized projects, including historic sites and artifacts that are well known in the community. Here is a list of a few of the projects, along with some interesting facts, for oversize shipments moved in and out of Wisconsin:
- The support beams for Miller Park were transported from the Port of Milwaukee to a construction site in order to build the retracting roof for the stadium.
- One of only eight stave churches in the U.S., the historic Wisconsin landmark known as Little Norway was dissembled in 2016 and carefully returned to Orkdal, Norway.
- In 2008, a pair of carved stone lions were gifted to the City of Milwaukee from Ningbo, China and safely transported. Today, they can be found guarding the Zeidler Municipal Building on Broadway Street, Downtown.
- A breathtaking 17-foot-tall stainless masterpiece known as the Shofar Krakow was sculpted by local artist, Richard Edelman, and was safely transported to the Holocaust memorial in Krakow, Poland in 2015.