Project Cargo Explained

Project Cargo is a term used to describe the transportation of large, heavy, complex or high-value pieces of equipment or materials, both domestically and internationally. They’re often parts intended for a certain project, and most commonly in the construction, engineering, mining, oil, rail and energy industries. Project cargo, also referred to as Heavy Lift, is categorised by its complex shape, size or weight that makes movement of the item difficult. It will require an individual transport plan that could involve multiple channels and specific treatment.

Project or heavy lift cargo generally weighs between 1-1000 tonnes, and can have a width or height that exceeds 50 metres. It can be moved by land, sea, or air, and involve forms of transportation from planes, trucks, rail, cranes, ships or barges – sometimes a combination of these.

Project cargo tends to have a particular time-frame or specified delivery date that makes these shipments some of the most complex and detailed projects in the logistics industry. Not to mention, the cost involved with loss or damage of most project cargo can be very large, possibly millions of dollars. Typical Heavy Lift items include generators, turbines, wind blades, boilers, locomotives, boats, satellites, military equipment, and parts of oil rigs and production platforms.

In the last several decades, globalisation has increased the demand for large infrastructure projects worldwide and has supported a boom in manufacturing industries on almost every continent. Companies are seeking the most efficient transportation methods as they embark on large and expensive project cargo operations.

SILA provides door-to-door logistics services for project cargo both nationally and internationally, with proven capabilities in energy, construction, rail, metallurgical and mining industries. Our partner Sinotrans owns and operates a fleet of over 50 breakbulk vessels, as well as weekly container liner services ex-North Asia & China to Australia.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you have project cargo to be moved:

Planning is key

Complex cargo operations require attention to detail, and oftentimes a detailed engineering process in order to stay within the projected budget and delivery timeline. Pre-planning is the crucial step that leads to an effective operation, including the elimination of risks and reduction of costs.

Working with a transportation expert such as SILA Global can add an immense amount of value at every stage. We will advise on weight and dimension restrictions, manage possible risks or unforeseen events, and ensure detail-oriented pre-planning. We’ll also explore routing options and select the best option based on the cargo size, as well as undertake a budget projection to ensure you avoid extra duties, taxes and other miscellaneous costs.


The precise execution of the planned route is crucial to successful delivery. The shipment should be managed from start to finish, with proactive communication with the client. Your project cargo manager should meticulously execute the transport plan while also maintaining liability and client transparency throughout.

Contingency plan
Sometimes unforeseen events can void the initial transportation plans so it’s important to have a contingency plan so as to still make a timely delivery. Initial planning should address major risks or predicted issues, and contingency plans should prepare for any unforeseen or worst-case-scenario changes that may occur pre or mid-shipment.


Given that Project Cargo is a complex (and expensive) exercise, it’s important to track and analyse the results of the transport plan post-delivery to ensure continuous improvement going forward. At SILA we’re always looking to produce better outcomes and continued improvement in performance for all of our clients, and projects.
SILA makes global project management easy with expert staff, experienced partners and our suite of SV3 products that provide us with complete visibility of your item throughout the entire supply chain.

Our combination of people and capabilities along with systems and processes make SILA Global an excellent choice for your project cargo needs.

For more information on how our visualisation products can take your project cargo to the next level, click here or or get in touch with our friendly teams in Australia or New Zealand:

Phone +61 7 3908 1690

New Zealand
Phone +64 9 390 7942