The Complexity of Planning Project Cargo

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Project cargo is a term that describes the transportation of valuable equipment that is too large or heavy to fit inside a regular truck or container. Project cargo requires more extensive and complicated planning with a lot of lead time, more than most people realize.

Recently, Canaan Group rose to the challenge of successfully transporting 2 turbine sets with only 3 weeks’ notice — a very short amount of lead time — which caused a lot of unnecessary complications. 3 weeks is not enough time, for example, to secure road permits, in this case leading to multiple route diversions for the largest lots.

This cargo required 25 trucks, all of them over-sized and over-weight, to be loaded in Iowa. One turbine set was to go to Houston, Texas, and the other needed to cross the border with a final destination of Monterrey, Mexico.

En route to Houston we encountered bad weather and the client requested tarps for some of the more sensitive lots. Because it was a weekend, we had to dispatch a crew from Kansas to meet the convoy with tarps and ladders. Our staff met the challenge and still delivered everything as expected.

Even more complicated adjustments were required for the equipment bound for Mexico. During loadout the client additionally requested the transport of a 30 foot ammonia tank, for which special permits needed to be secured. We noticed that the shipper had placed the goods out of sequence so we needed to rearrange the loading order, saving the client from extensive detention charges and having to hire additional trucks. Border crossing to Mexico was also a challenge due to tightened security and limited permissible driving times through various cities. Our team still managed to come through for the client, delivering all equipment to both destinations safely and on time.

The planning of project cargo is extremely complex. It’s not obvious just how many factors need to be considered. They include:

  • The weight and size restrictions of the trucks themselves. Flatbed trucks are more versatile, but wide loads need visual markers or an escort, and tall loads require permits and are restricted to certain highway routes due to overpasses and other structures which cannot be removed.
  • Customs regulations and duties differ across countries, states and provinces, and need to be thoroughly and accurately accounted for to avoid significant delays.
  • It takes a lot of time to secure all the right permits, and to come up with a detailed plan and to book the right equipment for each stage of the project.
  • Having contingency plans ready to execute for any number of variables such as weather, vehicle breakdowns, the reinforcement of bundles that come loose, communication issues with partners, and so on.

Over the years, Canaan Group has developed the expertise to do project cargo well. We are so proud of our team’s dedication to amazing service, always ready to respond to the unfolding needs of our clients. We’ve learned the value of having a detailed plan A, B, and C. This allows us to be familiar with all the options and minimizes risk, helping us to find quick and creative solutions to any unexpected changes. Contact for questions about planning project cargo.