UCargo: Kuwait Project, Successfully Overcoming Challenges in a Complex Cargo Operation

UCARGO successfully undertook a project to and from Kuwait, which involved transporting 40 Fairground trailers and 8 40FT SOC Containers from Southampton to Kuwait. To accomplish this, Ucargo chartered a vessel and performed a lift-on/lift-off operation, ensuring a suitable transit time for the cargo to arrive in Kuwait for testing and installation for an event.

The lift-on/lift-off operation presented several challenges that included:

  • Equipment to lift the trailers
  • Fairground Trailers have no center of Gravity or Technical drawings
  • Welding lugs for the lashing of the trailers
  • Trestles for trailers to rest on whilst on the water
  • Surveyor report for insurance

By securing lifting equipment from Europe, which was positioned between the wheels of the trailers to facilitate the operation. These lifting beams obtained necessary certificates and approval from the vessel owner to continue.

During the loading process in Southampton, UCargo Partner, Tony Kennedy, was personally present for four days to oversee the operation. Stevedores and the vessel crew collaborated closely with UCargo to source the appropriate lifting beams from Europe.

Despite challenges, Tony motivated the stevedores and loaders to complete the operation within a three-day timeframe, avoiding costly vessel detention fees avoid vessel detention costs of $30k. Loading the heavier equipment extended the process to 3.5 days.

Upon arrival in Kuwait, unloading the cargo presented further obstacles. The trailers’ lack of center of gravity resulted in longer lifting times as multiple parties, including stevedores, crane operators, and surveyors, needed to ensure the trailers were ready for lifting.

Throughout the process, UCargo maintained constant communication with the client regarding the vessel’s arrival in Kuwait, despite a three-day delay caused by a part issue in Europe. UCargo had prior discussions with the port and stevedores in Kuwait to determine the available lifting equipment, which proved to be limited. Three days before the vessel’s arrival, Ucargo Office Manager Jackie Goodman flew to Kuwait to meet with Tony and arrange a meeting with the port agent, stevedores, and the client to provide guidance and advice for the unloading operation.

The unloading operation was primarily handled by the vessel’s owner and crew using the ship’s cranes. UCargo had the opportunity to assess the lifting equipment available at the port, leading them to source additional equipment to ensure a smooth operation.

Upon the vessel’s arrival, Jackie Goodman and the port stevedores held meetings with the ship’s captain and chief officer to discuss the unloading plan. The owners/showmen also wanted to be present during the unloading, so permission was granted for one representative to be on the vessel and another on the port, along with Jackie. The unloading process was slow due to relying solely on the ship’s cranes, taking a total of nine days to complete. Strict safety measures were enforced to prevent the trailers from swaying excessively while in the air.

As they reached the lower hold and encountered the larger, heavier equipment, a wheel bar bent, causing a significant delay. New equipment had to be utilized to ensure safe and proper lifting, slowing down the unloading process for the remaining rides. At one point, adjustments had to be made to ensure cargo safety. All welding lugs on the ship’s floor had to be cut, and the vessel was tidied up using appropriate chocking and bracing.

Once the trailers were unloaded from the vessel, they were moved to a storage area on the port for necessary works, such as inflating tires and adapting electrical connections and airbags to Kuwaiti trucks.

On the 10th day, a convoy was organized to transport the cargo from the port to the site. This involved extensive planning, including police escorts, changing traffic lights, and removing structures to facilitate the passage of larger cargo through roads and roundabouts. The operation took place at 1 am and was successfully completed by 4 am.

In summary, the Kuwait Project was a complex undertaking that required meticulous planning for both loading and unloading. UCargo’s team faced and overcame numerous challenges through quick thinking and effective teamwork.


The project is still ongoing as it is a round trip (UK – KUWAIT – UK) so further updates on this project will continue!