Karl Gross Internationale Spedition GmbH, a leading German freight forwarder with a global network of offices around the world, was looking for the most efficient option for transporting parts for an industrial press used in the production of an electric car between southern Germany and California. The shipment consisted of 49 breakbulk pieces, representing some 2765 freight tonnes. This included a huge, single piece of 208 tonnes.

Karl Gross needed a high frequency of regular sailings, combined with the shortest transit time. Any RoRo solution had to be able to compete with the Heavy Lift vessel operators.

The Schuler press parts was transported from the manufacturing site in southern Germany to the automotive plant in California. As well as the single heavy unit of 208 tonnes, four 137-tonne components also had to be transported.

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After working on planning and preparations, WWL decided to transport the components in three loads from its hub port in Bremerhaven to Port Hueneme in California. The first batch was successfully transported in December and the last two in January and February.

Sabrina Wacker, WWL Account Manager for Breakbulk in the Bremen office comments:

“This was a challenging project, especially because we had a single, large piece weighing 208 tonnes. This needed dedicated, specialist equipment.”

“Additionally, because these parts are for the new production line, it was crucial that they arrive on time. Every operation – from the barge transportation from the Schuler factory, to the handling in the port and onto the vessel – had to be perfectly aligned to ensure a smooth operation.”

WWL offer short transit time and regular, frequent service

Karl Gross chose the RoRo option because of WWL’s short transit time and reliable, regular sailings. WWL could offer its weekly shuttle service between Bremerhaven and Port Hueneme of just 25 days transit.

“The customer’s alternative would be to charter a costly Heavy Lift vessel, but the heavylift companies do not operate regular scheduled services, so there is always the risk that they will not arrive on time”, says Account Manager Sabrina Wacker.

The first shipment went on WWL’s MV TULANE, with a ramp capacity of 320 tonnes. The second load was transported on MV THEBEN and the final shipment went on the MV Porgy end-February. The 208-tonne piece was towed onboard by a self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) and then stowed on blocks and beams for the ocean voyage. The four 137.5-tonne press components were stowed on WWL’s special heavylift Samson trailer, which has a capacity of 220 tonnes. These dedicated trailers are based at WWL’s hub ports.

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Both Karl Gross and Schuler were convinced by the RoRo solution and see it as a good alternative for new projects. The forwarding company particularly, sees the advantage of under deck shipments, which lead to significant savings in packaging costs.

With the production of the new electric car model expected to get underway in August, WWL is proud that RoRo proved the right solution for this complex and challenging breakbulk project.