Precision planning and innovative thinking…
The transport of a fully assembled, highly fragile multi-million pound Cabin Emergency Evacuation Trainer (CEET) all the way from Manchester, in the UK, to Ethiopian Airlines’ training facility in Addis Ababa, followed by the precision installation of the unit over an indoor training pool, was never going to be a run-of-the-mill logistics operation. But with its wealth of experience and expertise in project and heavy lift cargo transport, Allseas Global Logistics was more than ready to take up the challenge.
Now, the unique and innovative solutions that Allseas put in place for this demanding project have earned the company a prestigious international award. Allseas Global Logistics has been named Project/Heavylift Forwarder of the Year at the Global Freight Awards, which are organised by Lloyd’s Loading List.
EDM, the world’s leading supplier of training simulators to the civil aviation and defence markets, approached Allseas after it received a contract to build and deliver two CEETs for Ethiopian Airlines.
The challenge was to move the CEET, already fitted out with highly sophisticated equipment including VDUs and electronics, from EDM’s manufacturing site at Newton Heath, east Manchester, to Ethiopian Airlines’ training facility in Addis Ababa. The task included lifting the entire cabin on to an electric motion platform suspended over the training pool.
Allseas also delivered and installed a second, even larger CEET, built in modular design, along with aircraft door trainers and associated equipment.
‘The first CEET, a narrow-body B737 model, was to be shipped fully assembled – something new for EDM, as clients had previously arranged collection of units ex-works,’ said Allseas Project Manager Des Nott.
The 18-tonne CEET, measuring 15 x 4.5 x 4.5 metres, was loaded to exceptional road transport for the move from Manchester to Southampton, where it was loaded onto a mafi trailer for ro-ro shipment to Djibouti.
The final leg of the journey was by road through the Ethiopian mountains. Allseas also had responsibility for shipping and assembling the motion platform – 4.5 x 5 x 1 metre high – from Amsterdam. This was built with 15 bolts on to which the CEET would be fixed.
Lifting the CEET into place inside the training centre required the removal of dozens of window panes from the front of the building, to create a 6 x 6 metre ‘doorway’.
‘We always knew that lifting the CEET into place was going to be tight, with the most challenging issue being the limited height,’ said Des. ‘We had to take out 15 ceiling panels because the top of the crane jib was against the ceiling.’
In an incredibly precise, delicate manoeuvre, the fuselage was lifted off the truck, lashed and then swung around, centimetre by centimetre, to its resting place above the pool.
The second CEET, a B787/B777 hybrid, 22 x 6.5 x 5 metres high, was built to a modular design for transporting in five sections and Allseas also shipped the steelwork to build a four metre high platform to fit the base of the fuselage. Onsite, Allseas used two telescopic handlers to place each piece of the CEET on the frame; each piece had to be precisely lined up with four tiny steel pads and the sections were then bolted together.
Howard Gregory, EDM Senior Project Manager, said: ‘During the manufacture and up to final testing, we had several meetings on securing of the CEETs as well as the process for approval on the complex lifts into the training facility in Addis Ababa where both floor space and height restrictions were of real concern, considering that both CEET units had to be carefully positioned onto elevated platforms.
‘While a general plan of operations was agreed, we expected some changes due to local conditions and equipment availability. Allseas was clear in its discussions of revised method and equipment. We were confident in Allseas’ ability to handle our multi-million-pound equipment successfully and on time, and this was achieved. Allseas kept within its budget, which was well priced in the first place. We were very satisfied with the service received.’
Darren Wright, Managing Director of Allseas Global Logistics, said: ‘Winning the Global Freight Award is a great achievement – not only for the team as a whole, who consistently deliver on highly technical, challenging and in some cases stressful projects week in, week out. We are delighted to be recognised amongst our peers as a significant player in the project forwarding sector.’