RoRo delivers for electric train project in the US

Tasked with the transportation of high-value Stadler rail car shells, freight forwarding and project logistics expert deugro required a shipping partner with a good sailing frequency to meet its project timelines and a high level of technical expertise to ensure zero-damage delivery.

RoRo ships Stadler rail cars

Destined for a new commuter line in California, a total of 133 rail car shells are and will be produced in the following months at Stadler’s manufacturing site in St. Margrethen, Switzerland. To meet project deadlines, multiple shipments are required to support a steady flow of produced units from the manufacturing site to the final destination in North America.

“With little flexibility in project schedules, we were looking for a logistics partner who offers reliability, operational safety and competitive costs,” confirms Ulf Langner, manager at deugro, Germany.

Supporting seamless rail logistics

With its RoRo liner schedule, WW Ocean is able to support the customer’s need for regular product flows, while our expansive handling equipment fleet, arguably the biggest in the RoRo market, not only helps to minimise the risk of damage when shipping high-value rail products, but also drives efficiency.

“This cargo is really fragile and it must arrive in damage-free condition,” says Joris Verhaag, sales manager for breakbulk, Germany, adding that one of the advantages of our RoRo vessels is that we can stow the units on roll trailers ahead of vessel arrival at the port of loading, which not only allows for more time to safely load the products onto roll trailers, but also results in more efficient terminal operations.

A large equipment fleet also means greater access to specialised equipment, in this case extra-length 72ft and 80ft roll trailers with imbedded rails specially designed for rail cargo. “These rails allow us to roll rail cars over to the roll trailer from a low bed truck if needed to further ensure safe loading, although this isn’t required for these rail car shells as they have no boogies,” says Verhaag.

Stadler rail cars on extra-length roll trailers

The rail cars being loaded onto roll trailers

Strategic planning for success

Tasked by Stadler to manage the entire multi-modal transport chain from their manufacturing site in Switzerland to the river port in Basel where the rail cars will then be transported by barge via inland waterways to Antwerp Euroports and loaded onto RoRo vessels for the ocean voyage to Galveston. To ensure the success of each shipment, deugro relies on comprehensive preparation.

“Our team of technical engineers has been on hand from the beginning to draw up the necessary calculations, method statements and drawings in order to ensure safe handling of the products,” explains Verhaag.

The customer cargo coordination team, who are tasked with finding the right vessel to accommodate products of this size, is equally important in the planning and success of these shipments.

Due to the size of the units – each one measures 4.77 meters in height, with the roll trailer bringing the total height up to 5.77 meters – vessels with a 6.50-meter door height are required.

“Working closely with the trade team, our customer cargo coordination team in Bremen, Germany are able to find the right voyage and vessel for each shipment,” adds Verhaag.

Now, with the first shipment of four units on its way, the rest of the rail components will set sail to the US later in the year. deugro’s office in Houston is coordinating the on-carriage journey by rail to Stadler’s manufacturing site in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“The support from the team right from the very beginning of the tender and negotiation stage for project shipments like these is what we value most in our partnership with Wallenius Wilhelmsen,” says Langner.

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