Multimodal Transport of 5 RMGCs

UTC Global Logistics


UTC’s global network recently coordinated the transport of five rail-mounted gantry cranes from China to USA.

A total of 30,000 cbm of cargo shipped from Taicang, China on four part-charter vessels to Houston, TX, Cleveland, OH, and Burns Harbor, IN, USA. The project included 168 out-of-gauge pieces, along with parts and accessories, totaling 2,776 tons of freight.

breakbulk pieces
tons of freight
CBM of cargo

Complex logistics projects require innovative solutions – and that’s just what UTC is known for. When a global client reached out to UTC's Finland office to design a customized logistics plan to transport five rail-mounted gantry (RMG) cranes from Taicang, China to Indiana, USA, our team immediately started working on the quickest, most cost-effective solution.

UTC was awarded the project and within two weeks, cargo was moving towards its destination.

Project planning is critical to the success of a complex multimodal move of over 30,000cbm of cargo. When UTC Finland was approached, they immediately engaged UTC’s global network to develop a logistics strategy. Initially, the plan was to ship all cargo to Houston, utilize rail for containerized cargo, and transport the oversized cargo upriver by barge to the final destination, but this was not possible due to channel closures and several other factors. The plan required further adjusting when the client needed the cranes transported in larger pieces for quicker assembly upon delivery.

After tailoring a logistics strategy that optimized transport of over-dimensional cargo and delivery sequencing, UTC set its plan in motion.

UTC split the 2,776 tons of cargo originating in Taicang, China, into four part-chartered shipments. Two heavy-lift vessels would transit the Great Lakes to Burns Harbor, Indiana, USA, to discharge the largest over-dimensional components, and continue on to Cleveland, Ohio, USA to offload containerized parts and accessories. Other large components compatible with rail transport were shipped to Houston, Texas, USA via a third and fourth part-charter heavy lift-vessel.

part-charter vessels

As the cargo loaded in China, UTC’s team in Houston worked to obtain rail clearances urgently. Clearances for over-dimensional cargo can be challenging to get under normal circumstances, but UTC’s in-depth discussions and pre-planning allowed for fast-tracked approval.  

The largest pieces, five crane trolleys (21m x 6.6m, weighing approximately 70 metric tons), went to Burns Harbor, IN. UTC worked with local partners to find a suitable location for barge offloading and mobilized a 500-ton crane capable of lifting the over-dimensional pieces.

beams WP

Upon arrival, these pieces were discharged directly from the ship onto three barges for last-mile transport (pictured below). At the final job site, SPMTs were used to unload the equipment from the barge.


The cargo shipped to Houston required over 60 rail cars to reach its final destination.

Once the cargo arrived in Houston, we were moving at double-speed. UTC’s Rail logistics team arranged for the dedicated railhead to receive the cargo directly from the heavy-lift vessel. Once these were lined up, the cargo was offloaded over the course of a few days and was then on its way,” recalls JoAnn Zelaya, UTC’s Director of Rail, Rigging & Heavy Haul.

The volume of cargo, along with its oversized nature, meant that dozens of rail cars would be needed. These large components weighed in at 70 metric tons, but their out-of-gauge nature – very long and tall pieces – required shallow cars to meet rail clearances. 

UTC’s team had multiple in-depth discussions with the railroads to find the most economical route for the cargo volume.

By consolidating all rail loads to two special, dedicated trains, we brought transit time for all pieces down to 4-5 days. This allowed the job site to optimize their setup and equipment for expedited unloading and assembly of the cranes in an extremely efficient manner, significantly decreasing the construction timeframe. Other plans submitted to the customer required weeks or months of individual deliveries, and even more time for assembly after that,” says Juha Karmanto, Sales Director UTC Finland.

beam and gantry 2
beam and gantry
Global IV Intermodal Container Crane Project_Moment 1.39.45

UTC’s approach puts us ahead of the competition.

A complex, multimodal logistics project like this is a great example of UTC leveraging its global network and in-house expertise to add value for our customers. Our team developed a unique, cost-effective logistics solution that differentiated us from the competition. Furthermore, it is these kinds of dynamic projects, with multiple shipments, where UTC showcases its high level of communication and coordination skills. We worked with multiple railroads and the receiver to arrange the use of dedicated trains, separate shipments of over 30 cars each, going out of Houston directly to the final jobsite. Sourcing and coordinating the deployment of the right cars in such a large quantity was an onerous task, but fortunately UTC’s team of skilled operators are well versed in these types of projects,” says Jim Lange, Project Director.


UTC’s global team worked hand-in-hand with the customer, providing real-time updates during the project. Andrew Johnson, Project Supervisor, was appointed the direct North American contact during this project. Coordinating with UTC’s local offices in Finland, China, and the USA, he worked directly with the site construction team to ensure constant communication and smooth delivery.

We were able to provide the customer with a fine-tuned logistics strategy and direct communication that minimized the timeframe between purchase and implementation,” says Matt Loll, VP Project Development, North America. “UTC’s customers can always rely on having direct contact with UTC’s global network.”

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

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