FOR India's leading biofuels company, Praj Industries Limited, it was one challenging task to transport a gigantic column — 64m long and weighing 150 metric tonnes, over a 600km distance from its Kandla Special Economic Zone unit to an integrated phenol-cumene plant at Dahej in Gujarat's Bharuch District. "The ideal mode of transport would have been barges, to transport the cargo by sea from Kandla to Dahej," says Sandeep Kale, a senior executive with the Pune-based Praj industries, "But it would have cost a huge amount of money."
Mr Kale's team learnt about Allcargo's expertise in handling over-dimensional cargo and reached out for a solution. "They advised us that the consignment could be transported by road, at a much lesser cost. Within days of the initial discussion, the Allcargo team conducted a route survey, and confirmed that the project could be taken up."
The risks involved with handling the ODC were high, as the massive column had to be taken through highways and roads, some of which were not just narrow, but even in bad shape.
About five large consignments — ranging in length from 26m to 64m had to be transported by road. "What we liked about the Allcargo team was that they were confident about executing the task," says Mr Kale. "And once they took it up, they gave us detailed feedback every day and promptly responded to our queries."
Transporting the cargo by road was indeed a formidable challenge — poorly built roads, massive traffic snarls, and other vehicle users hindering movement by violating rules on the highways.
"The very first challenge was encountered while taking out the cargo from our factory," notes Mr Kale. "They had to demolish the divider outside the premises and then reconstruct it. In fact, they were accompanied by teams who would demolish and rebuild structures along the entire route."
On some stretches, temporary roads had to be built, using sandbags to ensure the smooth movement of the vehicles.
The Allcargo personnel also had to demolish many poles and other barriers along the route, and then re-erect or rebuild them once the consignments cleared the obstacles. This involved taking the requisite permissions in advance from the respective authorities to ensure smooth execution of the movement at every stage.
There were quite a few hurdles on the 600km-long journey, requiring repairs and reconstruction of pavements, replacement of electricity poles and street lights, and a series of demolitions and rebuilding. Often, at the last minute, the route had to be changed as some of the structures could not be removed.
"The entire exercise was flawless beyond imagination as we have never undertaken such a major transportation job," he points out. "But the Allcargo team made it look like routine work, given their expertise and experience in handling over-sized consignments."
The successful movement of huge components has become a landmark of sorts at Praj Industries. "It's a milestone for us. We have used photographs of the shipment in our sustainability and other manuals," Mr Kale says, adding, "Rarely does one come across the execution of such a complex project in India."
Rahul Rai, key accounts head, Projects and Engineering Solutions, Allcargo Logistics, says that his technical team did due diligence of all possible routes to transport the 64-m long cargo from Kandla to Dahej.
"We also had the cost restriction to keep in mind," he points out. "We had a strategic focus and came out with this technically challenging project."
The Allcargo team undertook a thorough job, reorganising the factory layout, moving the raw material store and breaking the exit gate at the Kandla Special Economic Zone, all the way to the last point in the journey at the destination, he says.
Indeed, it was very difficult for the client's technical team to envisage this kind of a transportation solution. "It took multiple reiterations from us to convince them and we finally safely concluded the movement, and importantly at 50% of what had originally been budgeted," adds Mr Rai.
The original plan envisaged it would take about 25 days to transport the cargo to Dahej. "But we did it in just 12 days," he adds.
Delighted with the excellent job executed by Allcargo, Praj Industries has awarded another big project for equipment that is 69m-long to Allcargo. And Mr Rai is confident that Allcargo team would soon be able to handle the even more challenging task of transporting the longest, SEZ-manufactured column, measuring 69m.
The 'Route Survey Report' from Kandla SEZ to Deepak Phenolics, Dahej, had some interesting findings and remarks: