Shipping agent Tuscor Lloyds has just completed the complex shipment of a large consignment of anchor chain from Shanghai via Antwerp to Aberdeen.

This complex and difficult to manage cargo was to be transported to one of the large deep sea oil rigs in the North Sea, but first it had to travel from Shanghai.

The cargo comprised of a 1.1 km length of heavy duty chain weighing 645 metric tonnes. The chain was segmented in 3 bundles of 215 tonnes each. The job started in Shanghai’s Luojiing terminal and was closely followed by the management team at Tuscor Lloyds from the beginning. Tuscor Lloyds has a representative at every key stage of this long journey from Shanghai via Antwerp and onto Aberdeen.

Anchor Chain - China to UK

Cargoes such as this anchor chain require specific skills in transportation and handling with only the most experienced and knowledgeable of shipping agents being capable of handling shipments of this nature. The inclusion of a transhipment in Europe onto a short sea full vessel charter only added to the complications involved in this shipment.

The dedicated project managers at Tuscor Lloyds worked tirelessly across time zones to ensure the successful loading, and reloading of the important cargo in the various ports of entry and transfer. Tuscor Lloyds provided on-site management specialists in each of the ports to oversee and advise on operations.

The first challenge presented itself immediately on the presentation of the cargo in Shanghai. The Shipping brought a barge alongside the mother vessel ready for trans-loading at the set time. The mother vessel was part chartered and as soon as the loading operation was started, the meter was running, and the owners of the mother vessel only allowed 6 hours for the job to be completed.

The chain presented to the mother vessel totally mixed up and jumbled in the barge, with all three bundles placed on top of each other in no obvious order. After lots of trial and error the ship stevedores successfully managed to work out the order of the chains and began to slowly lift the cargo from the barge into the main hold of the mother vessel. Tuscor Lloyds commissioned a new vessel which was fitted with 2 x 450 tonne cranes which could easily manage the cargo.

After the complicated bundles of chain and been understood, the loading went smoothly but all the same took slightly longer than originally expected. With a manager stationed on borad the vessel, Tuscor Lloyds provided appropriate support to the loading team, the shipper and the buyer of the anchor chains. Although the loading overran the cargo arrived at the port of Antwerp a day early.

Anchor Chain - China to UK

Tuscor Lloyds again provided on-site coordination of the trans-loading of the cargo from the mother vessel to the short sea barge in Antwerp. This time the attention and experience given to the cargo at the port of Shanghai paid off, with the full operation being completed and the barge fully loaded ahead of schedule.

Two days later the barge finally made it to Aberdeen and the chains were delivered to the end user well ahead of schedule and in time for the completion of the rig out at sea off the cost of Scotland.

Anchor Chain - China to UK

The crucial timescale and limited budget available to Tuscor Lloyds to complete this shipment demanded diligent management and high level skills in cargo handling and port operations. The company needed to hire two vessels on both full and part charter basis, and look after trans-loading operations in two overseas ports.

This type of cargo is by no means a simple job under any circumstances, let alone under the highly pressured requirements of this particular client. The fact that the shipment was completed on time, within budget and with very few problems along the way demonstrates the expertise and tenacity of the specialist project cargo at Tuscor Lloyds.