How do you shift a 305 tonne Azipod seamlessly? – Let alone transport it to the other side of the world

The task

As a part of a logistics assignment in the first semester, we received a group project to interview and learn about the logistics functions within a company of our choice and write a report or make a video regarding our research. We quickly settled on our first selection being the ABB Group and directly messaged the head of logistics within the company. Sceptical of accepting our interview, within twenty minutes we received a warm welcoming into one of the multinational corporation’s branches in ABB Marine and Ports, Vuosaari.

The Azipod

For those of you that do not know what as Azipod is, it is a gearless propulsion system that has the ability to turn around 360 degrees and is a trade mark product of the ABB Group. These are attached to the bottom a vessel or a ship’s hull and with weight varying between 100 to 305 tonnes. ABB Marine and Ports is the assembly plant for these Azipods and are then shipped to their customers.

The interview

We arrived for the interview and with the sole expectations of being slightly under an hour and getting a small insight into the complex logistics involved in transporting primarily the Azipod. Instead, we received far more interaction than anticipated and not only an insight into the logistics of ABB Marine and Ports, but a general overview of what ABB does and how it accomplishes such things. Moreover, we were lucky enough to also receive a tour around the assembly plant where the actual Azipods were assembled, as well as detailed information and answers about the in-house and out-sourced logistics.

The logistics

You are still probably wondering how they transport something of such magnitude and weight, so now I am to going explain it. In short, after the assembly of the Azipod, it is hoisted by a sophisticated Gantry crane and placed on a large trolley. Due to the plant’s strategic location, it is positioned right next to the harbour and the trolley is navigated to a ship for a free on board (FOB) shipment to its customer’s destination.

This company interview was not only beneficial for the assignment, however, it was very beneficial for understanding the importance of day-to-day use of logistics, and how different the business world would be without the logistics we have today. Many thanks to the head of Logistics of ABB Marine and Ports for giving us this opportunity.

Written by Kingsley Ndukwe
Editor: Trang Dang