The GAC Group was the joint winner of the “Excellence in Break Bulk/Project Cargo Transport and Handling” Award at the Australian Shipping & Maritime Industry Awards 2016 held at the Dockside Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour.
The Award recognises GAC’s project logistics expertise in moving a 410-tonne acrylic and steel structure measuring 22.5m long for the world’s biggest underwater restaurant from New Zealand to Maldives earlier this year.
Per Thörnblom, GAC’s Group Project Logistics Manager who planned and oversaw the entire operation, says: “It took us a year to plan the massive move using computer aided drawing or CAD to prepare the structure’s journey. This Award is a boost and validation of our hard work, recognising GAC’s capabilities in handling out-of-gauge and complex cargoes. We are dedicated to ensuring that our customers’ project cargoes are handled professionally and delivered on time to almost anywhere in the world.”
The structure was transported eight kilometres by road from the construction company’s yard at New Plymouth in New Zealand to Port Taranaki, where it was lifted onto a 200 wheel trailer with the help of four trucks. The road trip to the port started at 11pm, due to local traffic regulations for heavy loads, and 12 hours later, it was lifted onto Jumbo Maritime’s vessel, the ‘Fairlane’, after just half an hour of preparatory procedures and two hours ahead of schedule. Next came the lashings, welding, securing and protection of the load.
With no local pilots available at the remote atoll, Per also acted as a pilot onboard one of the supporting tugs used to guide the Fairlane to the exact discharge location, where the structure was raised out of the hold and on to its underwater pilings. About 15 divers were involved during the final stage to ensure the load is settled safely and accurately.
The Award was accepted on behalf of the Group by Gareth Long, GAC Australia’s National Operations Manager. Winners of 14 of the awards were selected by a combination of votes from a judging panel consisting of industry peers and popular vote by readers of Lloyd’s List Australia.