Inbound Logistics | July 2022

C.H. Robinson worked with a client and many of the client’s vendors from around the globe to execute the logistics on a massive oil refinery project that took almost an entire year to plan and coordinate. These step-by-step pictures illustrate the complexity of this multimodal, multistep project. BARGE ING OUT

“There’s still huge opportunity within the traditional power market as well, with gas and steam turbines, but the biggest ramp-up is on solar and wind power,” he adds. As a result of weight and/or size, bulk cargo—whether for a renewable energy project or a bulk move serving a different industry—cannot usually be shipped by a normal container. Instead, specialty vehicles, vessels, and equipment are frequently needed to safely and effectively transport these bulk items via land, air, or ocean. Adding to the complexity, these projects also frequently include disassembly for purposes of shipment and reassembly following a delivery. IT DON’T COME EASY “Every project comes with its own unique challenges,” explains Kevin Mitchell, director of global operations at C.H. Robinson Project Logistics. “With each of these moves, we basically create a supply chain that didn’t exist before. The type of cargo we’re handling doesn’t t into the normal scope of transportation.” As a result, “normal” goes out the window when it comes to executing these types of moves. Instead, thinking outside the box, constantly being exible, and innovating new approaches is the norm. For example, C.H. Robinson recently handled a complex project—transporting parts of what will become an oil renery to a fabricator in Oklahoma. There, the parts were assembled into modules, and then sent via the Gulf of Mexico to the Port of Houston and eventually to Mexico to become building blocks for a renery. The move involved barges, a heavy-lift vessel, and a self- propelled modular transporter, a type of trailer operated by remote control. (See photo essay for more details on this fascinating project, which included eight

C.H. Robinson trucked parts of what will become an oil refinery to a fabricator in Oklahoma, where they were assembled into modules. Here the modules are moved down a steep hill to a nearby wharf using a self- propelled modular transporter (SPMT)—a type of trailer operated by remote control.

The modules are loaded onto a barge from front to back, in a carefully planned order that accounts for their di‘erent sizes and weights.

The SPMT drives right onto the barge between a series of stands, is lowered in order to rest the modules onto the stands, and then slides out—avoiding the need for a crane.

The barge with all eight modules heads from Oklahoma down a river in Louisiana on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

units with a combined weight of approximately 538 metric tons.)

Supply chain technology that provides end-to-end, real-time visibility for these complex moves plays a large role. “Technology is a huge part of what our

The barge arrives at the Port of Houston to transfer the cargo to a larger vessel for the next leg of its journey.

154 Inbound Logistics • July 2022

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