SMIS: moving industrial or special loads by sea and multimodal means

SMIS is Marfret’s division specializing in moving industrial and other large or special loads by sea and multimodal means.

With a network of agents and its end-to-end control of the logistics and transport chain, Marfret offers comprehensive, turnkey solutions that provide its clients with savings in cost and time and reduce risks.

Whether it’s space cargo capsules, satellites, entire factories, navy ships or racing yachts, the projects handled by Marfret’s SMIS division are designed to solve the problems inherent in carrying heavy and/or oversized consignments, calling on all of Marfret’s expertise as ship owner, chartering agent, stevedoring company, freight forwarder, ship’s agent and logistics services provider.

A specialized Project Department

In a world of standardization imposed by the ISO container, special transport requires the ability to analyze costs and assess risks and technical feasibility to undertake tailored solutions. Marfret’s project team has this ability. For each project, SMIS delivers a door- to- door solution that takes into account:

  • sea, road and inland waterway transport options by conventional cargo or container;
  • ship loading and unloading protocols (using slings, lifting platforms, etc.)
  • routing and delivery schedule constraints

A trusted network

The SMIS division is backed by a network of agents in over 30 countries. This permanent presence on the ground gives it a huge advantage in terms of local knowledge of regulations and customs and cost factors in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Pacific, Central and South American zones where Marfret is strongest.

SMIS transports material for Chesapeake 2018

The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle on a major technical stop in Toulon until 2019, the on-board air group (GAé) continued its training across the Atlantic thanks to the collaboration of the US Navy. From April 3 to May 27, 2018, nearly 350 GAé sailors joined the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia on their own initiative as part of the Chesapeake 2018 mission. SMIS transported all the support equipment from Brest to Norfolk. A look back at the main stages of this first military convoying operation for SMIS bound for the United States.

Familiar with transporting maritime containers, Marfret paid particular attention to those loaded in Brest on 5 and 6 March 2018. In total, approximately 80 containers of support equipment from the airborne group (GAé) and the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle were loaded onto the “MPC Nicosia”. This rigged container ship was specially chartered for SMIS by Marfret’ brokerage subsidiary Broker Shipping.

These containers were shipped to the United States as part of the operation called “Chesapeake”. This deployment, which refers to the Battle of Chesapeake Bay, is intended to train French sailors and maintain a high level of interoperability with the US Navy.

In Brest, Laurence Gloaguen, SMIS expert, supervised the loading of the equipment. The “MPC Nicosia” immediately set sail for Norfolk. The unfavorable weather conditions did not slow down the vessel, which had to face successive depressions during the crossing. “We have set up a weather routing so that the ship does not fall behind when crossing the Atlantic,” explains Louis Bonnefon, manager for Marfret’s SMIS dpt. This routing allowed the vessel to reach the American East Coast on time. The MCP “Nicosia” entered Norfolk Naval Air Station at Chambers Field on 22 March, unaccustomed to receiving commercial vessels.

For Marfret USA, a specialist in the transport of commercial containers on Marfret’s NASP service, this military operation was a first. “It was a success thanks to Marfret’s know-how and teamwork around the world. We benefit from the experience of our NASP line as well as the Dunkirk and Rouen agencies. The IT department helped us with the preparation of the documentation and EDI exchanges. Finally, Marfret USA allowed us to prepare the stopover of the “MCP Nicosia” and the unloading at the Norfolk naval base. Marfret has once again demonstrated its reactivity to meet a specific transport need of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and has carried out this transport to the greatest satisfaction of its customer!

Photo: Operation Chesapeake involved 27 French pilots, 3,700 marines and 301 sailors from the GAé and Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier (mission planners, mechanics, flight deck personnel). As for the pilots, they flew to the United States with their planes, Rafale and E-2C Hawkeye.


For Ariane 6, Marfret and Smis stand on the gas

The first nozzle of the P120 solid rocket motor common to the future European launchers left ArianeGroup plant in Le Haillan (South of France) last April for Kourou, the headquarters of the French Guiana Space Centre. This first element of the future European launcher was loaded on M/V “Marfret Guyane. SMIS, project manager for this transport, relied on the company’s French Guiana line and its Le Havre agency.

ArianeGroup has entrusted Marfret with the delivery of the very first nozzle of the Ariane 6 P120 solid rocket motor. The 9-tonne element, carefully protected, left the Haillan factory near Bordeaux by truck to reach the port of Le Havre two days later. On the dock, the M/V “Marfret Guyane”, deployed on Marfret’s Guiana-Amazonia service, was waiting for it.

SMIS, Guiana-Amazonia and Marfret’s local maritime agency mobilized together with GMP, the handling company in Le Havre, to organize the loading under the best possible conditions.

This essential sub-assembly creates thrust by ejecting the motor’s combustion gases. It measures 3.48 m in diameter and 4.34 m high. Delicately placed on a flat rack container, this first nozzle was then loaded into the ship’s hold.

Once the lashing operations were completed, the vessel immediately cast off towards French Guiana. ” Marfret and its SMIS dpt. have created a hand-sewn service to ensure smooth management of transport operations,” explains Louis Bonnefon, director of the Marfret Genevilliers agency and the Specialised Industrial Maritime Services (SMIS) department.

On 25 April, the “Marfret Guyane” docked at Degrad-des-Cannes. The nozzle was immediately unloaded from the ship, thanks to the on-board cranes, and transported the same day in a special convoy to the Guiana Space Centre located 80 km away from the port.

At its destination, the nozzle was fitted to the body of the booster intended for the first firing test on the solid rocket booster test stand. Two other test stand firings will follow to qualify this motor before the flights of Vega-C in 2019 and Ariane 6 in 2020. ” The P120 nozzle is a model of technological success and design to cost. It meets the exacting demands of the Ariane 6 and Vega-C programs” says Yves Traissac, Head of solid fuel propulsion at ArianeGroup.