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Charting a course through Europe

Fire and rescue boat
Words: Maritha Arcos
Photo: Friedrichshafen Fire Brigade

When it was time for the German fire brigade to get its new fire and rescue boats from the manufacturer in Finland, it soon became clear that the boats’ dimensions would turn delivery into an extraordinary challenge. The solution was a lesson in collaboration.

A MAJOR PART of WALLENIUS SOL’s loads consists of products from the paper and forest industries, but it also enjoys the company of various kinds of project loads. On three occasions during the past year, some real heavyweights took their places among the cargo. Four brand spanking new firefighting boats needed help getting to their final destination – Friederichshafen on Lake Constance in Germany.

“It was a pretty tricky shipment as these boats are big and tall. Due to the German regulations on road transport dimensions, we were unable to drive through Germany in the usual way, ” says Jan D’Arcy, Technical Manager at TransProCon, who were engaged to deliver the boats to the German Fire Brigade.

The original idea was to transport the fire boats all the way from Pietarsaari, Finland to Lübeck in Germany, to launch them and then sail up the River Rhine to Lake Constance, but due to low water levels in some places along the Rhine, it was too risky. TransProCon and WALLENIUS SOL then took advantage of each other’s strengths and abilities to get the challenging shipment to its destination.

Fire and rescue boy onboard the M/V Thuleland

 The German fire brigade’s boat safely on board the M/V Thuleland.  Photo: Jan D’Arcy

Complex transport

”TransProCon’s niche market is tricky haulage jobs, and it was able to offer a transport solution all the way to the final destination. At WALLENIUS SOL, we’re professionals at running RoRo traffic, and unlike many other shipping companies we can handle high, heavy loads that have to be lifted on board by crane,” says Kai Peränen, Commercial Manager at WALLENIUS SOL.

The fireboats were sailed from the factory in Kokkola, Finland, to Pietarsaari where they were transferred to WALLENIUS SOL’s M/V Thuleland for transport to Zeebrugge in Belgium, 1,500 nautical miles away. In Zeebrugge, a special trailer low enough to handle the high load, hauled the boats by road through Belgium, France and Switzerland to Romanshorn on Lake Constance. The boats were launched there and they made their own way to Friedrichshafen, the final destination on the German side.

”After six days at sea with WALLENIUS SOL and six days overland, we were able to safely deliver the last two of the four fire-fighting boats to the German Fire Brigade in June this year, ” says Jan D’Arcy.