Project Logistics: The comprehensive approach & solutions to complex industry tasks

Published: Thursday, April 7, 2022

Where particularly heavy loads are concerned, project logistics bring in the biggest and most specialist equipment, whether that involves chartering ships or aircraft, break-bulk shipments, wide load road movements, barges or rail.

Project Logistics refers to the planning, organizing, managing, processing and controlling the complete flow of goods, materials and information associated with the successful completion of a project. Larger cargo requires a completely different set of equipment, infrastructure and experienced personnel. It is always a challenge for a transporter to handle cargo of unusual dimensions.
Yet, as oversized and heavyweight shipments become more sophisticated, shippers and service providers become more sophisticated. In addition, manufacturing complexity increases the challenge.

In remote parts of the world, parts and modular packages are being produced, then shipped to their final destinations. Packages are more critical; therefore, detailed planning is required. In the past five years, transportation providers have increasingly been involved in early stages of planning.

The global Project Logistics market size is projected to reach $40770 million by 2028, from $33530 million in 2021, at a CAGR of 2.8% during 2022-2028 (Market Watch). According to industry sources, Asia-Pacific leads the market studied and will also have the highest growth rate. Infrastructure investment has been a key contributor to economic development in Asia-Pacific over the past few years.
Thorsten Pook, Managing Director, Middle East, CEVA Logistics explains to Air Cargo Update project logistics has turned into a broader approach in the logistics industry.

Project cargo

Project logistics is a part of supply chain management that refers to the logistics services that pertain to equipment and materials that are procured for a specific project, such as the construction of a central processing facility or an offshore wind farm.
“Customers today are spread globally and usually interdependent, and their project sites are often positioned in complex locations that need to be efficiently managed to ensure any required “on-site” dates are met. All of this requires proper planning and experience to execute the operation well.

“In addition, project logistics does not necessarily refer solely to out-of-gauge cargo. However, many in the industry do refer to OOG cargo as ‘project cargo’,” says Pook.

Oil & Gas, Renewables and Infrastructure (Power Generation, Water Treatment etc.) are among the kind of projects handled under project logistics, according to CEVA Logistics.

Moreover, project logistics is a comprehensive approach to managing the logistics of a building or construction project across complex supply chains. The process includes getting items ready to move, arranging transportation through sea, air, or land, storing, and then traveling to the destination and unloading.

It is possible to need a wide range of equipment, including aircraft, container vessels, conventional vessels, barges, trailers of all sizes, etc., depending on the project.

Professional handling

With so much at stake on large-scale projects, getting everything to where it needs to be, safely and on time is paramount – and that’s where Project Logistics experts come in.

A firm understanding of all facets of basic freight forwarding with key attention to details that comes from experience in managing more complex project cargo movement is evolved. Furthermore, learning and developing oneself as a project logistics expert does not involve merely around learning theories or concepts from books or classroom.

It is largely on-the-job training and gaining experience over time, so proper mentoring and team management are important factors. In addition, formal training programs, such as PMP, are also useful tools for an effective project logistics expert.

As a project logistics professional, your goal is to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, to create a steady course from “you want what?” to signed, sealed and delivered. Often, they are even expected to build bridges between internal units, external partners and across chasms.
“Our team of project professionals have adequate experience in handling all types of cargo. The group operates within the broader CEVA network in key locations where project expertise is required. For a specific project, the team manages the safe transport of everything, ranging from massive modules to small air freight shipments,” explains Pook.

Where particularly heavy loads are concerned, project logistics bring in the biggest and most specialist equipment, whether that involves chartering ships or aircraft, break-bulk shipments, wide load road movements, barges or rail.

Role of technology

The use of technology is an ever-expanding ‘sector’ of people’s lives, for both personal and business uses. If a person, business or group was not to keep up with this technology, then they would likely get left behind in the grand scheme of things. Incorporating technology further into day-to-day logistics operations assists in the streamlining of processes, while it also grants greater access to logistical information and resources; both critical elements in contributing to the positive growth and development of individuals and logistics businesses.

“We have leveraged our automation expertise and technology capabilities to provide customers a seamless experience. It is part of what we call ‘responsive logistics’. Responsive is not reactive. At CEVA, responsive means that we are attentive to our customers’ needs, anticipating trends and developing solutions to help them succeed. For example, simple developments over the years in technology and systems have allowed us to provide line-item level visibility for Purchase Orders (PO) from the time the client issues the PO to their vendor right through to delivery on site,” says Pook.

The increase in demand for smart technology means that project logistics professionals can now benefit from real-time information on the status of their supply chain and resources. This is beneficial to systems that want to make sure that goods are delivered on time and customers are happy with the end product.

With the emergence of blockchain and internet of things (IoT) technologies, the project logistics industry is becoming increasingly transparent. Consumer goods companies are using IoT to add real-time visibility and make their supply chain operations more efficient, resulting in increased customer satisfaction.
Broader logistics approach

A cross trade is a shipment that takes place between two countries – none of which the seller is located in. In addition, they’re known as third-party shipments or – more commonly – as triangle shipments.

“In many cases, project logistics is controlled from a regional hub location that may be separate from the project site. As a result, the majority of shipments handled would be considered cross-trade, which requires close coordination between the hub, origin, and the team managing customs and last-mile at the given destination,” said Pook.

As logistical companies expand into the global market, cross-border trade has become increasingly popular. This is a particularly good example in the USA, where US buyers are increasingly requesting DDP terms so as to reduce their exposure to security implications and import costs.

Project logistics will always have a place in a broader logistics market. Although the projects themselves may change, such as the rapid increase in renewable energy projects in the world today, the skillset required to properly manage a project will continue to differ from general freight forwarding, according to Pook.

“Throughout the pandemic, there were many changes in the way we all worked. As a result of travel restrictions, we were unable to mobilize specific talent to certain locations for specific operations. This made it clear that local talent cannot be substituted for. Our global network proved to be an advantage with CEVA’s ‘think global, act local’ approach,” Pook concludes in our email interview.