Trams set sail to Mauritius

15 August 2019

Transporting light rail metro vehicles across the globe is no simple task, but it is a lot easier when you have a direct liner service and can roll the vehicles straight on to the vessel.

This is not any rail-project but the return of the rail service to Mauritius, after it closed in 1964. A prestigious project, involving transporting 18 Light Rail Vehicles (LRV) from Spain to Mauritius, where predictability and cargo safety is key.

The world-leading manufacturer of rail cars; Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), produced the units in Spain and DSV was their designated project cargo forwarder to take the LRVs to Mauritius. 

"We have successfully transported train projects for CAF before and when DSV approached us with this opportunity we were glad that we could offer a direct service from Spain to Mauritius", says Iñaki Echeverria, Head of Sales in Spain .

Only RoRo service to Mauritius

Timing is critical in these projects. With the Light Rail Vehicles manufactured in CAF’s factory in Beasain, Spain and Höegh Autoliners offering the only direct RoRo service from Santander to Port Louis, this proved the perfect fit for the customers’ schedule.

Iñaki explains,

We are well recognised in the market for being the only RoRo carrier offering a direct service to Mauritius from Europe. With the customer requiring a timely solution for their project, we were able to offer the best option.

View: Europe to Africa, the India Ocean and Oceania service

No lifting or packing of cargo

When shipping rail vehicles, Höegh Autoliners offers a safe and efficient option by using its rolltrailers. The process starts before the vessel arrives at port, with the rail vehicles transferred from the truck trailer they have been transported on, to Höegh’s rolltrailer using the Höegh Bridge.

Inaki continues, “The rolltrailers are equipped with rails and a specially designed Höegh bridge transfers the rail vehicles from the railed semi-trailers to the rolltrailer, allowing the rail vehicles to be directly rolled on and off the vessel. This eliminates the need for crane lifting in both load and discharge ports, reducing the risk of damage to the cargo and ensuring a safer and more efficient operation.”

When the vessel arrives at port, the rolltrailers are rolled on board the vessel and safely stowed underdeck, away from seawater or any elements that could contaminate it during transportation.

Inaki continues,

With our specialised equipment and RoRo vessels, the cargo is protected under deck and requires no packaging . We have been shipping rail vehicles for many years and our RoRo option offers the safest and most efficient mode of transportation for this type of breakbulk cargo.

Watch: Loading trains with Höegh Bridge

Previous experience with CAF

This is not the first project Höegh has worked with CAF on. Last September, six Light Rail Vehicles were transported from Santander to Newcastle, Australia to improve the city’s Light Rail Network.

Read more: Transporting Breakbulk to improve Newcastle’s rail network

In 2016, Höegh Autoliners also shipped 60 CAF railcars from Spain to Colombia for the expansion of the Medellin Metro network.

Read more: On the right track to Colombia

Note; The Light Rail Vehicles will be used in the Mauritius’ Metro Express light rail line, aiming to decrease traffic congestion and providing a cleaner and more reliable mode of transport for its inhabitants.