Logistical challenges inherent in high-budget projects

Knauf, a major manufacturer of construction materials, has chosen ROHLIG SUUS Logistics as the operator who will provide comprehensive logistical and customs services in respect of the transport of a manufacturing line from Germany to a newly-opened manufacturing plant in Russia.

The company transported the entire manufacturing line in 1:1 scale, using project cargo and FCL transportation and providing consulting services throughout the entire process, starting from the drawing up of technical and customs documentation and preparation of the goods for transport in Germany. The initial stage involved a full survey of the manufacturing line and preparing detailed descriptions of its constituent parts.

The next stage was the most complicated and time-consuming part of the entire process and involved drawing up the export documents, including invoices and specifications, and preparing the incoming (Russian) customs clearance and an application to the Federal Customs Authority in Moscow, based on the above-mentioned technical documentation.

‘Minimising customs duties is of key importance when dealing with high-budget projects. Duties amounting to 3 or 5% of the value of the transport may still constitute a huge cost for our Client, as they can reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of Polish złoty. The logistical operator’s aim is therefore to ensure that the goods pass through incoming customs clearance with a zero customs duty’, said Dariusz Korczyński, Eastern Markets Development Manager at ROHLIG SUUS Logistics.

However, convincing the Russian authorities to issue the special permit required to import the goods subject to zero customs duty is not an easy task. Apart from preparing extensive and detailed documentation, the operator must always keep in mind the risk associated with even the tiniest mistake, as the Federal Customs Authority in Moscow may at any time revoke the decision to grant a preferential customs duty rate. The Authority is a very specialised entity that goes out of its way to find any mistakes in submitted documentation, all of which means that obtaining the permit is a difficult process. What’s more, the logistics operator must deal with the same problems when putting each individual portion of the goods through customs clearance when carrying out the transport. Due to the above, work on preparing all the required material took 14 months and focused on demonstrating to the customs authorities that each component part of the manufacturing line constitutes its integral element required to ensure its correct functioning.

Another challenge inherent in such complicated projects is having to schedule loading and dispatch operations, in this situation of individual components of the manufacturing line, so as to synchronise them with the schedule of the line’s reassembly. Manufacturing lines are usually assembled by a whole team of engineers and specialists from various countries, based on a pre-arranged schedule, and the assembly of the line in Knauf’s plant in Novosibirsk was no different. It was a huge undertaking, and its success hinged not only on the logistics operator’s flexibility, but also on its ability to manage the entire logistics chain.

Apart from FCL and oversize load transport services, ROHLIG SUUS also used so-called emergency modules (fast, dedicated vans) to assist in the relocation of the manufacturing line; the modules were used to deliver various small parts, such as missing bolts, cables, fasteners, automatics and many other goods, which sometimes suddenly become necessary outside the schedule when working on a project of this size.