Shipping of an over sized drilling rig by roll on /roll off (RORO) vessel

By Margaret Bux
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The team at Clarke Global were asked to send an over dimensional drilling rig (pictured) which is used on large civil engineering projects, from Fremantle WA to Vietnam.  Oversized freight such as this that do not fit into standard 20 or 40 foot sea freight containers are generally packed and shipped differently.  In this case, it was established that there would be two components to the shipping process.

Firstly, the main unit of the rig was self propelled and would therefore be able to be driven onto the on/off ramp of a special roll on/roll off (RORO) vessel.  Second, the remaining accessories of the drilling rig (such as mast section, rotary head, Kelly bar and swivel/brace) would be treated as static cargo, lifted and driven onto the vessel by forklift.  The total measurement of the entire shipment of the one drilling machine plus accessories was 305 cubic metres.

In this particular shipment, the challenges that were faced by the team involved time and weight constraints.  After “go ahead” on a Wednesday and with a time frame of only 6 days before shipping receivals cut-off by the following Tuesday, Martin and the team at Clarke Global had to arrange pick up of the self-propelled unit plus the static pieces in a separate truck from the wharf in Fremantle W.A. on Thursday, to be taken to a different location for washing on Friday.  All parts were then taken back to the wharf in one trip on the following Monday, meeting the receivals deadline.

In the meantime, there were also weight issues that had to be resolved as each individual unit of the shipment is allowed a maximum tonnage of 70.  To meet these requirements, part of the massive drilling unit had to be removed and shipped as a counterweight item in order to bring its weight down from 80 to 70 tonnes.  Fortunately, the shipper had good knowledge of the rig and was able to advise on what could be removed and how.  With transport, washing and packing sorted, the rig was on its way to Vietnam six days later.

Any over dimensional wheeled cargo which can be driven on and off ships on their own wheels can be shipped with a RORO freight solution.  If you have any vehicles and machinery such as cars, trucks, heavy construction, mining and earth moving machinery, Clarke Global have the experience and transport networks to provide the right freight solution for you.  Give the team a call on 9854 3000 or send an email to


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