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Handling/shipment of Siemens locomotives for Australia

Different Australian railway companies had ordered various CLASS 7100 locomotives from at Siemens AG according to their individual designs. Atlantik Hafenbetriebe were significantly involved in the overall logistics concept, as well as the smooth handling

“One steel beam was used per bogey, which then rested on the aforementioned supporting blocks”

The companies, that are based in Queensland, operate the rail transport of coal and ore from inland mines to different ports along the coast. The trains have a payload of up to 7,000 tonnes and until now had to be pulled with 4 locomotives. By purchasing new locomotives, the operators want to reduce the number of towing units per train by one. To ensure the necessary traction, it was decided that a third bogey should be fitted. The railway companies operate their freight services on narrow-gauge tracks. The total weight of the locomotives produced at the Munich plant is 132,000 kg.

Siemens AG formed a group of experts to define the supply chain from the factory in Munich to the depot in Brisbane. In conjunction with the shipping company and the project forwarder, we were responsible for the following steps of the project:

  • Acceptance of the locomotives that are to be delivered by barge to Bremerhaven.
  • Coordination of the unloading of the locomotives from the barge by means of suitable land cranes, providing suitable staff    
  • Development / construction of steel beams for receiving the bogeys as well as providing steel blocks to accommodate the locomotives  
  • Preliminary construction of the blocks and beams required in the harbour before unloading.
  • Coordination and provision of an SPMT heavy vehicle  
  • Production of a lifting and lashing concept for these project cargoes.


The following solutions were worked out:

1. Transport from Munich to Bremerhaven

Due to the gauge and weight, a truck is used from Munich and a barge from Mannheim onwards. The river transport of two locomotives on one barge from Mannheim to Bremerhaven lasts about 7 days, so there is sufficient time available to prepare for unloading.

2. Coordination of unloading

All companies participating in the handling operation are to be informed in good time regarding such matters as berthing, personnel and equipment. Regular contact is to be maintained with the barge. The necessary port documentation is to be comprehensively completed in time. The day and the hour for unloading the locomotives was set early on, so that the necessary arrangements for the disposition of equipment and personnel could be guaranteed.

3. Development and construction of steel beams for handling and transport

The shipping of the locomotives from Bremerhaven to Brisbane is by Ro-Ro vessel. Since there is no existing standard systems for rolling handling, special steel beams are to be designed and built. The transport from the terminal to on board the ship is carried out using special vehicles that can be lowered or raised hydraulically. In order for this vehicle to be able to drive under and set down the locomotives, a supporting structure of steel blocks is to be selected, both on the pier and later in the ship. 

One steel beam is used per bogey, which then rests on the aforementioned supporting blocks. In this position it is possible for the hydraulic trailer (SPMT) to drive under the locomotive.

4. Provision of hydraulic trailer (SPMT)

A 12-axle SPMT was chosen.for transport from the quay into the RoRo ship. This vehicle has the facility to raise and lower the load platform. The minimum height is 950 mm, the maximum is 1350 mm. Thus it is possible to load or set down the locomotives on the supporting blocks. A load of 36 tonnes per axle was assumed, so that there would sufficient load bearing capacity. The SPMT units are extremely manoeuvrable, since in principle each axle can be steered. Because it is vital to be able to set the load down precisely when on board, such a vehicle is ideal for such operations.

5. Securing the Load

The locomotives had to be adequately secured for for sea transport and for all movements at the terminal. In conjunction with the manufacturer, the required lashing points were determined during design. Together with the shipping company and the authorized professionals, appropriate material was selected and a lashing and clamping plan prepared.

These project shipments have been handled without any particular problems right from the beginning, and we will be working on them over the next few years.