News

Beer vats rolling down Wentworth Street - Updated

By Jeff Reid
Published January 08, 2011

this blog entry has been updated with more photos


Challenger's beer run on Wentworth St Hamilton Ontario

The big "Challenger" move for Molson-Coors began Friday night, only it was Mammoet Transport behind the wheel instead, as the six massive beer fermentation tanks moved down Wentworth St., Hamilton, in a 40-vehicle convoy.

Despite no official statements, Horizon Energy sources on scene first informed us Mammoet Heavy Transport was "called in at the last minute" to assist in the logistics, after problems arose with the original Challenger plan.

"Challenger dropped the ball," said one transport staffer. "They didn't have the equipment to do the job, so they had to call us, back in December."

When asked why no mention of the trucking change anywhere in the press surrounding the heavy lifting project, Mammoet employees smiled, but did not want to speculate.


Horizon workers move power lines for Mammoet move

Despite the Challenger insignia on the big rigs, it was dozens of the friendly Mammoet-labeled team from Canada and Germany that decended on the quiet Hamilton residential neighbourhood.

As of Friday night, no mention of the change in responsibility could be found anywhere on Challenger Motor Freight website, Mammoet's website or in the mainstream press.

Transportation staffers expect to struggle throughout the night to keep the expected pace, as Horizon workers slowly remove each aging overhead power line on the inner ward route.

The Mammoet team said the job is running behind, and now estimate the trip will in fact require 24 to 48 longer than originally expected.

"It really depends if it stays like this," one logistics specialist said, referring to the time it was taking to relocate the electrical lines.

The load was to supposed to arrive around 6:00 AM, Tuesday, at Carlingview Drive, north of Toronto.


Hamilton Police hold traffic at Barton St & Wentworth St

Police from Hamilton and Peel Region, local Ambulance and Fire Department Station 6 are attending the process as of midnight, along with support staff from CP Rail, Bell, Cogeco, MTO, the City of Hamilton and more.

Make no mistake, everyone has their work cut out for them on this, as wet snow makes the conditions in Ward 3 less than ideal for all tonight.

The convoy will turn on Cannon St, then head toward Waterdown, passing along Highway 5 through Burlington. The weight load is over 43 000 tonnes, 45 metres long and over 8 metres tall.

The tanks arrived in Hamilton at Pier 12 last month, but winter weather has forced repeated delays. The journey began in Germany, taking 15 days to travel across the Atlantic Ocean.

This was first published on Jeff's website.


Update: Here are several larger photos of the move. Click on a photo to view fullsize.

Jeff Reid attended Humber College for journalism before starting an internet development firm in the 90s. As a proud Ward 3 homeowner, Jeff lives, works and has three children in school on Wentworth St with his wife Heather, in the city of Hamilton, ON, Canada. In 2010, launched Hamilton-ON.ca to expand mobile news coverage.

35 Comments

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2011 at 09:09:38

Wow, such a nightmare. If only Hamilton had a brewery conveniently located within the same industrial area as the docks.

If only.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 09:16:42

@Pxtl - I was going to link you to someone saying the exact same thing on reddit... Then I noticed that it was you there too!

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2011 at 09:57:50

Great work Jeff, the fact that Mammoet transport is moving the vat is information that was not known, nor was it stated in the press releases.

Journalism is uncovering this information, not re-writing press releases.

This morning, the vats are at Dundurn and York for the day. TheSpec is reporting "the vats travelled through Waterdown on Highway 5 before stopping early Saturday at Kerns Road in Burlington."

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 10:05:37

Any theories about why the secrecy in the change from Challenger to Mammoet?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 10:17:36

Great read Jeff and photos. Never thought beer vats would get so much press time but a cool read for sure.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2011 at 10:40:00

we went out to see these last night - very cool. An excruciatingly slow process though.

