On its website, Erie, Pa.-based freight transportation and warehousing firm Logistics Plus Inc. describes itself as "the company that 'gives a s***' (GAS) by handling supply chain challenges from start to finish."
The company recently had a chance to make good on that claim when it landed a job coordinating the overseas movement of some extremely awkward cargo—127 sections of 40-foot-long gas pipes and two 190-foot, 28,000-pound windmill blades.
Compounding the challenge was the distance involved: The pipes were shipped from a factory in Bremen, Germany, to Dundee, Mich., while the blades were transported from Bremen to Gratiot, Mich. Logistics Plus brokered the move, helping the shipper select the lowest-cost U.S. port and ground transportation options, and serving as liaison with the parties providing ocean transportation, forklift and crane services, and inspection services.
The voyage began when the colossal items were booked on a two-week ocean journey aboard the 411-foot Faglegracht, a Spliethoff Lines vessel out of Amsterdam. On July 6, the ship arrived at Michigan's Port of Monroe, which is located on Lake Erie about 40 miles south of Detroit, making it the first European cargo liner to dock at the port since the 1960s.
Overall, the job demanded communication between seven companies on two continents, including organizations specializing in logistics, cranes and rigging, and cargo surveying.
After their ocean voyage, the enormous blades and pipes still faced the domestic leg of their journey. The team accomplished the complex move through a series of 60 full truckloads between the port and the final destinations.