In early 2009 a German paper trading company approached V. Alexander’s Paper & Pulp Division in Bremen to arrange for the shipment and delivery of approximately 255 tons of paper rolls from Germany to their customer located in New Brunswick, NJ.
Usually paper rolls are shipped as break bulk cargo and delivered standing upright in regular or on flatbed trucks, depending on the receiver’s unloading capabilities.
The rolls to be shipped, however, measured 2800 millimeters in length, which converts to 110¼ inches – just a little bit too much to fit into a standard trailer which usually has a door and inside height of about 110”.
So V. Alexander’s Logistics Department in the US started to evaluate the various options available to move these jumbo rolls to the final receiver.
The Logistics Team reviewed various trailer options to determine if any of the trailer types available could accommodate these jumbo rolls standing upright. At the same time the team discussed the facilities at the unloading site with the receiver.
The result of this analysis was that due to the layout and specifications of the receiving facility there was no easy option to deliver the rolls in an upright standing position. The team reviewed the option to use specialized trailers usually used in the automotive or household moving sector for the deliveries, but had to finally realize that none of the equipment available was able to accommodate the aggregate weight of 5-6 rolls per load – simply said, the bottom would have fallen out of the trailers as they are not manufactured to accommodate weights like this. In addition, the lower truck bed of these kinds of trucks would not have allowed a forklift to drive into them at the unloading dock.
The team then moved on to examine the possibility to deliver the rolls laying horizontally in cradles, to be loaded and unloaded with a forklift equipped with a metal rod that is entered into the roll’s core for lifting. The obstacles here were that the cradles readily available in the market could not support the diameter of the rolls, which exceeded 57”. It was determined that the cost to have cradles for this size diameter built was extremely high, and that the weight/length ratio of the rolls would have created an additional obstacle in that a forklift would possibly not have been able to lift the rolls up without losing its balance.
Eventually the decision was made to deliver the container laying flat on a flatbed truck. The team resolved the issue that the receiving warehouse did not have a forklift with extended forks to lift the rolls off the truck by arranging for a rental unit to be delivered to the facility.
When the shipment arrived at the dock in Philadelphia, the head of V. Alexander’s Logistics Team was there to welcome it to the US. Prior to arrival a clear action plan had been developed with the receiving warehouse, and the first rolls were loaded and secured on flatbed trucks under V. Alexander’s supervision. The V. Alexander representative then followed the first two truckloads on their way from Philly to New Brunswick, NJ, and assured that the unloading of the rolls at the receiver’s facility went flawlessly, due to the rental forklift that had been delivered the day before the first rolls arrived so that the handling crew could get acquainted with the equipment, which differed from their usual units that were equipped with clamps.
Some minor obstacles (e.g. the absence of a working load ramp) were quickly overcome and the rolls were offloaded within an hour. The complete consignment of 75 rolls were delivered within a week, accommodating the receiver’s schedule and allowing for a return of the rental forklift within the scheduled timeframe, avoiding additional cost to the parties involved.
The receiver was able to move the rolls into his production schedule right on time and was able to realize the expected productivity benefits he expected from using rolls that were about 5% larger than the usual industry standard.