Ports and Docks We Cover (Shipping and Transport)

Ports and Docks We Cover (Shipping and Transport)

As one of the UK’s premier low loader and HIAB crane hire companies, HJ Logistics cover all of the main ports and docks in the South East of England. We can deliver or collect a wide variety of loads and deliver them to most UK and European destinations.

Importing or exporting shipping containers is a fairly straightforward process due to their uniform size and many transport logistics/haulage companies specialise in this field, but what about those loads that aren’t suitable to be transported this way?

Difficult or unusual loads

As we specialise in the transport of more awkward loads such as excavators, wheeled loaders, farming machinery and factory equipment etc. we’re the ideal choice for those more unusual scenarios. We can arrange the shipping and deal with much of the paperwork in order to make your experience less stressful and trouble-free.

Boat and yacht transport

We can also take care of boat and yacht transport whether or not the boat is on the water or in dry dock and our mobile HIAB cranes are capable of lifting boats directly from the water if necessary. We can safely and reliably collect/deliver your boat to/from any UK destination,

Ports and docks we cover in the South East

Chatham Docks
London Medway Head Office
Archway House
Sheerness Dock
ME12 1RS

Port of Dover
Harbour House
Marine Parade
CT17 9BU

Port of Felixstowe
Tomline House
The Dock
IP11 3SY

London Gateway
1 London Gateway,
SS17 9DY

Newhaven Port & Properties Ltd
Administration Office
East Quay
East Sussex

Portsmouth Port
Port Manager’s Department
Whale Island Way
United Kingdom

Southampton Port
Vessel Traffic Services Centre
Ocean Gate
Atlantic Way
SO14 3QN

Shoreham Port
Nautilus House
90-100 Albion Street
BN42 4ED


Sussex Port Forwarding
Gate 1
Basin Road South
BN41 1WF
(Delivery address for Stevedoring, Ship’s Agency & Haulage)

Port of Tilbury London Limited
Leslie Ford House
RM18 7EH

HJ Logistics are the perfect choice for low-loader and long-reach, high-load mobile HIAB crane hire for all ports and docks in South East England. Our main areas of operation are Kent, Surrey, Essex, Sussex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & London.

Steam Cranes – The Fairbairn Steam Crane, Bristol Docks

Steam Cranes – The Fairbairn Steam Crane, Bristol Docks

Cranes before the steam era

At the pinnacle of today’s modern mobile crane design we have obvious examples such as HIAB‘s hydraulic, truck mounted crane; but what about the pre-diesel, pre-hydraulic days? What source of power did they use to lift such heavy loads? Well, according to modern-day scholars, the very first use of cranes can be attributed to the Ancient Greeks.

Back then, even without the availability of fossil fuels, cranes were still widely used in construction projects to lift heavy stone slabs and wooden beams into place. This was typically done using the muscle power of either men or animals but, if a river was nearby, the crane could be powered by a water wheel. Furthermore, if there was sufficient wind, cranes could also be powered by a windmill. This was the case for many centuries until the coming of the Industrial Revolution. when everything radically changed.

During this time, steam-powered engines of all kinds were at the zenith of modern design and technology. Much like the force created when water is pushed from the spout of a kettle, the coal-powered steam cranes of yesteryear used a similar principle to generate the force needed to lift heavy objects.

The Fairbairn Steam Crane, Bristol

Fairbairn Steam Crane, Bristol Docks

Bristol’s very own Fairbairn Steam Crane is an excellent example of this. It gets its name from Sir William Fairbairn, who patented the design in 1850 and is the only surviving working example of a Fairbairn steam crane left in existence. If you want to see it ‘up close and personal’, it can be found at Bristol Docks on the quayside at Princes Wharf and it’s looked after by Bristol’s M Shed Museum.

Watch the video

Lifting capacity

Although many of Fairbairn’s cranes were powered by hand and therefore unable to lift very heavy loads, the steam-powered Bristol crane could lift an impressive 35 tons. Prior to this, none of the dock’s 17 other cranes could lift more than 3 tons. This limit on weight capacity was increasingly becoming a problem for Bristol Docks because ship design was changing so rapidly during the 1870s. The Industrial Revolution was in full-swing and metal hulled ships were becoming much bigger and their cargos were becoming heavier; if bigger cranes were not commissioned, Bristol Docks would lose out to other competing docks.

