Heavy Haulage, Heavier Demands: The evolution of Project Cargo Logistics

Project cargo logistics is a specialized realm where oversized, heavy, and high value equipment pose unique challenges. And, as global trade and industrial projects surge, opportunities and complexities arise. With insights from industry experts, we, in this feature, explore the evolution of this sector, its technological advancements, and the persistent challenges it faces.

Project cargo logistics, which deals with the transportation of oversized, heavy, and high-value equipment, represents a specialized field that demands meticulous planning and expertise. This sector stands apart from regular cargo due to its distinct handling requirements associated with size and complexity.

Examples of project cargo encompass a broad spectrum, from industrial machinery to wind turbines, generators, and even modular components for construction projects. This complex cargo necessitates precision in both planning and coordination among stakeholders to guarantee the secure and timely delivery of these valuable and substantial items.

Col. Hemant Sahni, Head – Defense & Aerospace Business, Indian Sub Continent, DSV said, “Transporting such goods involves handling unique challenges and, therefore, requires unique solutions. The safe and efficient transportation of goods is a crucial factor & requires expertise in handling such cargo.

The following aspects characterize it: –

• Planning- You need to plan early for the movement, plan budgets & dovetail the project cargo movement into your strategy.

• Uniqueness- Every project cargo movement brings along unique logistical challenges. It requires breaking them into smaller parts, finding the most optimum solution and finally stitching them into a seamless cargo movement.

• Stakeholder Management- The success lies in effective & real-time coordination among various stakeholders, including shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, and project managers.

• Risk Management- A thorough risk assessment for events such as route constraints, regulatory compliance, and unforeseen circumstances and planning for mitigation strategies is the key to success.

• Timeliness- The timely movement of project cargo logistics significantly impacts project schedules and costs.”

The proficiency required includes handling unconventional loads, obtaining necessary permits, and choosing the most suitable transportation modes, be it by land, sea, or air. The significance of effective project cargo logistics is especially pronounced in industries like construction, energy, and manufacturing, where large-scale equipment is commonplace.

The Evolution

Over the years, project cargo logistics has evolved significantly to meet the modern demands driven by changes in global trade, technological advancements, and the increasing complexity of industrial projects.

“The practice of project cargo logistics in India has undergone a significant evolution over the years. It has transitioned from being predominantly price-driven and commercially oriented to a more focused approach that emphasizes technical competence and solution-oriented strategies. In today’s landscape, project owners increasingly expect a thorough understanding of how their intricate project cargo logistics will be meticulously planned and executed, even before the bidding and planning stages commence. This is a departure from the previous approach of carrying out tasks based solely on trust and credentials, with a “we will cross the bridge when it comes” mentality,” said Joby Varghese, Director, Corporate, Global Projects & Industry Solutions (GPIS), DB Schenker

This change is mostly due to the rise of globalization and the increased need for large[1]scale industrial projects requiring logistics solutions that can handle oversized, heavy, and high-value equipment and materials. S. Suresh, National Manager-Projects, Broekman Logistics, said, “Initially, logistics operations were manual, mainly dealing with heavy and oversized cargo. However, due to globalization and advancements in transportation and communication, project cargo logistics has evolved into a more complex and integrated process.”

Specialized equipment, increased environmental considerations, evolving regulations, and a growing emphasis on sustainability have further shaped the industry. The integration of technology, including digital platforms, data analytics, and IoT sensors, has revolutionized route planning, cargo tracking, and communication bringing in efficiency in the industry.

 “Initially, it was a fragmented industry with minimal technology integration. However, today, it’s a highly specialized field that leverages cutting-edge technology and a deeper understanding of clients’ needs,” Jitendra Srivastava, Chief Executive Officer, Triton Logistics & Maritime Pvt. Ltd. adds.

This is an abridged version of the feature story published in the November edition of the Logistics Insider Magazine. To read the complete story, click here.