Pioneer completes door to door transport

06 March 2019

Weather is always the unknown when it comes to transporting super loads in the winter months, especially in Canada. Based in Welland, ON, family owned Pioneer Heavy Haul was able to engineer a door-to-door transport solution, providing all the equipment to transport a massive cold box from Port Robinson, ON to Cofield, NC. The cold box measured in at 160 feet long, 28 feet 9 inches wide and 22 feet tall. The gross weight was approximately 736,000 pounds.


After shrink-wrapping, a 20-axle Goldhofer system was used to lift the cold box off its stools.

Pioneer utilized its 3-axle and 4-axle Kenworth C-500s and 20 lines of Goldhofer THP-HL. The trucks and trailer were rigged for any scenario, as two pull trucks or as a push and a pull truck. Pioneer’s team included two drivers, two steermen and four men on the ground.

Pioneer self-loaded the cold box by hydraulically lifting it off the 4-foot stools on which it was fabricated. The Pioneer team then transported the cold box out of the building approximately 500 feet to where a deck barge was awaiting the roll-on operation.

The first challenge Pioneer’s team overcame was to transport the cold box out of the fabricator’s building and out of the main gate to the roadway. Even with widening the shipper’s property, there was just enough real estate to maneuver the cold box through the drive way and out of the gate.

“There was no room for error with the space provided,” said Pioneer’s Operations Manager Mack Jones. “There was some concern that the 160-foot long cold box wasn’t going to make it through the gate. But with our experienced crew and knowledge operating the Goldhofer systems, it went off without a hitch.”


The cold box measured 160 feet long, 28 feet 9 inches wide and 22 feet tall. The gross weight was 736,000 pounds.

Pioneer’s team rolled the cold box and the trailer onto the barge and then secured it to the deck using beams and marine-rated chain. There was a full crew of ironworkers that worked through the night welding the beams from the cold box to the deck of the barge. By morning the barge was on its way, departing from Port Robinson, ON, making its way to the North Atlantic.

Frigid journey

The cold box then made its journey through the Welland Canal to Lake Ontario and through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System to the North Atlantic Ocean. The barge travelled south to Morehead City, NC in a single tow. Local river tugs would then deliver the barge to Cofield, NC. Nucor Steel’s dock is located on Chowan River.

“The barge trip spanned approximately 2,104 nautical miles from Port Robinson, ON to Morehead City, NC and 190 nautical miles from Morehead City, NC - Cofield, NC,” said Jones.

Due to weather considerations, Pioneer’s team estimated the transport would take between 15 days to a month. In fact, the project took 22 days, with the cold box delivered on December 7, 2019. Pioneer’s team met the barge in Cofield and performed the roll off directly into the facility, using Nucor’s on-site dock. The cold box was hauled about one mile to where the Pioneer team self-offloaded it to stools. A crane would later move it into position.

“The success of the cold box delivery was routine due to expert engineering, knowledgeable crews and advance planning,” said Jones. “Under the management of our operations manager Amanda Morrison, our field superintendent Paul White and Field Superintendent Kurt Morrison, Pioneer completed the delivery of another cold box.”


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