I still don't understand why it was not possible to build these in Canada. I think it is at least partially about the publicity of the news and the name recognition of the manufacturer. Surely we have facilities and skills locally to build a few giant stainless steel tanks

The spec's "reporting" on this is hilarious. Gotta love when the unpaid "staff" of these websites scoop the paid reporters :-)

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By theory (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 11:34:48

Even though Mammoet and Anderson Haulage are moving these vats, it is still Challengers job. Challenger spent a lot of time and money preparing for these moves only to find out that they are not capable of it. They never even should have attempted it. The first time the move was delayed was when they discovered that the equipment that they wanted to use wouldn't do the job. The second time the move was delayed a Challenger rep said it was because of safety concerns around the Christas holidays. While they were saying this, the vats were sitting on the ground at the docks an not ready to move anywhere. Challenger had to turn to actual professional heavy haulers, Mammoet and Anderson, to to the job properly on their behalf. The only reason there are a couple of Challenger trucks hooked to these loads is for the pictures for the media. Unfortunately for them, they've been bragging about this move for a while and have been left with egg on their face so it seems as they are going to great lengths to keep the public thinking that it is all Challenger. If they weren't such media whores they could have just walked away from it and left it to the professionals.

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By Arthur (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 08:19:52 in reply to Comment 55202

Hey guys, here is the real scoop:

Originally it was a Challenger job. Challenger experienced some technical difficulties and asked Mammoet for assistance.

Mammoet took over the transport contract, and hired Challenger and Anderson as subcontractors.

Challenger retained control of all of the permits, traffic management, and utility work.

Challenger deserves credit for the job, not Mammoet. They provided most of the solutions to safely deliver these tanks. Providing the equipment to move the tanks is relatively easy. Negotiating a 108-kilometre route which involves the relocation of 1600 overhead wires is not. Challenger came up with these routing solutions, not Mammoet. And when Challenger had some difficulties with equipment, they brought Mammoet to the table, which was also Challenger's solution and nobody else's.



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By Augustman (registered) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 12:04:26

I love how People comment on things that they really have no Idea about. The post posted above mine is completely not accurate at all. Please get real facts before posting such nonsense. This is A Challenger move 100%. Maybe you should call Challenger your self and I am sure they will explain why Mammoet and Anderson were added. 1 Mammoet, 1 Anderson and 3 Challenger.

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By Wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 12:05:32

I would like to add some more and clarify...

There was no "finger-pointing"; is was wet falling snow, and the heroes at Horizon were charged with progressively removing and re-installing very old wires. The blame goes to the reality of January in Hamilton.

It was also observed to me the "German" Mammoet staffer may have been Dutch by birth. That is possible; it was loud, and he may have been referring to Germany as a "we" for professional reasons, not personal ones. We should revise the story to indicate "European", just to be clear.

More photos to come; sorry, I lost Photoshop/PC abilities when they pulled our plug, did the work so far from my iPad in the dark.

We do continue to investigate any story where there is more, and answer to facts, so all comments are appreciated.

Comment edited by Wentworthst on 2011-01-08 12:10:15

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By mmrose (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 12:18:41


Challenger has alway been the preferred non-union company used by Mammoet (Latta) company. When the drivers and shop employees went union at Latta, and were on strike, we caught Challenger drivers trying to do the work for Latta. I believe this is a 100% Mammoet job, and watch to see which crane company is sitting to do the unloading, any taker's I am betting it will be Mammoet cranes. Looks like a duck, quakes like a duck..........

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By Wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 12:34:34

To the assertion that "it was Challenger's work, even if Mammoet did the heavy lifting."

Okay... If that is how corporations wants to describe it. I have requested that info, will report back.

I reported who had all the boots on the ground here doing the logistics job on my street, and what some said to me about that unexpected involvement. I did speak to a wide-variety of professionals doing a tough job here.

I'm sorry if no "mainstream reporter" asked about who showed up-- I made a list and had to figure out what Mammoet did. The press I saw were too busy talking to us locals, who were not the story here last night.

