Putting the Car in Cargo
At HGL, we are used to arranging the long-distance transport of some very special machinery, including sports cars. However, it’s not just fully-formed vehicles we handle. In June 2019, we were tasked with arranging the shipment of two new Jaguar E-Type body shells from the UK to Australia. This particular project involved a number of our teams, including our export packing specialists who were tasked with creating a packing solution fit for long-distance shipping.
Our export packing team specialise in manufacturing bespoke crates that protect cargo from rough treatment such as poor handling or extreme weather. Suffice to say, this project was a perfect demonstration of why proper packing is such an important part of the freight forwarding process, in this case turning a disastrous situation into a positive outcome.
“The team at Hemisphere Freight Services have always gone above and beyond for us, and this shipment was no exception. The owner of the Jaguar E-Type body shells was close to tears as he thought they had been destroyed beyond repair, despite coming all the way from the UK without so much as a scratch. However, the owner was utterly amazed to see the body shells had not even moved, all because of the care taken by the Hemisphere team.”
The Packing Process
As the E-Type body shells were handmade, fragile and high value, we first had to devise the safest and most efficient method of collecting the cargo from the manufacturer in Nuneaton and returning them to our packing facility at Ipswich Port. We decided to pre-manufacture the case bases and sent these along with securing equipment, foam protection and a member of our packing team in a dedicated truck.
We laid the base of the vacuum bag in the cases, along with foam protection, before the manufacturer carefully loaded the body shells onto the bases. Our packer then protected it with foam and secured it to the bases, which meant we did not have to handle the body shells again during the packing process. The body shells, secured to the bases, could now be safely handled with a fork lift.
Once the cargo arrived at our packing facility we moved on to carefully packing and securing a number of extra parts supplied with the body shells so they could not move or touch each other. The cases were then built up with extra internal timber supports and foam padding to further reduce the chance of the body shells moving, our team leaving no stone unturned in creating a packing solution that would withstand any bumps or unexpected movements.
Testing Times and a Successful Result
Once completed, the cases were stored in our warehouse facility whilst our customer purchased additional items in order to maximise the container space available. As soon as we’d collected and returned these additional items to the warehouse, the cargo was carefully loaded into a 40’ HC container by our warehouse team.
Each case was secured to the container floor by brackets and lashed to ensure they couldn’t shift during shipping. Following this, the container was delivered to Felixstowe Port to start its journey to Sydney aboard the ‘Maersk Essex’ container ship.
Upon safe arrival in Sydney, customs clearance was completed by our agent and the goods moved forward to a Sydney depot for unloading. It was during the process of moving the first E-Type crate to the collecting truck that the forklift operator failed to follow the instructions marked on the crate to “Only Lift Using Long Tines” and “Only Lift Flat and Do Not Tilt”. By deciding instead to lift with short tines, the crate ended up slipping off the forks and landing on its side.
The cargo owner, who was present at the depot to oversee the cargo loaded to his truck, could only watch in horror as events unfolded, knowing that in normal circumstances his shell and contents would now be beyond repair. However, by bolting the body shell to the floor of the crate, placing it in a vacuum-sealed plastic membrane and meticulously packing the additional components, our packing team had created an extremely tough product.
Once the crate was finally opened, the owner was to find the full contents completely undamaged – much to his surprise and absolute relief.
Thanks to the professional and diligent approach of our export packing team, the body shells had survived the eventful unloading process without a single scratch, marking yet another successful shipment for HGL.
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