UTC sets new standard for ro-ro charters

UTC sets new standard for ro-ro charters

UTC Sets New Standard with Massive Ro-Ro Charter

UTC recently transported a full charter of material handling machines for long-time customer and trusted partner, Sennebogen. 

UTC's Heavy Equipment Division coordinated the transport of 81 Sennebogen cranes on the Leo Leader, a chartered ro-ro vessel, from Bremerhaven, Germany to Charleston, South Carolina, setting a new standard for complexity and scale.

charted ro-ro vessel
Sennebogen cranes
freight tons

For 18 years, UTC has been transporting Sennebogen’s cargo to North America, building on their long-standing relationship based on trust, honesty, and confidence in each other’s abilities. UTC devised this ambitious chartering plan to safely move a large volume of equipment while being economically sound.

Departure from Bremerhaven

The journey began in Bremerhaven, Germany, as the Leo Leader set sail with unique cargo – the main deck completely filled with 81 Sennebogen material handling machines. UTC’s established relationships with shipping lines played a pivotal role in securing the necessary Ro-Ro space, a coveted commodity in an industry experiencing record movements of cranes and agriculture equipment.

The massive undertaking required meticulous planning and coordination to ensure the sheer size and weight of the shipment could be transported and loaded safely.  Multiple staging areas were set up dockside and positioned at the ready to complete the loading in one day.


Challenges & Triumphs

The magnitude of the operation was enormous, with approximately 10,000 freight tons of machinery requiring precise loading so each piece could drive on and subsequently and efficiently drive off at the final destination.

Over 80 trucks transported the equipment to the port, a process that took time to plan due to the necessity of obtaining permits and setting up staging areas. Permitting in Germany is complex and lengthy, but the UTC Bremen office has longstanding relationships with truckers and the port allowing them to expedite the process.


Loading intricacies

Patrik Meyer, UTC Manager – Heavy Equipment Development, who was on-site and directing the operation, recounts, “The loading process presented unique challenges, with every piece of machinery requiring specific positioning on the vessel. UTC has moved volumes of Sennebogen machines over the years and was familiar with each model, aiding in the proper placement of the valuable cargo. Blueprints were sent ahead of time, allowing for exact planning to ensure each unit could maneuver moving on and off the vessel, always considering the safety of the crew and equipment.”


Units were carefully placed within inches of each other to guarantee everything fit in their tight, preassigned location. In addition to the efficient use of space, the cargo’s precise weight and size were crucial for proper balancing of the vessel.

Charter complexities

The Leo Leader faced unexpected delays when it encountered a storm and two hurricanes, highlighting the complexities of managing transportation in the face of unpredictable weather.

In addition, the cargo’s final destination changed after the paperwork was complete. This necessitated swiftly revising documents for 81 pieces of equipment to clear customs.


Unloading in Charleston

UTC’s team scoped out the port before the vessel arrived in Charleston. This familiarity with the port’s setup and operations resulted in a solid, risk-free plan for discharge that led to a targeted, smooth process. The Sennebogen cargo, consisting of 79 assembled units, two unassembled units, and static cargo, was efficiently unloaded within the strict deadline.

The unloading began at 7:00 AM. The port actioned two to three people to unhook the cargo and two to three to drive and guide the units off the vessel. Multiple teams worked with precision in shifts that proceeded until 10:00 PM when all the cargo had safely moved to staging areas. The operation required careful coordination between port personnel, truck drivers, and UTC’s team to meet the vessel’s departure schedule.

A Flawless UTC Operation

Hans Meyer, UTC COO Heavy Equipment and Specialized Cargo, was proud of his team’s work. “The successful Ro-Ro charter of the Leo Leader stands as a testament to the expertise and dedication of UTC in tackling challenging logistical operations. The six-month planning process, attention to detail, and longstanding partnership with Sennebogen, the shipping lines, and the port all played pivotal roles in the operation’s success.”

Strong 18-year relationship

Constantino Lannes, President and CEO of Sennebogen North America, praised the seamless execution of the operation. “Chartering the Leo Leader was a tremendous task together with UTC to secure all this space and make sure we could deliver our machines to our customers when they expect them. We have worked with UTC for 18 years, and it has been tremendous cooperation. UTC takes care of the transportation of all our machines from Europe to the United States.”