Since Bristol Docks had already invested heavily in building a railway line adjacent to the harbour quay, the decision was taken to spend £3,600 on a desperately needed steam crane. So, in 1875, the order was placed and construction commenced. After 3 years, The Fairbairn Steam Crane in Bristol was completed in August of 1878.

Lacklustre performance

You’d think that after spending £3,600 on the crane (which was a considerable amount back then), it would be working flat out and earning its keep every day but this wasn’t the case. For example, in 1890, the Fairbairn Steam Crane only operated for a mere 16 days during the entire year and only made a profit of 11 shillings and sixpence. Even worse, from 1903 to 1909 it only made a total of 143 lifts in 6 years!

Why was it used so little?

The main problem was the exact same one that led to the banana-shaped Fairbairn Steam Crane being commissioned in the first place – the sheer speed and pace of technology and design. By the time the crane was ready to work, ship size and design had once again made a quantum leap forward. Because of this, the Fairbairn Steam Crane’s limited jib simply couldn’t reach far enough to remove things like a ship’s engine or boiler when it needed repairing, despite being capable of lifting the weight. The Dock owners did consider raising the crane onto a stone tower to extend its reach but by this time, the writing was on the wall. Even as early as 1892, hydraulic cranes began appearing at Bristol Docks and several years later, electric cranes were being installed too. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end for the Fairbairn Steam Crane.

Saving grace

Despite the Fairbairn Steam Crane being a dismal failure during most of its working life, it did come into its own during WW2. At this time, a Landing Craft Flotilla Unit was stationed at Bristol Docks’ Princes Wharf and when more than a thousand new landing craft destined for the Middle East were delivered there for adaptation, the Fairbairn Steam Crane finally came into its own – It was used extensively to unload the lorries and launch the completed crafts, making over two thousand lifts in three years.

Is it still in use?

Yes. Having been restored to operational condition, it can be seen in all its glory on certain Bank Holidays, special museum days and usually at the Harbour Festival. There’s life in this old steam-dog yet!

Lead image courtesy of Andy DingleyOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link. Other image courtesy of Rod Ward (Rodw).

Harriet and Archie’s Carriage Driving Journey

Harriet and Archie’s Carriage Driving Journey

Harriet McEntee and her pony Archie have been having an eventful time recently. Following her sponsorship by HJ Logistics, Harriet gives us a brief insight into the excitement of competing in local events after being diagnosed with scoliosis (a curvature of the spine).

“Since a very young age I’ve always loved horses and ponies and prior to my diagnosis I used to ride for The British Young Riders Dressage Scheme (BYRDS)”. After sitting in the crowd at various carriage driving competitions, actually being the one out in the centre of the arena seemed like a distant dream. Sure, just watching from the sidelines was fun enough, but what would it actually feel like to be out there with my pony Archie?

In 2018, I decided it was time to find out!

My journey began with a series of lessons in carriage driving which gave me not just the experience, but also the confidence to enter my first competition. Throughout the indoor driving season, I entered several local events in Kent and absolutely loved every minute of it. Not only did I qualify for the championships at Keysoe, I was over the moon to finish 3rd. I also took part in the ‘South-East Challenge’ and won a shield for the Novice Pony section.

Spurred on by this early success and the thrill of competing, I’ve now been well and truly “bitten by the bug”. I regularly take part in many outdoor driving trials, including the one-day event at Ashfields as well as the two-day events at Windsor and Blandings. More locally, I really love competing in both the Pleasure Driving and Exercise Vehicle classes, having done so at Kent County and Smiths Lawn.

Not long ago I competed in the Exercise Driving class at Kent County. All turnouts were well presented and extremely talented, making the class very competitive. Even so, Archie and I were still able to achieve 2nd place. Archie was amazing and behaved brilliantly, despite getting his white socks a bit dirty even before we entered the arena 🙂 After such an enjoyable day, it was time to relax and unwind by treating myself to a bit of shopping and, of course, lots of ice cream!

