Colchester: Wallis Shipping rises to the occasion to fly giant consignment to Japan

The machinery despatched by Wallis Shipping to Japan is loaded on to the Antonov 124 cargo aircraft.

The machinery despatched by Wallis Shipping to Japan is loaded on to the Antonov 124 cargo aircraft. - Credit: Archant

Wallis Shipping has completed an urgent jumbo-sized contract to fly equipment weighing the equivalent of 12 elephants from France to Japan.

Two 45-tonne pieces of machinery weres sent by air, on a specialised Antonov 124 aircraft, as sea transport would not have got them to their destination on time.

The only method of air transport suitable for such a project was a Russian-built Antonov 124 where cargo is loaded through the nose of the plane, which lifts up like a flip-top lid at a 45 degree angle.

Stuart Gregory, chief executive of Wallis Shipping, which is based in Brunel Way, Colchester, said: “There is specialist experience needed for this work as you have to know what kinds of transport can take this kind of cargo. The Antonov 124 is perfect for this sort of load.

“We also had to go into the micro detail of what sort of cranes we needed at the airport to lift the machinery. For this load, two large pieces of machinery collectively weighing 90 tonnes, there had to be special cradles made, to enable the load to be pulled on tracks right into the aircraft.”

Wallis Shipping has carried a variety of goods around the world, including condoms to Africa, World War II records to a museum in the United States and waste water screens to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games.