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Marine Log

Loading the dredge

March 12, 2007

Dredge/booster barge shipped to Cambodia

Logistics specialist John S. Connor, Inc., Glen Burnie, Md., has recently completed the shipment of a dredge/booster barge for Sokimex Group, based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Sokimex will use the equipment for dredging operations in the Mekong River so that the river can accommodate more vessel traffic.

Sokimex acquired the dredge/booster barge from Renda Dredging Company.

The equipment weighed 1,135 tons, making it the heaviest shipment ever handled by John S. Connor in its 90 year history. It was so large and heavy that the dredge and barge had to be separated into two sections so it could be shipped.

After the equipment was separated, the dredge alone weighed 610 metric tons and was enormously bulky; 107-ft. long, 51-ft. high, and 43-ft. wide. The booster barge as a separate lift weighed an additional 525 metric tons.

John S. Connor made all the logistics arrangements for the shipment of the equipment.

In order to accomplish the loading of the dredge and barge onto the MV WIEBKE, a specialized heavy-lift ship, the shippers utilized the services of a naval architect and an engineering firm to ascertain lift points, weight, and the center of gravity of the dredge and the booster barge.

The loading of the two large pieces, work boats and other equipment onto the MV WIEBKE in Port Manatee, Florida, required five days. The ship has two cranes with lifting capacity of 340 tons each, plus a third crane with a lifting capacity of 220 tons. Two of the ships heavy lift cranes were married together in order to generate enough lifting capacity to load these heavy pieces.

The dredge and barge had to be lifted onto the ship directly from the water at Port Manatee. Because of the excessive weight and size of the equipment, four lifting cradles, two for each heavy piece, had to be fabricated, each one weighing 18 tons. A diver was utilized to be sure the cradles were positioned properly to lift the equipment.

"The Master and crew of the MV WIEBKE, along with their port captain, performed extremely well in completing this complicated heavy lift operation," says William Settle, bulk manager at John S. Connor.

The MV WIEBKE left port with the dredge, barge, and other additional work boats and equipment safely on board and sailed via the Suez Canal, arriving five weeks later in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. From there, the equipment was discharged and towed up the Mekong River to Phnom Penh. It will take another six months to reassemble the equipment and get it in place to begin the dredging project.

Sokimex Group, established in 1990, has over 2,000 employees and annual revenues in excess of $100 million.

John S. Connor is a full service logistics firm based in Glen Burnie, Md. The company is a leading provider of ocean freight and air freight, customs brokerage, domestic transportation, and steamship agency services. Connor has an extensive network of agents worldwide, and is a licensed NVOCC.