They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is true, then the pictures in this story say ten times that much! This isn’t just heavy haul – its heavy haul on heavy-duty steroids!! With loads that often gross over a million pounds, Contractors Cargo Company out of Los Angeles, CA is certainly one of the kings of modern-day heavy haul truck transportation.
These moves don’t happen overnight – it takes a lot of coordination and a lot of people to get permits, special trailers usually need to be built, elaborate tie-down systems need to be created, routes need to be mapped, and the list goes on and on. In this business, every inch and every pound matter – a lot.
Last month we touched on the fact that Contractors Cargo Company (CCC) had the job of getting the London Bridge hauled from the port in Long Beach, CA to Lake Havasu City, AZ where it was put back together again. In research for that story, I met Keoni Rabaino at CCC and he was very helpful in gathering a few pictures together for me. When he mentioned a few of the other famous hauls that the company has handled over the years, I felt it was a story that should be shared. I want to thank Keoni for providing the amazing pictures and load descriptions of the incredible moves pictured here.
Formed in 1933, CCC was a pioneer of modern-day heavy haul transportation, rigging and erecting. In 1962, local trucking company owner Jerry Wheeler purchased CCC for their ICC authority. “Back then, trucking was different and you were buying operating authority,” he said. “I bought Contractors Cargo for $105,000 – paying for a piece of paper and two pole dollies. But it was the operating authority that I wanted. It allowed me to truck in seven western states.” According to Wheeler, who began his trucking career in 1954 at the age of 27, the Los Angeles market was brimming with construction business. While he was doing fine with Wheeler Transportation for local area loads, CCC was his “in” to get rolling outside the confines of the state of California.
Today, their services encompass everything from the beginning to the end of a move. CCC can design and fabricate specialized equipment needed to move a specific piece, and are able to add any air-ride cushion or payload support system that may be needed to insure the safe and undamaged delivery of everything from a 200-year-old tree to the Space Shuttle. CCC now has transportation authority in all fifty states, Canada and Mexico, and is active in performing complete door-to-door transportation, including rail and/or sea port handling.
While Wheeler has no plans to completely retire, he has passed the torch of presidency to his son, Gerald, who now oversees operations. His daughters, Carla and Kim, are also actively involved in the business, as well as owners. Because of this, the company is now recognized as a WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise), because a majority of the company’s owners are now women.
Major fields that CCC specializes in are aerospace, heavy construction, electrical power and petrol chemical. After being located in South Gate, CA for 35 years, the company, in an effort to better serve their customers, moved to Compton, CA. They also have a location in Houston, TX. Looking at the pictures and their website (www.contractorscargo.com), I noticed that all of the CCC trucks are Kenworths. Jerry has been loyal to the Kenworth brand since he began his trucking career in the 1950s behind the wheel of a KW conventional.
The drivers at CCC have to be the best of the best. Having been around heavy haul for a few years, I learned a lot, but I never came close to anything on this level. These guys are in a league all their own! If you see one of these trucks on the road, give them lots of room – they will need it. And, if you have something impossible to move, I think Contractors Cargo Company would be the right people to call to get it done. After all, if they can handle all of these historic and huge hauls, they can probably handle yours, too.
PHOTOS 1 & 2: Taking the Space Shuttle to the New Orleans World’s Fair. It took a 747 plane, an 800-ton crane, a 13-axle double-wide transporter, 2 tug boats and 2 barges to move the Shuttle up the Mississippi River to the fair. CCC moved the “Enterprise” 11 times during NASA’s test program.
PHOTO 3: An oak tree relocated from a residential neighborhood – 100’L x 60’W x 70’H x 466,000 lbs. To transport the tree, it had to be crated then moved up a steep grade to its new location, which required 2 pull trucks and 2 push trucks.
PHOTO 4: Disassembling the “Spruce Goose” airplane for relocation.
PHOTO 5: This 674,000 lb. yacht was one of two transported from L.A. to the Port of Los Angeles (near Long Beach) on a 24-line hydraulic platform trailer.
PHOTO 6: A very large steam turbine generator – 41’L x 14’5”W x 16’10”H x 662,000 lbs. moved from the Port of San Diego, CA to Aqua Prieta, Mexico on a 52-axle transport system. Loaded dimensions: 363’L x 20’W x 21’H x 1,159,000 lbs. gross weight, with 1 truck pulling and 3 trucks pushing.
PHOTO 7: Two large coke drums – 85’L x 24’ Diameter x 350,000 lbs. each. Moved from Santa Fe Springs, CA to Sinclair, Wyoming for the Sinclair Oil Co. CCC designed and manufactured two complete dual-lane transporters to move the drums 1,488 miles. Loaded dimensions: 246’L x 26’W x 25’H x 566,000 lbs. gross weight each rig.
PHOTO 8: A reactor vessel weighing in at 790,000 lbs. requiring a 44-axle transporter with 232 tires – gross weight total of 1,078,000 lbs.
PHOTO 9: A B-1 Bomber fuselage – 132’L x 29’9”W x 13’H x 95,000 lbs. This load, which was in transit for 20 nights, was moved on a custom 11-axle transport system from Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ to Boeing’s facility in Portland, OR (with 3 to 6 highway patrol all the way). Loaded dimensions: 164’L x 29’9”W x 15’6”H x 162,000 lbs.
PHOTO 10: Transporting a 500,000 lb. United States Navy submarine.