Harriett McEntee

A dream come true

Undoubtedly, The British Driving Society (BDS) show at Windsor Great Park has been the highlight of my year. Archie and I began the day with the Junior Whip, an age 10-14 class in which I finished 3rd. As you can imagine, competition was fierce at such a prestigious event and the standard of all those who took part was extremely high. It felt amazing to compete at this level and I even picked up a few useful tips from one of the judges! Going from sitting in the crowd at previous events here to coming in the top 3 inside the arena with Archie was so special to me and I could hardly wait for the next event… and neither could Archie, despite being a tad nervous in front of such a large audience.

My next event was the 4-wheeled Exercise Vehicle class. The diversity and size of the field seemed daunting, ranging from Shetlands to Cobs of 10hh to 16hh and I wasn’t overly optimistic about my chances of success. Nevertheless, Archie rose to the occasion and we were pulled in 4th, a result that far exceeded my expectations considering it was such a strong class.

Highlight of the day

Taking part in the parade is a memory that I’ll cherish forever; it’s not every day that you get to see the Queen! Archie and I had the pleasure of trotting past the Royal Box and it’s difficult to describe in words just how excited I was (although the huge smile on my face was a bit of a giveaway). I think Archie sensed this too and broke into a canter as we passed the white picket fence.

I’ve had the most thrilling journey over the last year and despite still considering myself a novice, am immensely proud of what I’ve managed to achieve – I still have to pinch myself sometimes just to make sure I’m not dreaming! The support I’ve had from friends, colleagues and family have been incredible and so many people have been there for me all the way through to help me make my dream come true.

Boat Transportation in Kent – Moving a Mirage 28

Boat Transportation in Kent – Moving a Mirage 28

Although much of our HIAB crane work is centered around the building and construction industry, we’re also able to carry out slightly more unusual tasks such as lifting and transporting boats to their new destinations. On this occasion, we were contracted to move a Mk1 Mirage 28 named ‘Serenity’ from one location to another. Our client Paul was an absolute delight to work with and has made a fantastic YouTube video documenting the move.

About Serenity and the move

The aptly named Serenity is a Mirage 28 Fin Keel Mk.1; she’s 28ft long (22ft in the water), 9ft 3 inches wide and weighs in at 3.5 tonnes and she needed to be moved from Iron Boat Yard in Faversham. Paul had owned her for 4 years and had already spent 2 years living onboard. About 2 years ago he decided to take a couple of months off work to sail her from Watchet in Somerset around Land’s End and along the South Coast to Faversham in Kent. He loved the journey and had firmly decided to keep Serenity as she’d proven herself to be ‘voyage ready’.

As Paul still wanted to carry out extensive work on his boat, he came to the decision to move her closer to him so that he could spend more time working on her without having to commute to and from Faversham each time. In order to get Serenity to her new home, Paul knew he’d need to choose a company that was capable of performing such a delicate and tricky task and that’s where HJ Logistics enter the story.

The boat's cradle on our HIAB truck

Paul already owned a cradle that he’d overhauled in order to rest Serenity on during her time on land so we picked up the cradle and transported it to Iron Boat Yard. As you can see in the video, it was necessary to find the boat’s centre of gravity so that it was well balanced for the lift. Once we were confident that she was perfectly balanced, Serenity and her cradle were lifted by our HIAB X-HiPro 418 crane onto the rear of our truck ready for her journey through Kent.

As Paul notes in the video, the route leaving the boatyard was quite tight in places but as we’re used to working in confined spaces with limited clearance on either side, this wasn’t a problem. He also correctly points out that it’s crucial to establish the exact height of any load travelling on the road network to ensure that it will pass under any bridges en route without incident.

Serenity ready for transport

Special thanks

Once we arrived at our destination, both Serenity and her cradle were carefully lifted off our truck and delicately placed on the ground so that Paul could begin carrying out the work on her more easily. If you’d like to keep up to date with Paul and his work, he has an entertaining and informative Youtube channel that’s updated monthly called “Just About Sailing” which documents the realisation of his dream of owning his own boat.

We’re thrilled that Paul made the video showing Serenity’s move and we hope that he gets the work done quickly so that he can spend less time dealing with epoxy resin and fibreglass, and more time watching the sun set below the horizon on the open seas!


