Shipping Ballast Wagons? No Problem with MSC Project Cargo Team!


Shipping Ballast Wagons? No Problem with MSC Project Cargo Team!


  • MSC carried 11 wagons from Antwerp to Montevideo in a single shipment
  • This major achievement relied on MSC’s breakbulk expertise and collaborative approach
  • The project cargo team works closely with customers to create customised solutions
  • Customers can rely on MSC to find space on board ships and at the port for oversized cargo, even during the pandemic.


Working in project cargo has one key requirement: collaboration.

After completing a sea voyage of 7’590 nautical miles from Antwerp to Montevideo, 11 Ballast Wagons were successfully discharged in Uruguay from container vessel MSC Sofia Celeste. This breakbulk cargo was loaded on MSC’s NWC String I service, which from North Europe calls: Sines, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Navegantes, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rio Grande. The wagons – each 14 metres long, with a width and height in excess of 3 metres and a combined weight of 290 tonnes - arrived safely in Montevideo on Tuesday, March 9.

MSC Project Cargo delivers in challenging times

Ben Collins, MSC Global Project Cargo Manager, said: “The successful execution of this shipment is a further demonstration of MSC’s capabilities and of our continued commitment to carrying breakbulk cargo on our services. In order to accommodate these ballast wagons, a bed of 24 x 40ft flat racks was created, generating a surface area of nearly 675 square metres on which the cargo was stowed.”

The ballast wagons represent part of a very important project for Uruguay, which is currently building a viaduct as part of Rambla Sudamérica, a project that is futureproofing the port of Montevideo. The viaduct is designed and built to support the circulation of loaded trucks and passenger cars. At completion, it will be approximately 1,800 metres long, with three entry and exit lanes and a 160-metre-long arched bridge. With this project, the port is expected to gain nine hectares of essential surface area, two-way rail access to the port, and greater traffic fluidity.

“At a time when the entire market remains under considerable systemic pressure due to the global pandemic, and unparalleled disruptions continue to affect all the major actors in the international supply chain, our project cargo team is going above and beyond to ensure the planning and execution of special loadings continue uninterrupted, offering the maximum safety and security for each and every cargo project,” Ben commented.

Despite the well-documented congestion at some key trade centres worldwide, a dedicated area of 1,000 square metres of terminal space was provided to store the cargo at MPET terminal in Antwerp in preparation for loading before the arrival of MSC Sofia Celeste.

Continuity of service is a key priority for MSC in the midst of the global pandemic, and the project cargo team has been able to serve breakbulk clients by counting on MSC’s fast transit times and vast global coverage. 

Close collaboration for the win

Another key element that strongly contributed to the success of this shipment was the close collaboration between MSC Belgium and MSC Uruguay, together with customer offices in both countries, and terminal operators on both sides.

At MSC, close-knit cooperation is fundamental to ensure a tailor-made solution that best fits all parties’ needs, resulting in a safe and cost-effective offering for the transport of all kind of project cargo.

Project cargo: the MSC way

“MSC’s project cargo team brings customers first-class project cargo management. We have the experience to provide safe and successful planning and execution of special loadings, which ensures dedicated and individual focus for each and every breakbulk shipment,” Ben said.

MSC provides solutions to customers in the sector by developing and keeping a close relationship with them and ensuring excellent understanding of their business needs and project priorities. Our dedicated experts are equipped with exceptional skills and in-depth knowledge supported throughout the business by our planning, logistics and operations personnel, ensuring customers’ cargo is handled smoothly and safely every time.

Find out more about our Project Cargo services and expertise.