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Ups and Downs

I am starting to wonder if I will be able to string a series of good days together.  Today I was reminded why I left professional purchasing.  There are so many crappy vendors in this world.

I am bringing both my Durisol ICF and my TriForce Floor Truss from back east.  Both of these are great vendors (although I did have issues with one of the TriForce agents in the Vancouver area).  In this case, my frustration is geared towards a freight broker.

I wanted both of these goods to come to Vancouver by Train considering the much lower embodied energy (and I found out today to my surprise – cost) over traditional truck freight (which has the highest embodied energy of almost all forms of transit).  I had been planning this shipment since Feb 2013!

Yes you read right – 2013.  This project was originally supposed to proceed a year ago and I had gone out for freight quotes to move these two products from Eastern Canada to BC.  I wanted to make sure it was reasonably affordable and did not place too high a burden on the budget.

The ICF was pretty much a slam dunk, it was something I wanted to showcase and I thought would lower my costs by allowing me to do the installation.  I will need to check the numbers when done to see if this was actually the case. The floor trusses were also pretty critical to the design.  In only a 12″ depth, they had models that spanned 22′.  For those in the industry, you know this is an impressive span that can really open up a structural design.  This saves money by reducing the need for beams, posts, and most importantly – footings.  The added benefit was that this was an open web truss that allowed EASY routing of all services including HVAC. The icing on the cake, was that this was an environmentally friendly product fabricated in an environmentally friendly factory.

So in February of 2013, I provided the rail freight broker the weight and dims of the expected skid (pretty close to today’s actual) volumes with the largest one being 4ft wide, 27″ tall (in reality is only 15″) and 22′ ft long. I estimated this skid at 1800 lbs. In March of THIS year, I reiterated that this shipment was going to happen and that I was just working through some permit bureaucracy. In May I confirmed the transit time from each vendor to the consolidation point in Ontario and again confirmed that the trusses would be able to stack on top of the ICF pallets in the rail container.  They came back with no problem and even advised they have a method of creating a second level in the inter-modal rail container with spreader bars able to support 2000 lbs at each post.

Yesterday, I finally finalized the truss order and this morning contacted the freight broker to arrange for shipment this Thursday only to be told “Sorry – we cannot do this”  They decided that they did not have the facilities to lift the trusses on top of the ICF pallets without damaging the cargo.

As a person who worked in logistics for years and who has actually loaded heavy 20ft items into the upper level of a container before, I felt this was total bunk!  You line up the item with the container and lift from the side with one forklift to the height needed.  You then take a second forklift and push the bundle from the end into the container.  Of course you need a smooth surface to slide on, but this is easily handled by decking that level with plywood.  As you can only push in 20ft, you need to do this operation in two halves or you can line up and use a second bundle to push the first bundle to the back half of the container. To get it out, you reverse the process using a pallet grabber to pull the bundle out onto the receiving forklift. For the second bundle at the back you need the grabber and a chain.

Pallet Grabber allows a forklift to pull a pallet out even when they are not close enough to get the forks under.
Pallet Grabber allows a forklift to pull a pallet out even when they are not close enough to get the forks under.

Anyway – enough of the shipping lesson, the facts are I was now screwed.  The goods were going to have to come by flatbed truck all the way to BC.  The added embodied energy is bad enough pill to swallow, but it turns out this is also more expensive than rail (counter to my assumption) – Much more expensive.  The adder for the truss package to ride on top of the ICF was only $1200.  The cheapest truck freight quote I have so far is $4600!

This is a game changer and would have probably effected my decision to buy these trusses.  I certainly would have looked a lot harder on a more local basis to find someone who could fabricate something similar or I would have looked at changing the design to require shorter spans.

I am still working on options to move this freight.  I do not need on site till September or even early October.  The pickup now was because it was coming with my ICF which I do need on site by mid Augustish. I am looking for a co-load share shipment where a trucker coming this way has a 4ft x 22ft space left on his flat bed.

This fiasco ended up absorbing 4 hours of my day and generally took the air out of my tires for the rest of the day.  I know stuff like this is going to happen and I need to suck it up and not let it get to me.  But I did not expect it out of the gate and on something I though was so well planned.

I did manage to strip the drywall from the garage and remove the garage electrical panel and the house electrical panel and generator bypass.  Also managed a trip to the dump to get rid of the bags full of mineral wool insulation (which they almost did not accept – seems they have issues with blown in insulation. Only an assurance that there was no fibreglass blown-in included in the bags, got me through the gate keepers).

SO I got about a third of a day’s work done.  This just is not going to do and I am going to have to step up my game.  Tomorrow I hope to strip the remaining shingles off the two roof sections that are left, remove all of the ship-lap from the remaining roof structure, and then remove the remaining roof and ceiling structure (I will leave a few ceiling joists until ready to take the walls completely down).  I will be satisfied if I get this done.

Lets see how I do. Thanks for visiting.


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