I have worked as an equipment manager at WWL for more than a decade, and during that time – and long before that – WWL has been refining its broad portfolio of equipment and operational solutions for rail cargo.

Unlike other shipping solutions, which often include multiple lifting operations that may increase risk, we believe our RoRo solutions are safer and offer more flexibility to customers. Your shipment is secured because your rail product never leaves the ground once it is attached to our equipment.

When it comes to size, our current shipping solutions can handle rail products that weigh up to 140 tonnes and are up to 44 metres long. We continually like to challenge ourselves in order to surpass even these limits. Customers also benefit from our large fleet of vessels that are designed with a high main deck clearance, up to 7.1 metres.

So how do we work with customers on rail shipments?

The process always starts by getting as many details about the shipment as possible. Aside from details of dimensions and weights, our teams work with customers to learn their specific requirements, for example ‘where can we lash the cargo and how should we block the suspension in railcars’. This dialogue is important, since rail equipment is more sensitive today than in the past, with lighter materials and widely varying bogie dimensions.

Once we learn the details of the shipment, we have a number of standard equipment-handling solutions to cater for different rail cargo types. One equipment solution is our railed roll trailers, which are available in 62-, 72- and 80-foot lengths with capacities from 80 to 100 tonnes.

We have also developed our own multi-purpose bogies (MPBs). This is a flexible equipment platform suitable for a wide range of different cargo types, such as railcars, locomotives, small and medium-sized generators, and all types of long construction pieces. A key advantage with our MPBs is that they offer flexibility in meeting different cargo and shipping requirements.  They reduce overall weight and height compared with a traditional roll trailer solution. This gives you more vessels from our fleet to choose from, and therefore more options in meeting your target dates.

If none of our standard equipment options are suitable for your rail cargo, we have the in-house engineering competence and experience to find a custom transport solution.

Once we know which solution we will use, or what we need to build, we then shift our focus to the logistics part. We get all the required equipment, such as roll trailers and lashing, to the port of load. We then finalise the plans to ensure your cargo is smoothly moved onto and off the vessel. This can include calculating ideal ballast conditions and tidal times in order to minimize ramp angles.

It is our attention to detail, before, during and after the voyage, that has given WWL a reputation as a high-quality carrier. I am proud that our shipping solutions have advanced right along with the rail industry. As the rail industry becomes more innovative, so do we. We look forward to helping you with your next rail shipment, in whatever form it takes.