The ICAT Logistics DTW team recently put a particularly large package onto a truck traveling from Detroit to Norfolk, Virginia where it was loaded by crane onto a flat rack and then onto a ship to begin the 10,300 nautical mile trip through the Panama Canal and ultimately to Shanghai, China. Our team called it “The Beast to the East.”
How big was it? The package was 30 feet long, 8.5 feet wide and 10 feet high. It weighed 42 tons. Certainly large, but not in a class of its own from ICAT’s perspective.
“We’ve shipped about 10 of these for this client,” said Monica Saladin, Ocean Manager at ICAT Logistics DTW. One machine that was slightly smaller was sent to India last month, for example. “There’s a great deal of coordination and planning required. And we’re really good at that,” Saladin said.
To ensure the safe and timely movement of an oversize, overweight shipment like this one, Saladin described a series of steps that are followed, beginning with what can be months of planning. There’s secure crating of the machinery, heavy-duty crane service at all locations where the machine will be moved, security escorts from Michigan to Virginia, special documentation and permits, and similar arrangements when the equipment arrives in the port of Shanghai.
“We are experts in complex shipping challenges,” she says. “We do our homework. We have a strong professional network of suppliers along every route. We anticipate what can happen and make contingency plans. And we take the same care for large or small parcels.”
“We’ve been working with this client for several years,” says Scott Gunaca, Regional Vice President of Sales at ICAT Logistics. “They chose us because right out of the box we proved that we could handle any shipment. But I think one of the main reasons we’ve continued building our relationship with them is the strength of our communication, which is essential in this work.”
When a client hands over a piece of equipment worth close to a million dollars and its business depends on its secure and timely delivery on the other side of the world, they need to feel confident that they are in good hands.
“I meet face-to-face with this client about once a week,” said Gunaca. “They know I understand their operation and the importance of the shipments they are making. We talk through every detail and I keep them informed along the way.”
For moving “The Beast,” ICAT suggested adjusting the schedule by a few days to avoid “frost laws,” or seasonal weight restrictions on speed and weight limits that are enforced by some state transportation departments in the U.S.
“By waiting a few days, we explained that the “frost laws” would be lifted and the cost of moving the equipment from Michigan to Norfolk would be significantly reduced.
“Our clients know that we’re on their side, looking for ways to reduce the worries and reduce the expense of the moving their freight anywhere in the world.”
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