YOU FEEL pretty small standing next to one of the gigantic Komatsu mining trucks that were regular cargo in 2019 and 2020 on the WALLENIUS SOL route between Antwerp and Kemi on their way to the Aitik mine outside Gällivare in Sweden and Kevitsa in northern Finland.
During that period, no fewer than 27 trucks were delivered on the leg across the Gulf of Bothnia.
The huge machines, with a total height of 7.15 metres, were loaded on board in pieces for assembly by Komatsu’s local distributor in Finland. The chassis alone on such a truck weighs around 60 tonnes. Other, smaller mining machines with the comparatively minor height of just over 5 metres came aboard under their own power.
A section of the mining truck ready to be loaded on WALLENIUS SOL’s vessel.
‘It´s always exciting to drive these huge machines ever-so slowly on board to see if their height corresponds to the space reservation. There is not much room to play with; we are talking just a few centimetres,’ says Kai Peränen, Commercial Manager at WALLENIUS SOL.
And it has happened that a machine was actually higher than the figures in the paperwork stated.
‘So far we have managed to ship all the machines, but sometimes we’ve had to tweak the suspension or let some air out of the tyres to get on board,’ says Kai.
‘Of course, we can load bigger freight in the ports where we can drive straight up onto the weather deck instead of the main deck. We have to keep an eye on the width, but we can handle a height of 7.20 metres on a weather deck.’
When WALLENIUS SOL puts the new vessels into service at the end of the year, even really tall machines that today are relegated to a weather deck, will have a sheltered berth between decks.
‘Deck height on the main deck will be just over 7 metres, which will provide completely new opportunities,’ says Kai, who gets a certain look in his eye as he ponders tomorrow’s exciting load prospects.
Komatsu 830 E safely delivered and assembled. The handover ceremony was arranged in Kevitsa by Boliden and Komatsu. Photo: Juhani Viitanen