Ucargo has an extensive history working on large scale events in Saudi Arabia. Pre-covid, successfully completing a project with a longstanding client – to ship 9,000cbm internationally for the Winter Wonderland event in Riyadh.

Throughout December 2021 and January 2022 our client initiated talks to move all the carnival equipment from Riyadh, (where it had been for two years) to Jeddah.

In principle this may sound a simple movement – but many factors made this one of our most complex and hands-on projects to date. Firstly, the huge quantity of large, specialist, out-of-gauge machinery, and secondly, the equipment had been sitting in a hot sandy environment for 2 years, with moving parts degrading, greased components drying out and airbags shriveling.

The tasks entailed moving 300 pieces of equipment, varying from a small pay-box to a 60 ton trailer but also we were to take on the maintenance of the equipment and ensure its road safety.

There were many parts to this Project that were outside the normal comfort zone of a Freight Forwarder, so Ucargo had to think and deliberate on the different requirements that would form a specialist service and a successful project.

After discussions with our client on this project, we started the review stage immediately, taking flights to Riyadh and making our way into the desert to locate the empty trailers stored for the carnival running in central Riyadh.

Undertaking inspection of the trailers, having been left unused for two years, and apparent maintenance had not been carried out. These specialised trailers carry a multitude of uniquely sized machines, and required a review on electrics and airbags, we would need to look for a specialist with the expertise to review and make checks into who in Saudi would be appropriate.

Returning to the UK rates started to take shape, including evaluating heavy haulage across 1000km of dessert, what was required to make the equipment road worthy, and any replacements as well as repairs that the project as a whole would need

This project is one of the biggest moving carnivals in the world, consisting 300 movements of containers and trailers – and the 2nd largest movement of specialist equipment in Saudi Arabia.

Employing the services of a local heavy lift contractor and presenting the quotation to the customer we were awarded the contract in late February. Meetings, zooms, and preparations were swiftly made, evaluating and sourcing the people required to be involved in the project. The site was to have around 200 people to work on the de-rig in Riyadh, including safely dismantling, repairing, and reviewing. Then a team to receive the equipment in Jeddah by 1st May 2022.

Having just a few weeks of preparation, before Director Tony Kennedy and Office Manager Jackie Goodman headed out to Riyadh on the 26th March 2022. The start of Ramadan was on the 1st April, lasting most of the project, presenting complexity as all work on sites had to be undertaken overnight from 9pm – 7am.

First task was to fix any issues with the roadworthiness of the equipment. We supplied over 200 tires and 80 airbags in just the first few days.

Operations then began, on a project with this many variables, and daily changing challenges arose. The site for reference was the size of 10-15 football pitches.

Daily tasks included juggling client and ride owner expectations, transport, cranes and manpower. Making sure transport turned up on site from the desert where the trailers were located, having cranes on site and working pretty much 24/7 (within Ramadan time constraints).

On a nightly basis, we had to debrief meetings with all the crew to assess the previous day’s problems, troubleshoot, and plan for the following evening to keep to the strict timeline – we had a 30-day period to get this done. Our Ucargo office team kept the client up to date with the schedule of trailers leaving Riyadh so the correct manpower was available for its arrival in Jeddah. Tony stayed overseeing Riyadh while Jackie traveled to be on the ground in Jeddah.

Some problems we encountered and solved along the way
• Locating correct tyres for European trailers that were needed last minute – oversized, heavy trailers could blowout on route across unreliable roads and required monitoring and changing frequently.
• Unexpected electrical issues.
• Trailers arriving in very poor condition and mechanics to do on the spot repairs.
• Working around strict road traffic restrictions as well as Ramadan timings

To cover specialist issues we enlisted two external consultants, carnival engineers in the early stages to keep up momentum, triaging trailers to keep the flow of traffic in and out of site continuous.

Once equipment reached Jeddah, with little damage caused on route (mostly superficial) The final part of the project began, resetting up the carnival.