Logistec provides turnkey
How do you ship a sample of high-quality iron ore to Europe from a mine in a remote part of the Canadian Arctic where there is no transportation infrastructure? Logistec Stevedoring Inc. came up with the answer, providing an innovative turnkey solution to its mining company client.
"A project of this magnitude where there is no infrastructure, no readily available equipment, harsh weather conditions and a very short time frame in which to successfully complete the operation requires an enormous amount of planning and co-operation,” said George Di Sante, Logistec's vice-president of market development.
Logistec's solution was to build a floating dock - sectional barges pieced together to make one large platform - on which a series of conveyors loaded the iron ore into hopper barges. The platform had to be strong enough to support the weight of the conveyors and the iron ore they were moving, and to withstand the tide and current as well as the frequent docking of the hopper barges.
Once loaded, the hopper barges sailed out and tied up alongside ocean-going vessels anchored in deeper waters. Logistec then transferred the iron ore from barge to ship using the vessel's gear.
Logistec determined that using three barges would be the most efficient way to perform the operation; while one barge was being loaded at the floating dock, the two others were being unloaded at the vessel.
Logistec had to complete the project within a two-month time frame, from the beginning of August to the end of September, when the area is as free of ice as possible. It also had to contend with extremely cold weather, strong winds and tidal influences of some two metres.
In the end, three Fednav Limited vessels were loaded with iron ore for Europe, where the bulk sample was to be tested.
But that was not the end of the project. Logistec still had to completely disassemble the floating dock and leave the entire area as pristine as when its team first arrived.
To ensure the project's success, Logistec convened numerous meetings among all the players involved and even simulated every detail of the operation long before it happened.
To build the floating dock and get the proper barges, Logistec called on Ocean Group, a Quebec City-based tug-and-barge operator with a wide array of equipment and vast expertise working in the Arctic.
Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc. (NEAS), a Logistec affiliate that provides vessel transportation and cargo consolidation services between ports on the St. Lawrence waterway and the Canadian Arctic - namely Nunavut and Nunavik - moved all the necessary equipment and material to the site before the project started. Even replacement parts had to be taken into consideration; securing a part in the event of a breakdown would take days and possibly jeopardize the entire operation.
Logistec's team of qualified personnel also had to be flown to the site to prepare and then load the vessels. "These dedicated employees made the site their home for the duration of the operation and worked feverishly to ensure that everything was in place for the arrival of the vessels and their subsequent loading,” Mr. Di Sante said.
"In the end, careful planning and the selection of the right partners made the project a resounding success.”