Most people have a childhood memory of travelling long distance with their families and being utterly gobsmacked at the sight of one of those enormous Heavy Load trucks carrying an Abnormal Load. With their red flags and escort cars with flashing lights, these open-road behemoths have over the years provided quite a sight and much to talk about for awestruck kids and adults alike.
Transporting Abnormal Loads is one of haulage experts Concargo’s specialties. And when the company was recently awarded a contract to transport a massive load of Project Freight consisting of structural steel from China, from the port of Saldanha to a mine in Postmasburg near Sishen in the Northern Cape, 850 km away, they had their work cut out for them.
Hauling an Abnormal Load is a massive task. Except for the challenge of successfully getting the Heavy Loads from A to B, there’s traffic to contend with, as the movement of other vehicles can be severely constricted by these slow-moving Abnormal Load-carrying trucks. So permits have to be arranged, traffic authorities need to be informed and escort vehicles need to accompany the whole entourage. If the Heavy Load is really large, the traffic department also has to provide escorts.
The Sishen South Project Logistics was an operation of unbelievable proportions – literally. It was the biggest abnormal Out-of-Gauge cargo transport job ever hauled by Concargo and its Strategic Business Partners. The exercise took 142 people to execute, including drivers, drivers assistants, stevedores, riggers, escorts and a full Project Management team etcetera.
The Abnormal loads that had to be transported over the 850 km weighed 840 tons and measured 6200m³, using approximately 142 00 liters of diesel to get it to its destination. And there wasn’t just one truck involved, but a veritable road train of 58 enormous vehicles, of which 37 carried Abnormal Out-of-Gauge Cargo, and four Super Loads – some of them up to 9.45 meters wide. Twenty-two trucks in total had such wide loads that they took up more than one lane of traffic.
The five widest loads were to gigantic to traverse Piekenierskloof pass and had to be rerouted via the towns/Dorps of “Het Kruis” & “Graafwater”.
They even had to negotiate a pass during the journey – the Piekenierskloof Pass, through the Olifants River Mountains between Piketberg and Citrusdal. Although, at 1:16, the elevation of the pass isn’t that steep, it still provided an immense challenge for the 53 vehicles and tons of cargo involved – its highest point is 519 meters above sea level.
Because of the size of the cargo, the entourage had to be accompanied by 18 escort vehicles, as well as 36 provincial traffic escorts from each of the two provinces they travelled through.
The entire Project took six weeks to complete, and the cargo arrived and was unloaded safely at its destination. Definitely a project to be added to Concargo’s list of achievements!