Sizing up out-of-gauge solutions at Irlam

21 October 2019

Often our customers come to us with requirements that inspire us to take a brand new approach. At Peel Ports we’re big on providing our customers with unbeatable solutions which really work.

When it comes to handling cargo that’s just too large or heavy to be shipped in unitised loads, we’ve got a strong track record. We handle cargo that varies from the normal to the abnormally huge and excessively heavy. For us, out-of-gauge cargo isn’t a problem, because we know we can produce the perfect port solution.

The problem

Kuehne + Nagel, one of the world’s leading logistics companies, came to us with a problem, and a pretty big one at that. It needed to safely transport over 30 pieces of project cargo, produced in a factory in Leeds and assembled in Irlam, to its end destination in Thailand.

The cargo was made up of pumps and cooling units for the oil and gas industry. The two biggest items in the cargo were 70 tonnes each and 7.48 metres high. That’s the weight of nearly 50 mid-sized cars and the height of an average two-storey house, each!

These items were not permitted by Highways England to travel by road due to their size, meaning a solution to transporting the abnormally large cargo was required. Initially the enquiry was received via the Port of Liverpool, but this challenge meant the wider Peel Ports team had to come together to find a solution for Kuehne + Nagel.


We identified the Port of Irlam as the safest and most practical location on the Manchester Ship Canal for getting the cargo onto water and onwards to its end destination.

The canal, combined with the River Mersey, provides a continuous 44-mile waterway between Liverpool and Manchester. 

At Irlam, heavy lifting equipment was available to transport the cargo from the quayside to the vessel. Our expert staff were on hand to provide support throughout the loading process.

Two staff from our fully-automated Liverpool Steel and Metals Terminal were also brought in to support the customer and provide a risk assessment and plan loads based on the specific cargo type.

Because some of the cargo was so large, we made the decision to remove fence panels to accommodate it. In fact, nearly a full side of the terminal was temporarily taken out to help the cargo get in.

Once on the ship, the cargo went via the Manchester Ship Canal to its final destination. From Irlam there were no stops, all road miles were avoided, carbon was cut significantly, and ultimately the process was made as smooth as possible – thanks to our green water highway.

Zara Giles, Head of Commercial, Mersey, said: “This was a highly challenging but hugely rewarding project to work on. Working closely with Kuehne + Nagel, we were able to find a solution that ensured the cargo was safely loaded and transported to its final destination. A big bonus was the fact that using the Manchester Ship Canal ensured that road miles were taken out of the equation, and CO2 emissions were reduced significantly.”

Anthony Hall, UK Project Operations Manager at Kuehne + Nagel, said: “Working closely with Peel Ports we were able to ensure that this abnormally large cargo made its way safely out of Irlam and onwards to its end destination. Thanks to Peel Port’s expertise on the ground, infrastructure network and ability to problem solve, we’re delighted to say the project was a great success.”

To enquire about Irlam or move Project Cargo contact us HERE