Commodity: Locomotives
Customers: Liburnia Maritime Agency and NRE
Location: Greens Port Industrial Terminals

The Greens Port Industrial Terminals team continues to develop new solutions for customers by adding capabilities and service offerings. Recently, their focus has been on increasing project cargo and breakbulk stevedoring services. One of their first big projects was unloading their first wind vessel on their own, and in late March, the team loaded six locomotives for outbound shipment.

For many years, Greens Port has been a hub for imports on the Houston Ship Channel. The docks were the site where ocean vessels called to unload their cargo of bulk products and steel pipe and coils. Since expanding capacity with more docks and creating an internal team of stevedores, they’ve been able to bring in more diverse cargo and gain more export traffic.

On March 24, that export cargo came in the form of six locomotives. The locomotives were built by National Railway Equipment (NRE) and were able to travel to Greens Port on their wheels because their destination country uses the same rail gauge as the U.S. They did not travel not under their own power, though. Greens Port’s K-Dock has direct ship-to-rail access. Watco has a close relationship with NRE. The company, based in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, recently built some of the locomotives used by Watco Australia in Queensland.

“The locomotives are received from the PTRA (Port Terminal Railroad Association) and are switched in by our rail team to be delivered directly under the ship’s hook at K-Dock. We lift them directly from rail,” said Scott Butler, sales director. “There are only a few places in Houston with direct rail access for lifts like these. Our customers know Watco has the infrastructure and expertise. Our team handled the job well.”

The locomotives weigh roughly 200 tons each. The Greens Port team was responsible for rigging the units for their lift from the rail onto the ship. The team coordinated with NRE to ensure the rigging was done correctly. Once the cables were secured, two of the ship’s cranes worked in unison to lift, swing, and lower the locomotives into the ships, where they were set on timbers and secured for travel.

“These were pretty cool, and we’ve got more projects going right now, and in the works,” Butler said. “We’re working on more utilization of the K Dock because its rail access is pretty unique. We’re unloading some big engines right now, onto railcars. That another big job for our railcar securing team.”

This truly was a worldwide move. NRE was the shipper, but the actual customer was Liburnia Maritime Agency, based in Croatia. The locomotives were loaded onto an Ocean 7 vessel. Ocean 7 has a fleet of ships and offices based in countries across Europe, and in Japan and Malaysia. After being loaded, the locomotives began their 7,000-mile plus journey to a port in Libreville, the capital of the African nation of Gabon.