UTC's heavy equipment team has specialized knowledge of your equipment, allowing us to provide the most innovative and cost-saving logistics solutions.

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Time-sensitive air charter

utc arranges time sensitive air charter from egypt

UTCs air freight experts recently arranged a charter to transport aero-derivative gas turbines from Egypt to Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Originating in Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh, the units were flown to Chicago O'Hare. Once they arrived, UTC further coordinated the last-mile transport to multiple destinations to support power stations.

pounds each
x 102 x 102"

Turbines were packed in specialized shipping cans for air charter transport

In total, the transport included three turbines that are components of power packs. Each pack contains a turbine, transformer, generator, and control unit. The turbines measured 218" x 102" x 102" and weighed 28,660 pounds each.

The gas turbines were transported in specialized shipping cans - hard, heavy-duty protective cases - designed to move power generation equipment.

The empty cans were transloaded onto trailers via four lifting eyes prior to placing the turbines. When the cans are fully loaded, the lifting procedure is adjusted to include a lifting bar and lashing to properly support the weight of the turbine.

Once loaded, the cans are pumped with nitrogen to displace oxygen, and sealed. These containers control the inside environment to keep out moisture and salt, which can be corrosive and damaging to expensive equipment.

LM6000 Turbines

Engineers weigh in: determining the best plane for the job

Based on the dimensions of the turbines and shipping cans, UTC's team began looking for the best airfreight solution. A charter was arranged using the IL-76, a heavy-lift cargo aircraft that UTC engineers deemed most suitable for the job. It is a workhorse used to transport cargo and troops, and for aerial refueling and firefighting.

The IL-76's cabin size is large, able to accommodate approximately 160 cubic meters, with a payload capacity of 50 tons. The tail cargo door has expanding loading ramps, and the cabin is equipped with two electric winches, each with three-ton traction, and four electric hoists with a pulling capacity of up to 10 tons. Due to its size and the onboard equipment, it was the most efficient choice for the quick turnaround needed.

UTC moves this type of equipment on a regular basis, but this door-to-door move presented several notable challenges. An unusually short unloading time span, coordinating multiple international teams, and complicated paperwork added to the complexity of this job.

Shipping can rendering II
IL-76 airplane on tarmac, blue skies in background. Urgent air charter to Egypt.

Challenge accepted: Air charter team executes plan flawlessly in face of tight unloading time frame

Arrangements began months in advance. Due to the flight crew's time constraints, they had only two hours on the ground. Each step in the process had to be performed with great precision since there was no time to spare in executing the plan.

UTC's Air Charter team was on the ground to carefully oversee the operation. Pre-coordination was key to getting the units ready to load quickly. The necessary equipment for loading and the handling crew had to be onsite and ready to spring into action.

Prior to the units landing, specialized trucks, airport storage, forklifts, security, ex-rays, airport clearance, and a myriad of other tasks were coordinated and ready. Proper paperwork, permits, certificates, and inspections were key to keeping the operation running swiftly.

UTC Overseas Air Charter Team
IL76_LM6000 CROP

Behind the scenes of an air charter transport: mobilizing cranes, forklifts, heavy duty-trucks and more

UTC provided a variety of services critical to the success of this project: customs, engineering, air freight, ground transportation, rigging, and more.

UTC's team worked closely with the engineers from Silkway Airlines to craft a loading and unloading plan for the IL76. Despite the complex paperwork involved, UTC's team arranged customs clearance, which was critical to allow for unloading.

Special ground handling equipment was required at three airports and both job sites. A 50T mobile crane with a spreader bar and rigging kit distributed pressure to avoid direct contact with container walls.

A 20T forklift with long forks for extensions, a 16T capacity forklift, three air ride flatbed trailers, airport dollies and pallets, heavy-duty trucks, and two main deck loaders assembled as a train to extend the length of the work surface were all necessary to the success of the project.

LM6000 cans unloading at port
full shipping can being loaded onto a trailer. loading beam and lashing support weight of full container. These were transported from Egypt to USA via air charter.

UTC has the knowledge and expertise to perform these transports under all types of adverse conditions. Despite the time-sensitive nature of this project, our international team had the know-how and boots on the ground to execute this plan to our customer's satisfaction.

UTC's air charter team has specialized knowledge of your equipment, allowing us to provide the most innovative and cost-saving logistics solutions.

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