Customised equipment to transport 43.5m long trams

2 November 2017

Recently Höegh Autoliners was asked to transport the first two of four Bombardier trams from Germany to Australia for the extension of the Gold Coast Light Rail System (GCLR).

The project involves extending the northern line of the GCLR system to connect with the main Brisbane to Gold Coast train line ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

DB Schenker, global freight forwarder tasked to handle Bombardier’s logistic operations, in turn chose Höegh Autoliners to provide the ocean transportation with their experience in handling out-of-gauge cargo and providing customised RoRo solutions.

With each tram comprising of a length of 43.5 metres, this presented a challenge, as the units could not be placed on a single rolltrailer, which has a maximum length of 24.4 metres.

Geir Paulsen, Global Breakbulk Operation Manager says,

We came up with a unique solution – the extended rolltrailer concept – which involves placing two railed rolltrailers in front of each other and connecting them with our Höegh Bridge. These have been tested and approved and the prototype was used for this operation.

Geir continues, "The railcars were loaded on a special truck trailer at the factory in Austria and driven directly on board Höegh Traveller in Bremerhaven. On board the vessel, the trams were pulled from the 50 metre long truck trailer to the extended rolltrailer concept.”

Breaking a record, this was the first time a tram of this size has been loaded in one piece on a RoRo vessel. The railcars were successfully discharged in Brisbane following their six-week, 14 000 nautical mile sea journey.

Geir continues,

With the success of this shipment it proves that our development in customised solutions offer higher quality and less risk for new types of cargo which would not have normally been loaded on a RoRo vessel in the past.

Watch a video of the operation below.