Teesport was temporarily transformed into a scene resembling a science fiction film earlier this month when more than 180 futuristic-looking mine arches, each weighing in excess of 27 tonnes, were loaded onto a Rickmers-Linie vessel bound for China.
The highly unusual cargo, manufactured by Joy Mining Machinery of Worcester, UK, was handled by the award-winning Teesport operator and logistics firm, PD Ports, and loaded onto the 30,000dwt, multipurpose heavy lift vessel Rickmers Jakarta on its "Round-the-World Pearl String Service".
The mining equipment, destined for longwall and room and pillar mine operations, is designed to extract high volumes of underground coal and other bedded materials. The machines are used in pairs to create one large arch, which then cut away at the coalface whilst supporting the weight of the roof of the mine tunnel.
David Greaves, UK representative for Rickmers-Linie, said: "Teesport was selected from a range of possible UK ports as the most appropriate for the shipment of this specialist and valuable cargo. We needed a deep sea port with no locks, a skilled and readily available labour supply and good undercover storage, so PD Ports was the obvious choice."
Due to the extreme weather encountered in the UK, PD Teesport provided undercover storage for all 182 pieces in its dockside warehouse at Tees Dock in the weeks prior to shipment. The 5,000 tonne cargo was successfully loaded by PD Teesport stevedores in only two days using specialised lifting equipment designed and manufactured by PD in conjunction with advice from Joy Mining. This enabled the cargo to be loaded speedily and damage free to the shippers' specifications.
David Varey, General Manager, Conservancy and Port Development at PD Teesport, said: "We were very happy to work with Joy Mining and Rickmers-Linie in providing the specialist handling equipment and quick vessel turnaround required for this project. Rickmers-Linie is looking to build on this successful operation with further calls to Teesport in the near future."