Why investing time and money in maintenance pays off

As the world’s leading RoRo operator, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean manages a large and versatile fleet of cargo handling equipment with the capacity to load cargo of various shapes, sizes and weights.

Johanna Karlberg

WW Ocean operates the largest and most advanced RoRo handling equipment fleet in the world and is constantly looking for new ways to handle higher, heavier and longer cargo. We caught up with Johanna Karlberg, who is responsible for Equipment Planning, to find out how the fleet is kept shipshape at all times and why this is so important.

What is the capacity of WW Ocean’s handling equipment fleet?

WW Ocean has a cargo carrying equipment fleet consisting of some 8,000 units. This includes 4,600 roll trailers, ranging from 20 to 82 feet, with heights starting as low as 45 cm, and the capacity to carry up to 140 tonnes.

We also operate special equipment, such as the Samson trailers and Blocks and Beams used for cargo weighing more than 140 tonnes, as well as the new Multipurpose Bogie concept. This is intended for trains, railcars and long cargo, but can also be used to design unique, custom-made transport solutions for a wide variety of cargo needs.

Equipment maintenance 1

New equipment has just arrived at the premises and waits for initial inspection just after receiving stickers.

Equipment maintenance 2

A roll trailer is pushed into paint box to receive a new coating after maintenance and repair works have been performed.

Equipment maintenance 3

The suspension of a roll trailer is reinforced. Welding jobs and any other required skilled manual work are performed directly in the maintenance workshop by fully certified employees.

Equipment maintenance 4

The cleaned bearing (bottom) receives a new coating of grease and looks like new (top). WW Ocean uses only high-quality bearings from a German manufacturer.

Equipment maintenance 5

Each bearing is degreased and inspected for damage.

Why is this fleet so important to WW Ocean’s customers?

At WW Ocean, we are constantly working to find new ways to handle higher, heavier and longer cargo. Thanks to the size and extensive capabilities of our equipment handling fleet, we have plenty of options to choose between. With our equipment positioned across the globe, we avoid time-consuming and costly equipment moves, thus reducing lead-times for our customers.

How is WW Ocean’s handling equipment fleet kept in optimal condition?

As part of our maintenance programme, every unit in the fleet is inspected every two years as standard. Whenever a unit is discharged in Bremerhaven – where our repair shop is located – it undergoes a visual inspection, regardless of its condition. Any units displaying damage are thoroughly inspected and repaired.

All units at every port are also visually inspected prior to use. We have found that these frequent inspections significantly reduce wear and tear and that preventive maintenance allows us to identify possible issues before they become a serious problem.

Equipment maintenance 6

While one wheel-set is removed to check bearings and suspensions in detail, the workshop employee makes sure, the pre-defined checklist is followed step-by-step.

Equipment maintenance 7

After all maintenance is performed and just before entering the paint box, the roll trailer is thoroughly cleaned.

Equipment maintenance 8

Dust caps are checked for tight fitting to ensure dirt and fluids are kept out of the bearings.

Equipment maintenance 9

Free movement of the axles in all directions and mobility of the bearings are checked.

Equipment maintenance 10

Planks are checked for damage and integrity.

How do you manage downtime?

We use state-of-the-art-diagnostics and keep detailed records of maintenance and repairs, so we always know when a unit is up for its two-yearly service. Standard maintenance typically takes up to two days, while five or more days of downtime might be required for severely damaged units.

How does regular maintenance mitigate risk?

We recently worked with a leasing company to evaluate our maintenance and repair programme, proving that our maintenance work significantly extends service life. The leasing company looked at two units in our fleet that had been loaded 94 and 116 times, respectively.

Taking them apart, they found that they appeared to be in close to totally new condition, thanks to our thorough maintenance and repair programme. This is important to avoid cargo damages as well as personal injuries. Knowing that our equipment is kept shipshape, our customers can trust WW Ocean to move their cargo in a safe, reliable manner.

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