Comment edited by Wentworthst on 2011-01-08 12:35:27

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By cool2see (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 14:18:43

HEY AUGUSTMAN. PLEASE TELL US WAS IS INACCURATE ABOUT THE "THEORY". AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE TOPIC OF ACCURACY, CHECK YOUR MATH. I'M PRETTY SURE I SAW 6 TANKS BUT YOU ONLY COUNTED 5. LOOK REALLY CLOSELY AT THE TRUCKS. 2 CHALLENGER. 2 MAMMOET. 2 ANDERSON.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2011 at 15:20:51

I saw a lot of Mammoet logos. From the time I was down there, it seemed as if they'd rigged the back of every vat/truck.

As for the move itself, it's mighty disheartening to me, both as a Hamiltonian and a beer drinker. I just kept hoping for a few dozen die-hard Lakeport drinkers to come sit down on the road.

I've got a whole pile of photos, should have the best up along with some commentary on my site by the end of the afternoon. Really glad to wake up today and find out I'm not the only one who went out in the cold to check it out. Three cheers for independent reporting.

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By blondie (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 17:42:06

Not really sure what the issue is here. Its really not WHO is moving them, but that they are being moved. Such a huge effort being accomplished by so many companies. So happy to be part of it!!!

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2011 at 18:24:52

@blondie wrote: "Not really sure what the issue is here"

No issue remaining... The story was many, many people risked their lives here last night, doing a slow, dangerous job in hard conditions. It wasn't a fun press-piece, it took a lot to keep it from being a disaster at any moment.

http://hamilton-on.ca/rth/photo-beer_vats_on_wentworth_street_hamilton-06.jpg

(Eight hours lit up by a 1962 Stalingrad-style parade while our house chilled off-- I just wanted to paint the full picture here.)

Special thanks to Horizon workers who risked everything detaching and reattaching as fast as they could, and specifically to Mammoet for getting it right.

I stand by the story. Ours wasn't written to match, oppose or even having seen any other, and no one is officially telling us we got it wrong.


@JoeyColeman wrote... Thanks. My journalism hasn't advanced since school, but it will improve with practice.

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2011-01-08 18:28:23

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2011 at 23:17:06

If I had not been at work out of town I would have loved to have seen the move. Completely cool. It also has nothing to do with TicatPanAmAldershotHarbormania.

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By ilpo (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2011 at 01:02:55

Google Map of the route http://goo.gl/maps/E0xB

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By Tnt (registered) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 01:25:44

Why didn't they just go straight down Burlington street to the QEW and avoid rsidntial areas?

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2011 at 08:51:41

Anyone know why a heavy lift helicopter wasn't used?

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By Heavy Lift guy (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 08:08:37 in reply to Comment 55266

The largest heavy-lift helicopters in the world are only capable of lifting approximately 25 tonnes, and this can't be increased to the limitations of air density.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 08:57:44

@tnt They're not allowed on the QEW or 400 series highways at all. Other than traffic disruptions, they wouldn't clear most overpasses.

Comment edited by JonC on 2011-01-09 09:00:31

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By Tnt (registered) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 09:52:22

Oh yeah. I didn't think about bridges. However, I hope it doesn't start a chain reaction of things being shipped through my neighborhood.

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 13:40:22

> "The company hired to move the massive beer vats from Hamilton to Toronto is blaming Hamilton hydro for a delay..."

http://www.680news.com/news/local/article/166217--convoy-hauling-six-massive-beer-vats-are-behind-schedule

So Hamiltonians, specifically Horizon staffers risking their lives, spent long, tough hours just so Challenger could have this crap brought down residential streets in Jan. "are the slow ones"?

It makes sense... The reason our story is a minority report (but won't be "challenged"): the big beer-run ad-buy includes a complimentary chorus of "Blame Hamilton!"

We didn't move our historic city out of the way fast enough? According to Challenger?

I wonder how "trusted" media workers don't loose sleep over only serving corporate advertisers now. Really can't imagine it helps your self-esteem or your city...

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2011-01-09 13:48:25

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By gc-gogo-1@hotmail.com (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 17:52:41

ANY HOW I DO THINK SOME ONE KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND AS FAR AS BLAMING HYDRO FOR ITS PART DONT BOTHER WE WERE NOT PART OF THE JOB.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 10, 2011 at 08:03:24

I knew this was going to turn into a "typical hamilton screw up" story.

