Oversized goods are making their way on the rail
Last year, the international transport and logistics company Operail transported oversized goods for a record-breaking 335 times. In the last five years, the volume of oversized goods moving on platform wagons has increased by more than a quarter.
Kirill Spektor, chief specialist of freight conditions at Operail, thinks that the reason for the years-long growth trend is the fact that, in cooperation with ports, terminals, and freight forwarders, a reliable transit channel with a high price-quality ratio has been built from the Estonian transport corridor. “We pride ourselves on the excellent communication and cooperation we have established with freight forwarders and on our ability to provide customers with operationally safe, innovative and high-quality solutions,” says Spektor. While in 2015, 263 special loading schemes for the transport of non-standard goods were approved, 335 were approved in 2020, i.e., there has been a growth of 27% in five years.
More and more goods arrive at our ports and continue their journey along the railway, thus protecting the environment and reducing road traffic. Spektor points out that one of their biggest projects last year was the transport of Sampo Rosenlew’s combine harvesters: “A total of 48 disassembled combine harvesters were brought from Finland to the port of Paldiski by 75 trucks. In cooperation with the loading terminal and the freight forwarder, however, we loaded them onto a total of 18 wagons and sent them to their destination in Azerbaijan.”
According to Spektor, rail transport has several advantages over road transport. As an example, he cites the transport via railway from Estonia to the North Caucasus of six 29.5-metre and 40-tonne crane beams manufactured in Kohtla-Järve: “From the factory to the port of Paldiski, the beams moved under very strict regulations with the cooperation of the Transport Administration and with escort cars. At the port, the massive crane beams were loaded onto six wagons, to which we added seven empty cover wagons to increase safety, and all the wagons moved to their destination as a conventional freight train.”
The year 2020 brought many more exciting challenges for Operail, especially in the field of non-standard cargo transport. “We were entrusted with a number of exclusive and especially complex project cargoes, all of which successfully reached their destinations,” says Spektor. One of the most complicated projects of the past year was the transport of a 45-metre-long autoclave from the port of Paldiski to the Ulyanovsk region in Russia. “For this, we used a particularly rare 16-axle, 50-metre trailer-type conveyor consisting of four wagons, on which the goods were supported on the rotating fasteners of two end wagons,” Spektor describes. The use of such a design enables the safe transport of non-standard long goods and ensures smooth passage in railway curves.
Operail has previously transported a variety of non-standard loads, including cranes, bulldozers, graders, combine harvesters, tractors, excavators, roadwork machinery, crushing equipment, trucks, dump trucks, metal structures, rollers, boxed equipment, 50-metre-long rails, disassembled boats and other loads by rail.