With the largest conventional oil reserves and the second-largest reserves of natural gas in the Western Hemisphere, Venezuela is one of the world’s leading crude oil exporters. Under pressure from the international community, however, the country is also ramping up its production of alternative fuels, such as ethanol.

One company that is supporting the diversification of the Venezuelan energy market is JW Equipamentos from Brazil – a specialist manufacturer of equipment for the bioenergy sector.

In 2011, JW Equipamentos, which has 30 years’ experience developing projects and manufacturing equipment for bioenergy distilleries around the world, chartered a breakbulk vessel to deliver its first shipment of distillery equipment to Venezuela. The project was subsequently delayed and it was not until 2014 that Venezuela was ready for its next delivery.

This time, the product was extremely complex – three large evaporator towers, each 48 metres high, had to be shipped from the Port of Santos, Brazil, to Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. The towers will form part of the new ethanol distilleries in the Venezuelan states of Barinas, Portuguesa, Cojedes and Trujillo. JW Equipamentos approached freight forwarder MZX Logistics asking for a good transport solution. 

“The cargo had out-of-gauge dimensions and a complex structure that required safe handling,” says Marcia Vaz, General Manager of MZX Logistics. “WWL presented an excellent RoRo solution, using roll trailers and specialist equipment to ensure secure, efficient operations.”

According to Rodrigo Costa, WWL Brazil Sales Executive, the main challenge in the project was changing JW Equipamentos’ perspective on how to ship its products.

“The manufacturer had previously chartered break bulk vessels for shipments like these,” explains Costa. “We put a great deal of time and effort into explaining the benefits of a RoRo solution to both MZX and JW Equipamentos.”

To ensure safe handling, the towers were split into four parts, each with an average height of 12.5 metres. At the port, WWL used roll trailers for loading and unloading, thereby minimising the need for extra handling and lifting. On arrival in Venezuela, they were collected by the end customer, Odebrecht, for onward transport by truck to the distilleries.

“I personally oversaw the loading process and the timing was excellent,” says Vaz. “It took only about four hours to load the 12 modules and the handlers managed it with experience and ease.

“We’re very satisfied with the outcome. There were no risks involved in this operation; everything went very well.”

The regularity of WWL’s ocean service from Brazil to Venezuela was another vital factor that helped JW Equipamentos go with a RoRo solution. This afforded the customer, who did not know the exact dates of the shipment, flexibility with the timing, along with a guaranteed sailing schedule.

Another challenge was to ensure the product was ready for ocean transport on time. Costa explains that a license is required for certain over-sized  products and it is not uncommon for high-value cargo to be delayed in Brazilian customs.

“We negotiated with the terminal and they agreed to allow us to deliver the cargo early,” he says. “As a result, it was customs-cleared and ready to go a week before the shipment date,” he says. 

“At MZX Logistics, we’re always interested in finding reliable partners for our projects,” says Vaz. “WWL gave us an excellent solution and was very flexible. ”


About the cargo
Three large evaporator towers, each 48 m high, were transported from the Port of Santos, Brazil, to the Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, on board the WWL vessel TAGUS. In order to ensure safe handling, the towers were divided into four parts, each with an average height of 12.5 m – bringing the total shipment to 12 modules. The towers were loaded and unloaded using roll trailers and safely lashed below deck, thereby minimizing unnecessary handling or lifting.


About JW Equipamentos
Founded in 1995, JW Indústria e Comércio de Equipamentos em Aço Inoxidável specialises in the development of projects and manufacturing equipment for distilleries in the bioenergy sector. With more than 30 years of experience in this sector, JW Equipamentos’ proven technology-based production methods meet all the international standards for quality and safety. JW Equipamentos, based in São Paulo, has provided products and services to bioenergy projects in many countries, including Brazil, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Martinique, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.