Spare us the sob story.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 09:33:46

I wonder if it's Halton's fault for the fact they are barely half way through their region too....

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:00:00

TB: "Anyone know why a heavy lift helicopter wasn't used?"

Wondered the same thing. It's like a geriatric version of the Olympic torch run, only without the patriotic buzz or commemorative souvenirs.

At 45+ tonnes you'd be nosing into the upper end of what a Chinook could handle, but it's totally doable. Might be that the units are sufficiently delicate that the set-down was considered too risky. More likely, though, it's just Molson-Coors trying to offset the cost of the move through the nation-wide daily news coverage of this eastward crawl, culminating in the promised post-game wrap up on Discovery Daily Planet.

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By fizzy yellow beer (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 12:39:28

This beer vat move news would be much more interesting if these tanks weren't destined to be filled with flavourless, pale, piss-poor beer

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By Bobby1 (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 12:44:57

Great work by RTH but it leaves you wondering if Hamilton Spec is only about printing press releases or Toronto Star contributions rather than being a professional publication that verifys info, does investigative reporting and digs out the real interesting stories affecting Hamilton! Again, good work RTH!

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 14:23:36

These puppies weigh a lot more than a Chinook can lift. I believe they weigh a lot more than any helicopter can lift. 90,000 pounds is a lot of weight. I know the Russians have a couple of massive cargo choppers but I doubt even they can lift this much weight.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 19:12:17

You are correct, Mr. Meister. Muddle-headed math on my part – transposed kilos and pounds in my head. At 45+ tons per, each of those tanks is actually around 100,000 pounds. A pair of utility-class 234 Chinooks, combined, could handle 102,000 pounds maximum gross weight -- but only about half that for precision work. As unlikely as the scenario would have been, it's fun to imagine the visual of four Chinooks migrating back and forth from Hamilton Harbour to Carlingview.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted January 11, 2011 at 10:07:54

I've read each beer vat weighs about 43,500 kg. The Soviet MI-26 (which is about 28 years old now) can lift 56,000 kg as far as I understand. I suspect there are more modern machines with even greater capacity these days.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted January 11, 2011 at 10:35:59

My bad. Max LOADED weight of the MI-26 is 56,000 kg which includes the weight of the machine itself. Back to the drawing board...

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 12:12:45

UPDATE: This was the statement from Mammoet on RTH's coverage:

Jeff,

With respect to your inquiry relating to the move of the Molson-Coors beer vats, Challenger Motor Freight is responsible for all press releases and media contact as the original contract started here and previous announcement were already in place.

It was the directive of Molson Coors and agreed to by all partners/stakeholders involved to have one central point of contact. A massive undertaking such as this requires expertise from various company teams (Challenger, Mammoet, Anderson, lighting, sign companies etc) plus stakeholders to ensure a safe trip.

It is indeed a spectacular and interesting transport. Unfortunately it’s taking more time than expected. It’s pretty rough on all the guys (escort-, transport-, and wire lifting crew) with the cold weather.

As long as they all keep working together as a team, they will bring this project to a success. It’s great to see the interest and excitement (especially with all the small kids watching including the big daddies) on route.

I would not classify this as a dangerous move as long as every person keeps working the plan. There are many controls and safety matters in place. We would rather take a bit more time and play it safe than rush and compromise safety of any person on the team or bystander.

B Schuring,
Mammoet Canada Eastern Ltd.
Project Manager


ADD: Just IMHO, this company is pretty amazing, if you get the chance to see the complex and unique work they do. I feel lucky to have met them on this (and we continue to correspond, just for interest's sake, the work they do world-wide).

Seriously-- Mammoet's off to drag up 70 sunken ships from a Mauretanian Bay... http://www.mammoet.com/Default.aspx?tabid=544&S01_Det_745=957&S01_Page_745=1

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2011-01-11 12:20:54

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