At the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in Portage, Ind., it was smooth “ale-ing” the week of September 14 for the bulk carrier mv. Federal Mackinac as it arrived carrying 12 brewery tanks destined for a Michigan brewery.
Each cylindrical brewery tank can hold the equivalent of 800 barrels of beer, or the equivalent of 198,400 pints of beer. Each brewery tank weighs 25,353 pounds, the equivalent of 11.5 metric tons, and is 40 feet long and 14 feet in diameter. The total weight for the cargo was 304,235 pounds or 138 metric tons.
The port has become an international hub for “heavy lift” and “project cargo” because of its ocean access and proximity to the U.S. heartland. Shipments of brewery tanks are not as common at the port as coal, limestone, steel and agricultural products, but they are an example of the specialized type of shipment and growing trend of project cargo the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is capable of handling. In the last three years, the port has handled dozens of brewery tanks in five separate shipments.
“When you consider our port’s strategic location in the U.S., its logistical access to ocean vessels, river barges, rail and truck transportation, and our experienced cargo-handling services, our port is uniquely qualified to handle oversized cargoes,” said Port Director Ian Hirt. “For large shipments of beer tanks, wind turbines or machinery, shippers can realize significant savings by keeping the cargo on water as long as possible, rather than dealing with the hassle, permitting and costs to drive oversized loads to or from the East Coast or West Coast. Having ocean access in Indiana is a tremendous advantage for Midwest shippers.”
The stainless-steel tanks arrived from an international manufacturer and were discharged from the mv. Federal Mackinac by Federal Marine Terminal’s shore crane into a storage area. The brewery tanks were then loaded onto heavy-haul semi-trucks for final delivery.
Federal Marine Terminals unloads the large project cargoes at this port, with labor provided by the International Longshoremen’s Association and the International Union of Operating Engineers.