Qatari construction company avoids ‘containergeddon’ by intelligently using bulk carriers



A Qatari construction company facing a container shortage has chosen to use bulk carriers to bring essential building materials from mainland China to complete a mega express construction project. The fragile materials were loaded into the holds of six bulk carriers in an unprecedented way to reach the port of Hamad.

The current global supply chain crisis is impacting infrastructure projects around the world. As Qatar’s largest entrepreneur, UrbaCon Trading & Contracting Company (UCC) has explored a number of alternatives to deliver high-value projects to clients despite the global container shortage and rising freight costs.

Ayman Rabata, inbound logistics manager, explained: “Instead of using traditional container shipping methods, we have devised a solution to use bulk carriers – the ships that normally ship grain and unpackaged cargo – to make sure there is no disruption to our projects. “

The challenge for UCC was to ship over 95,000 m3 of building materials used for large housing projects. EPS cement sandwich walls would normally require space in over 1,400 containers.

The material is brittle and can break if struck on the high seas. To overcome this, UCC requested that the pallets be separated with wood and rubber to act as a shock absorber in the event of a collision. Only a few pallets were damaged and were unusable when they arrived in Qatar.

Splash reported that a host of other companies were moving away from container ships in favor of dry bulk carriers during this year’s extreme box shortage.

Earlier this month, Coca-Cola purchasing manager Alan Smith revealed how the beverage giant recently chose to move just over 60,000 tonnes of material on three handy-sized bulk carriers instead of ocean liners in order to keep its production lines running across the world. The material moved in bags was the equivalent of 2,800 teu. Smith revealed that the bulk carrier transfer was the first in a long line of projects slated for the next few months, the final chapter of what Steve Ferreira, CEO of Ocean Audit, a New York-based shipper advisor, has referred to as “containergeddon”.

This year also saw a number of bulk carriers reused and reinforced to transport containers.


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