Project Cargo Explained – What We Need to Know to Successfully Plan & Execute Project Cargo Shipments


Let’s explore what project cargo means.

“Project cargo” is a term used to broadly describe the national or international transportation of large, heavy, high value, or complex pieces of equipment. The materials can be sourced globally, or from one individual location. The oil and gas, wind power, mining, engineering, and construction industries are heavily involved in this level of transportation. Project cargo requires a detailed engineering process in order to stay within the projected budget, and be completed on time.

It can consist of multiple or single shipments, and can both cover a wide range of freight volume and cargo value. It can mean single or multiple pieces of equipment being transported from point A to point B, or various destinations over a period of time. It can move by land, sea, or air, and can involve trucks, rail, cranes, ships, barges and/or planes.

Project cargo is all about attention to detail. Pre-planning is the crucial step that leads to efficient operations. Maintaining efficiency in such complex cargo operations eliminate risks and reduce costs.


This article will look deeper into the process of project cargo transportation. We will examine the best practices we can apply to lower expenses, and minimize the risk of project shipments.

In the last few decades, the variety and number of sources grew dramatically, pushing companies to seek the most efficient transportation methods as they embark on large and expensive project cargo operations. As globalization kicked in, the demand for large infrastructure projects increased worldwide, to fulfill the need of industries that supports refineries, power plants, mining operations, and wind farms.

We saw a major boom in manufacturing industries on almost every continent, and an increase in large infrastructure projects and building sites all around the globe. Now, the world experiences an era where massive structures, large-engineered-over-dimensional cargoes are being shipped from multiple origins to multiple international destinations.

As complex project cargo materials are procured, and transported internationally, it is crucial for companies (that engineer, construct and supply for infrastructure projects) to have transportation expertise on their side, too. Working with a transportation expert can add an immense amount of value at every single stage. The project cargo needs to be pre-planned, perhaps even before financing, cargo design, and sourcing begins. The overall success of the project is directly related to how successfully the raw and finished project cargo is delivered.

Within this context, understanding cargo requirements and incorporating certain practices into the project process will prevent common problems, reduce risk, and result in the best possible outcome as companies complete their project shipment requirements.

What industries are mostly involved in Project Cargo Transportation?

Project cargo transportation is used within many industries, yet over the past few decades, the transportation needs of specific industries continue to grow at a faster rate. Global tribune projects for Wind Farms are expected to grow in Asia, North America, and Europe. Nuclear Plants in China, India, South America, and the Middle East are also powering the growth. Demand for mining industry-related equipment is increasing, due to increasing demand for metal commodities. Natural gas consumption worldwide is projected to increase almost 50% by 2035. The United States’ vast shale gas resources are also one of the most promising factors to count in as we look in to the demand for project cargo arrangements.

Preplanning and Execution

Successful project transportation practices requires a smart planning process from the preliminary stages. This can have direct effect on avoiding extra costs for transportation, duties, and taxes. It requires expertise to provide a detailed projection of cost. Some cargoes can be highly valuable. At this stage, choosing a provider with a proven record of success in the transportation of project cargo is a must.

Countries have different regulations when it comes to customs compliance, documentation, taxation, duties, exemptions, licenses, and many other considerations. An analysis from a project cargo expert can help companies with all the regulative aspects, and the budgeting process. A project cargo expert can provide important insights into the cargo design process, can study the routing options based on the designed size of the cargo, and can work on the best suitable option for final delivery.

A project cargo expert can also advise on dimensional and weight restrictions, upon completion of a survey, by going through several variables by means of transportation to achieve successful performance, and the utmost optimization during the shipment.

The execution of project cargo needs to be as detail-oriented as the pre-planning stage. According to transit time, delivery obligations and other requirements, the project cargo transportation provider carefully executes the pre-planned move, keeping accountability, proactive communication, and transparency, at the forefront of the operation.

Bringing It All Together

Here is a to-do list in project cargo transportation:

1) Pre-planning is key – initial transportation advice to move over-dimensional or over-weight cargo can save shippers and costs, provide certainty, and reduce unexpected events. When pre-planning, allow sufficient lead time to coordinate transportation details.

2) Choose a quality transportation provider:

  1. a) With a quality engineering team
  2. b) With the financial strength to assume a certain amount of risk and liability
  3. c) With a proven track record, on-hand experience, and country knowledge
  4. d) Stresses proactive communication that keeps the quick response time to changes/issues
  5. e) With broad knowledge of equipment, local haulers, and manufacturers of equipment and materials, and fast, flexible access to specialized capacity
  6. f) Accuracy and honesty in pricing
  7. g) Impeccable execution

3) Work on a contingency plan(s) – Unexpected events can cause the initial transportation plan not to work out properly, and during these scenarios an alternative plan should be put in place to minimize and resolve issues.

4) Work on constant improvement – There is always room for improvement in project cargo transportation. Tracking the results of finished project cargo moves, and developing potential improvement areas, can help future shipments to produce better outcomes.

At MTS Logistics, our “Project Cargo Team” analyzes:

  • The complexity of the cargo
  • Maximum weight and dimensions of pieces
  • Client delivery obligations
  • Origin facilities/routes
  • Consolidation points
  • The import/export regulations
  • Onsite delivery and installation requirements

Upon analyzing and planning the above aspects, we execute the move with the lowest net sustainable cost, and accountability at the forefront of our focus.

Planning and executing project cargo moves requires more resourceful thinking than any other sector of logistics, and as the MTS Projects Division, we are ready to help.

MTS Projects Division

With headquarters in New York, MTS Logistics Inc Project Department specializes in global oil and gas, mining, wind power, energy, machinery and equipment, and infrastructure project shipments. With strategic project offices and agents located around the world, MTS Logistics engineering team carefully plans and delivers over-dimensional, heavy-lift cargo by land, sea, and air. For more information, visit this link.

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Orkun Gonen
Orkun is originally from Turkey and raised in the southern coastal city of Mersin, well known for its warm weather, and commercial marine port and free zone. Orkun’s interest in the shipping industry can be traced back to his childhood and his proximity to Mersin Port and free zone operations. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Global and International Affairs from Binghamton University. Orkun also holds a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from Middle East Technical University Ankara. He previously worked for a global container shipping line and a New York City based freight forwarder holding various positions in operations, customer service, and sales. Orkun is currently our award-winning sales executive covering and developing several areas: Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and New York. He travels to each of these locations every month to meet his clients, prospective clients and vendors in-person to ensure harmonious supply chains. Due to his operational background in the shipping industry, his clients appreciate his knowledge as value in their supply chain and lean on his expertise. His customer service background ensures that his clients experience a very pleasant shipping experience based on open communication, proactivity, and the satisfaction of selecting the right service. Orkun is a firm believer in trust built from the promise and delivery. He tailor fits the service specifically for each of his clients, covering all their special expectations and requirements. Fun Facts: His parents tricked him to taking classical music education and piano lessons since the age of 6. In time, he turned his attention onto other musical instruments and genres, but this eventually turned him into a music nerd playing several instruments. In his spare time, he plays piano, guitar, and drums, and goes to concerts.