Shipment of 360 tonne barge crane ex worksite Yamaguchi, Japan


Door to door movement of a 360 metric tonne barge from work-site at Yamaguchi, Japan to Port Adelaide, including refurbishment, Customs and quarantine clearances.


Ex-works, seller’s dockyard, Yamaguchi, Japan


FAS (in the water), pre-cleared, buyer’s facility at Port Adelaide

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Job Specifics

Our client sourced a 360-tonne barge, an attached 100-tonne crawler crane and two used tug boats, for his Adelaide customer, a maritime construction company.

This would require a very special ship.  Freightplus called on our friends at Big-Lift  whose owners, Spliethoff, regularly provide the vessels we need from their modern, superbly equipped fleet.  We chartered an appropriate heavy-lift vessel, m/v “Da Fu”.

Freightplus coordinated the relevant insurances for our client and arranged towing of the crane barge and tug boats to Osaka Bay, leasing dockside space for its temporary storage and pre-shipment handling.  At the wharf, Freightplus personnel from our Osaka office supervised the careful dismantling and detachment of the 100-tonne crawler crane.  It’s tracks had seized so – immobile and partly rusted to the barge deck – it was slowly pulled apart, piece by piece, and transported on trucks to our quarantine washing facility at Kobe.

Because of the size of the crane, it would have been impossible to carry out Australian quarantine clearance in Adelaide.  There wasn’t a quarantine approved premises large enough to properly accommodate it and, even if there had been, the cost and time involved lifting and transporting the crane would have made the deal financially unviable.  So, Freightplus organised an AQIS offshore inspection.  After the rust  had been removed, our expert quarantine cleaners went to work to remove any quarantine risk material.  An AQIS officer was flown from Australia to carry out the inspection.  The crane’s lifting cables were unwound, stretched out to full extent, steadfastly cleaned, re-greased and crated in air-tight packaging. Every component of the crane was degreased, thoroughly cleaned and flushed and stored in a clean, segregated area of the yard, under tarpaulin. After a thorough quarantine inspection lasting several days, AQIS pre-cleared the crane for entry into Australia.

Our client’s customer requested the barge be lowered directly into the water on arrival at Adelaide, ready to work, with the disassembled 100-tonne crane positioned on top of it using our ship’s cranes.  So that this request could be satisfied, Freightplus was asked to arrange to have the barge moved onto a floating dry-dock and refurbished prior to shipment.  At some time during the barge’s 16-year history, its original owner had lost its technical drawings and survey records. To satisfy Australian maritime safety requirements, and to ensure the barge could be safely lifted, we had to coordinate extensive marine surveys and weight calculations to produce structural engineering plans, and other certified technical data, from scratch.

In a very limited time frame between receiving this request and the impending arrival of the Big-Lift vessel, Freightplus crew and contractors secured a dry dock, repositioned the barge and arranged the removal of bio-fouls from the hull.  We carried out sand-blasting and anti-fouling treatment and painted the barge in the client’s fleet colours.  Old zinc anodes were removed and replaced with new and waterline marks were measured and painted.  Our quarantine cleaners emptied and cleaned its bilges, engine room and all other cavities. Old tyres and ropes were removed and destroyed in accordance with environmental protection requirements. Crew quarters had timber walls and floors removed and destroyed to satisfy entry requirements for Australia.

To assist Big-Lift, Freightplus worked with external engineers and surveyors to design, manufacture and install four massive lifting lugs, each with a 150 tonne safe working load.

48 hours prior to vessel arrival, we moved the barge to a holding dock near where “Da Fu” was scheduled to berth.  The dismantled crane components were given a final wash and brought to the wharf by road, driven alongside just as our heavy-lift ship docked.  Once the crane components were lifted on board and stowed safely under deck, the barge was expertly manoeuvred on board by Biglift’s very experienced crane operators and lashed down.

The voyage from Osaka to Adelaide went smoothly, as expected.  On its arrival at Adelaide, the vessel was met by the Freightplus representative coordinating the project.  Personnel from AQIS, Australian Customs Service and Maritime Safety were alongside.  Once Customs had cleared the vessel and AQIS had carried out a verification inspection of the barge and crane, we were given the all clear to discharge into the water alongside.  We had had a comprehensive meeting with the barge owner’s crew the day prior and everyone knew exactly what was required so discharge went very smoothly.  Once the barge was safely in the water and the company’s tug boats hooked up to it, the crane was carefully reassembled under ship’s hooks,  before being towed to its final destination.

Neither the barge crane’s new owner nor our customer had any need for the Japanese tug boats so Freightplus Japan brokered their sale to one of our Japanese clients, free of charge.


The crane barge “Aquane” was successfully shipped and pre-cleared.  Cargo delivered refurbished and work-ready, in full and on time.  Technical drawings sufficed for the purposes they were requested and the unwanted tug boats were sold at the owner’s asking price.

The Australian client is a regular and highly valued Freightplus customer.




Freightplus. Worldwide.

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