Moving a 66 Ton Chamber

July 1, 2008
Multiple providers and careful planning helped smooth the progress of an oversized shipment from Brisbane to Milwaukee.

Taking the pressure off the manufacturer of what’s been called the largest rectangular hyperbaric chamber ever made was Maryland-based John S. Connor, Inc. Getting the $3 million chamber from the Fink Engineering plant in Australia to Milwaukee’s St. Luke’s Medical Center required extremely tight coordination all along its route.

The chamber is one of four in the US. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical treatment in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen within the pressurized chamber for conditions such as problem wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning and exceptional blood loss.

Fink outsourced all movement of the 52.4 ft long, 12.3 ft wide and 9.5 ft tall chamber from its plant to the hospital. For a previous similar operation, Fink used a different provider and had the shipment sit for two weeks in Long Beach while the Mayo Clinic waited its arrival.

An Australian Connor partner, Global Product Supply Management, arranged the pick up of the chamber, its movement to the port and loading aboard one of the only vessels that can handle a shipment of this size.

Working with US authorities, Connor cleared the load through Customs three days before it reached the Port of Long Beach. The truck that would transport the load was waiting at the pier when the ship landed and was unloaded. Because the transport was 132 ft long on 13 axles—over wide, over high and over weight— special permits were required from each state along the route.

“This unique shipment was a matter of tight coordination and cooperation among John S. Connor and all of our contracted partners and vendors,” recalls Diane Olszewski, Connor’s Export/NVOCC manager. “Working on an extremely tight schedule, we coordinated the logistics from the manufacturing plant in Australia, including inland transport, port crane handling, ocean transport to Long Beach, customs clearance, and then truck transport to Milwaukee.”

The load could only arrive on site on a Thursday. A 2,700 ft section of the roof of the hospital building was removed above the level at which the chamber would be placed. Connor coordinated delivery with the construction company, crane operator and others engaged in the process. The street had to be closed, bus routes changed and a police escort arranged. The roof was replaced, electrical and mechanical components installed to complete the project.

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