Logistics Helps Mining Firm Move Mountains

Freight Forwarding


A mining organization wanted a large excavator to be moved from a mine in the United States to a mine in Africa. Nippon Express provided the logistics for the transport of massive piece of equipment that was not only hard to ship, but also hard to find.


The excavator was located by GPS coordinates in a mine somewhere in the mountainous wilderness of West Virginia. However, the GPS coordinates only narrowed the location to a certain square mile area, which meant the equipment could be anywhere on one of 12 different mountains. Once it was located, the 85-ton excavator would have to be disassembled into three pieces for shipment. With coordination of state highway control, it would need to be trucked over a treacherous route of questionable roadways near the mine to its port of origin on the east coast. It would then need to make the ocean cargo trip from the United States to South Africa and through that nation into Botswana to its ultimate destination at a diamond mine.


GPS technology could only get to within miles of the excavator, so a Nippon Express representative on the ground was required to perform a more low-tech form of reconnaissance. Ultimately, Nippon Express contacted the local sheriff, who possessed knowledge of the excavator’s exact location. The excavator was disassembled into three piece and with riggers loaded into Maffi double drop trailers, capable of hauling the units, which weighed as much as 60 tons. Moving carefully through difficult rural roads, the equipment was delivered to the Port of Baltimore, where it was shipped via RO-RO (roll on, roll off) vessel to the Port of Durbin in South Africa. There it was trucked through South Africa and to its destination in the nation of Botswana.


Nippon Express was able to leverage its relationship with Ports America to arrange for the RO-RO vessel and to provide expedited supervision with price points contained. The 85-ton excavator was serving the client’s mining operations in Botswana in just 45 days.