Work on New Thames Tunnel Gets Underway – Largest Road Project Since The M25

Work on New Thames Tunnel Gets Underway – Largest Road Project Since The M25

For those that travel regularly between Kent and Essex, a significant reduction in journey time looks like it could be on the cards for 2027. That’s the proposed opening date of the Lower Thames Crossing, dubbed the biggest road project since the construction of the M25 motorway.

Engineers have begun sizing up what lies beneath the ground so that that can get an idea of what they’ll be drilling into once the mammoth project gets underway. They need to get a better geological understanding of what type of rock, soil and groundwater they’ll encounter when work on the 14 and a half mile road project begins. The Lower Thames Crossing will connect the A2 and M2 just south of Gravesend and Rochester in Kent with the M25 at North Ockenden, Essex. It’s thought that the engineers will be drilling around 700 boreholes of up to 100 metres deep at around 400 different locations in Kent and Essex.

Current Journey Time & Distance

At the moment, the distance you’d need to travel if you wanted to get from Chalk in Kent to East Tilbury in Essex would be approximately 24 miles. On a reasonably clear run, this will probably take around 40 minutes, assuming you don’t encounter much of a delay at the Dartford Crossing… which rarely happens. Assuming the project goes ahead, the journey time along the new route will be reduced to a matter of minutes through the 2.4-mile tunnel section passing under the River Thames.

By ClemRutterOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Watch the video

The official video on the “Highway’s England” YouTube channel takes you on a virtual journey along the route from Kent to Essex and is a must-see if you want to get a better idea of which areas are likely to be affected by the £6billion scheme. It’s also worth mentioning that once complete, the new tunnel under the Thames will become the longest tunnel in the UK.

Opposition to the scheme

Although the finished project will certainly ease congestion at the Dartford Crossing, ending the misery suffered by many regular commuters and transport companies in both counties, there is, understandably, still much opposition to the scheme. If it comes to fruition, it’ll mean that many people will be forced to move from their homes and numerous other buildings will have to be bulldozed. There is also concern that some pristine areas of wetland, along with the wildlife that inhabits it, will feel the brunt of the project too.

Will the new crossing be free?

When the Dartford Tunnel was built, it was supposed to be funded by a “toll”, put in place to pay for the infrastructure and overall cost of the build. Once sufficient funds had been collected, it was then supposed to be free. Controversially, this didn’t happen and you still have to cough up £2.50 each way to travel by car through the tunnel or across the adjacent QE2 bridge.

You’ll also have to pay to use the new Lower Thames Crossing, although we don’t yet know what the cost will be. To avoid future confusion, rather than being called a “toll”, it will likely be called a “user charge” according to what Tim Jones, project director for the Lower Thames Crossing, told the BBC. He explicitly said that the charge would “continue”, thus eliminating the possibility that it will ever be free to use at a later date.

Asian Hercules III Floating Sea Crane Visits Scotland

Asian Hercules III Floating Sea Crane Visits Scotland

With wind energy becoming more widespread across the globe, the key components that are used to generate it need to be transported to their final destination somehow. For land-based wind farms, specially adapted low loader trucks are often used to carry out the task but for offshore wind farms, something a bit different is needed to get the job done.

Arrival in Dundee

Thanks to Paul Morgan’s Creative Commons video posted back in April 2018 on YouTube, we can see the first in a series of clips documenting the arrival of the Asian Hercules III arriving at the Port of Dundee where it was eventually destined to carry out the task of transporting the reported 1,200 metric tonnes, 77 metre wind turbine steel jacket foundations to their new destination, the EOWDC (European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre) in Aberdeen Bay. Previously, the huge floating crane was seen back in late 2017 arriving in Petershead, where it can be see dwarfing the adjacent lighthouse. It’s difficult to get an idea of how big this monster crane really is when it’s out at sea, so we’ll give you a brief rundown of its size.

About The Asian Hercules III

Jobs like this aren’t a problem for the mammoth Asian Hercules III sea crane. Built only recently in 2015, it has a gross tonnage of 16,805 MT and it measures an impressive 106.2m x 52m. It has 2 cargo winches that are capable of pulling 20 MT at 10 m/min and the vessel is over 130m tall, which is only 100m short of One Canada Square (Canary Wharf’s skyscraper – 230m tall).

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