It’s not often that a freight move requires the manufacture of a custom-built dolly for a suicide torpedo, a custom-designed boat tarp for a WWII German submarine, or a specialized crate for the removal of a corroded Navy shipping mine while in its concrete base. But when that’s the case, and the freight is of historical significance, you need a logistics company with deep experience in providing customized transportation solutions.
When the United States Naval History and Heritage Command needed its World War II artifacts moved from a New Jersey museum to Virginia, in just a few days’ time, Landstar’s government services team collaborated with one of Landstar’s many independent agencies to make the Navy mission possible. Yankee Enterprise Inc., a Landstar agency, has a history of meticulously arranging Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) moves, including decades-old military equipment.
During the 1970s, crowds would travel to the museum to get a glimpse of the war-time relics on display and Boy Scouts could camp overnight in a U.S. WWII submarine. The main attractions located inside and on the grounds of the museum property included the USS Ling, a WWII diesel submarine; a 75-year-old German Seehund mini submarine; a Japanese manned torpedo known as a Kaiten; large missiles; and numerous deep sea diving artifacts from World War II. In 2016, the museum needed to vacate the property, which left the Navy to reclaim approximately 100 artifacts on loan to the museum and find a way to transport the historic and rather bulky items to the U.S. Defense Supply Center in Richmond, Virginia.
That’s when the Landstar team entered the picture and spent dozens of hours in preparation to move the museum. Landstar’s intricate plan for the museum move provided the Navy with a specific logistics management plan for specialized packing, loading and unloading, and shipping sequence of the freight which required the use of cranes, forklifts, slings, spreader bars and hooks. Team members packing the artifacts inside of the museum had to wear white-cotton gloves and use archival packaging materials and techniques.
In an additional part of the safety plan, Landstar outlined the requirements for the material handling equipment used and operational checklists for the operators who would be using the equipment. The plan included specifying the personal protective equipment (PPE) that operators would be required to wear on site, as well as requiring operators to complete a safety orientation and an on-site equipment checklist before operating the crane or forklifts.
“Landstar Government Services worked jointly with the Landstar agency to perform an analysis of the request for proposal (RFP) and statement of work (SOW) to complete a cost and item-by-item packing, loading and transportation plan,” explained Landstar’s Vice President of Strategic Government Accounts Steve Jones. “Once we identified experienced subcontractors, we submitted our proposal to the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), the Navy’s Transportation Management Office (TMO) and the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).”
Upon approval, the efforts started inside the New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, New Jersey, where the artifacts were studied, then gently removed from their displays to be packaged and loaded for shipping by five approved vendors specifically selected by Landstar for their expertise in packing, crating, dismantling and unloading large artifacts by crane or forklift. Moving some of the larger artifacts housed on the museum grounds, however would require a more strategic logistical plan.
“Landstar researched the military archive for references on handling the shipping of the periscopes, specific missiles and other artifacts. In order to move the Kaiten, we had a custom, wheeled dolly manufactured to support the 37,000 pounds of net weight which could not exceed the warehouse floor-bearing weight of 3,000 pounds per square foot at the NHHC restoration facility in Richmond,” explained Jones.
Landstar worked closely on site with the approved vendors to prepare the rare pieces for transport all while under the observation by staff from the NHHC. All items, including a 30’ Talos ship-launched guided missile, needed custom crating built and loaded on site. Other artifacts needed to be delicately handled by the professionals. For example, instead of removing a severely corroded MK 16 mine from its concrete base at the museum site, a special crate, with special movement-resistant internal support, was constructed to ship the mine intact so that curator staff at the NHHC restoration center could later remove it from the concrete. Larger items, including the Seehund, Kaiten, the guided missiles, and a Vietnam-era patrol boat, river (PBR) would be loaded by crane to flatbeds, step decks and 3-axle stretch double drops, secured and tarped under the watchful eye of the NHHC staff. Additionally, retired engineers from the Vought Heritage Foundation in Grand Prairie, Texas supplied original plans and photos to ensure that the wings of a Regulus I nuclear cruise missile could be unlocked and folded for transport. All items from the museum buildings and the 43’ long periscopes were strategically placed into dry vans, all to be driven by 10 Landstar business capacity owners (BCOs), the company’s term for truck owner-operators leased to Landstar.
“This wasn’t a task for just any company,” said Aaron Flanigan, operations manager for Yankee Enterprise Inc. “All of the Landstar pieces had to come together in a very short time frame, and under the Naval Heritage and History Command’s guidance.”
Landstar project managers Steve Jones, vice president of strategic government accounts, and Michele Brown, director of government operations, closely monitored the vendors that ensured safe and reliable handling, packing and crating of the artifacts for transport.
“The companies Landstar selected to work with were required to provide proof of their abilities and demonstrate they had the skills and equipment to handle the artifacts based on their prior experience, and all of their responsibilities and experience were documented as part of the RFP response,” said Jones.
In just four days’ time, Landstar arrived on site in New Jersey, the Navy’s property was packed and the 10 Landstar BCOs, using various trailers, were loaded with the oversized and naval historical artifacts, heading for next-day delivery in Richmond, Va. Shawn Anthony, the sales manager for the Landstar agent, was on site at the NHHC restoration facility in Richmond to monitor the unloading and placement of the artifacts. Their biggest challenge was moving the 53’ long Kaiten on its custom dolly through a 13’ dock door into a 28’ corridor for a 200 yard trip further into the warehouse.
“The planning that took place was incredible. We made sure the customer was happy every step of the way and the artifacts arrived with no damage and on time,” said Flanigan.
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