Keeping Freight Moving: Pivoting from Containers to Cars

The last couple of years have certainly been eventful for the supply chain industry which has provided new challenges but also, a fountain of opportunity. Earlier this summer, one of those opportunities knocked.  Automobile manufacturing was climbing to new highs with the delivery of back logged computer chips, but vessel availability and terminal space to offload vehicles was in increasingly low supply. By early September, tens of thousands of vehicles were delayed at origin factories produced by multiple manufacturers all over the world.  When a large Japanese auto manufacturer approached us for assistance, we figured out a way to handle their cargo.

The “RoRo” vessel, as they are coined in industry for their ability to roll cargo on and off, would normally berth at a traditional auto terminal setup to handle thousands of vehicles at a time. In this case, the RoRo vessel berthed at a terminal which normally handles steel cargo and other large industrial sized cargos that enter and exit the country. Time and space were limited on the dock so once unloaded, the vehicles had to be transported 100km away to our Delta container yard. 

Before the vehicles were transported, we worked with our other customers to prioritize movement of containers out of Delta and into our Richmond location to ensure there was enough space to store the automobiles when they arrived. It also meant using teams of sweeping trucks to make sure the property was clean, safe, and ready to receive a very different type of cargo. We ran power to support battery charging if necessary and created a new site map to identify designated delivery and pick up areas for worker and cargo safety.

Once the vehicles arrived in the container yard, they were processed, inspected for damages or defects, and prepared for delivery. Vehicles that passed the test were then sorted for delivery to over 50 dealers and delivery points across Western Canada. 

All tolled, 1,800 vehicles moved through our gates in September. We were so proud to participate in this project and found a solution that was not only feasible but produced a positive outcome for everyone involved.

If you or your team has a transportation or logistics issue that you need some help solving, think of our team, serving the Vancouver and Prince Rupert Gateways.