Transporting special, over-sized cargo

Sizing up successIn a matter of five years, ECU Saudi Arabia has made a name for itself with its ability to handle challenges in transporting over-sized machinery

Located in Saudi Arabia, the heart of oil country, ECU Saudi Arabia is a logistics company that has developed an unusual expertise of handling cargo of enormous sizes.

Founded in 2011, ECU Saudi handles over 40,000 tonnes of cargo every year. Among the top logistics providers in the region, ECU Saudi has built up strong relationships with top line customers such as GE Alstom in the energy sector, Al Marai Company and Pepsico in FMCG, SACO a hardware company and Hoshanco an office equipment business.

Big jobs

“Many of our most challenging assignments have come from transporting plant and machinery for the Energy and Oil & Gas sector,” says Hammad Yaseen, Country Manager, ECU Saudi. In fact, ECU Saudi has transported and installed over 50 transformers till date.

Here are a few examples of the company’s expertise in unusual dimensioned cargo:

  • Huge power transformers weighing 5,900 tonnes in total were moved from Germany to Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Each transformer weighed more than 420 tonnes and was of such a huge size that the road transport from the plant to the loading port had to be carefully planned to handle the movement. There were traffic restrictions on the roads and electric posts and overhead wires had to be removed to allow the cargo to pass. The project took more than six months to complete. ECU was involved in door-to-door logistics, including mobilisation and installation of the transformers on the site foundation. About 3,300 tonnes of steel structures were exported to Benghazi, Libya from Al Babtain Telecom’s Riyadh-based factory. The structures were a part of a GE-Hyundai project of 11 KVA towers. Each tower had more than 100 parts in various sizes, bundled with metal strapping. The structures were made of galvanised steel with zinc coating and had to be handled with extreme care. If the coating was damaged, it would be rejected.
  • More than 27 power transformers of different sizes and weighing between 100 and 320 tonnes, were moved from Alstom, Turkey, and installed on to foundations in various sites across Saudi Arabia. Chartered vessels were used to transport the equipment. For ECU Saudi, the task involved site-to-site service, including receiving, staging, shipping, storing, land mobilisation, road modification, reconstruction of foundations, realignment and installation.
  • From start to finish, these projects were handled by Sudin Gopi, the Operations Head of ECU Saudi Arabia, and his team in Jeddah.

Oversized challenges

Oversized or unusually dimensioned cargo brings with it unexpected challenges. Mr Yaseen explains the various aspects of logistics that are involved in managing such projects, “These projects require immense study, involvement to the core, in-depth knowledge of the trade and technical expertise. For instance, avoiding complex customs procedures at both ends is important. These cause delays and ultimately lead into detention and demurrage cost on the shipment and the vessels involved. It’s important to execute projects in a timely and smooth manner. We need to anticipate challenges in order to be prepared in advance. This is the key to successful completion of such projects.”

ECU Saudi has also faced obstacles that could not be foreseen. Says Mr Yaseen, “Once, the only road to the port was excavated and blocked just two days before the arrival of our vessel. We have had cases where the authorities have cancelled the road permit to the site at the last moment. At one point of time, a vessel that has been contracted withdrew from the shipment at a late stage. We have had a warzone declared at a site while our installation work was going on.

It’s ECU Saudi’s ability to go the extra mile and handle complexity that is appreciated by the customer. “We have a highly proactive approach towards customers, both before and after the business is awarded to us. We participate fully in resolving their technical difficulties. We find solutions, even if it is not part of our scope of work. Customers see this as true partnership qualities,” says Mr Yaseen.

ECU Saudi’s wide range of solutions in freight forwarding and contract logistics is buttressed by its added services, such as heavy lift services, air and sea vessel chartering, marine insurance, etc. “We are able to offer an actual door-to-door service – from the manufacturer’s door to the end user’s door. Customers need not approach different service providers. Plus they get more efficient control over the logistics and a greater degree of visibility on the project. The one-stop-shop concept works for their complete logistics needs,”says Mr Yaseen.

To do this, ECU has built up partnerships with different service providers, which gives them access to superior and professional expertise at very viable costs. It is this attitude towards getting the job done efficiently that has made ECU Saudi a leading name in the logistics business.

Quick Bytes

Among the top logistics providers in the region
Offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam
Bonded warehouses in Jeddah and Dammam
Brokerage and 3PL services
Handles air, ocean and road cargo
Increasing focus on non-LCL products such as FCL, Projects, Warehousing, Transportation, etc