⚓️ 🇺🇸 🇺🇦 How US military equipment for Ukraine is shipped across Atlantic
🔶️ For heavy military equipment that’s being transported across the Atlantic, ocean shipping plays a central role, led by one company in particular: U.S.-flag operator American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier (ARC).
🔶️ According to Chris Heibel, ARC’s head of operations, “We’ve carried the majority of all the cargo going [across the Atlantic] in support of Ukraine and we’re also participating in cargo going in support of the big NATO exercise, Atlantic Resolve.
🔶️ “Between August 2022 and July 2023, we moved approximately 32,000 pieces of equipment — that’s 5 million square feet of equipment — to and from Europe to support these exercises and operations,” Heibel said in an interview with FreightWaves.
🇳🇴 ARC, a subsidiary of Norway’s Wallenius Wilhelmsen (Oslo: WAWI), is the largest operator of roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels in the U.S. Maritime Security Program (MSP). “Our main customer is the military,” said ARC Vice President Charles Diorio.
🔶️ Ukraine-bound cargoes being carried by ARC include wheeled and tracked vehicles — including Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFVs) — as well as missile systems, including mobile HIMARS systems. A news release from the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) showed 60 BFVs being loaded aboard the ARC Integrity in Charleston, South Carolina, in January.
🔶️ ARC ro-ros do not transport bulk ammunition or missiles. Equipment such as Stinger missiles are transported via container ships or breakbulk ships, said Heibel.
🔶️ U.S. equipment for Ukraine and Atlantic Resolve is primarily loaded at two ports: Beaumont, Texas, and the TC Dock military terminal in Charleston.
🔶️ “Then you’ve also got cargo that is actually being supplied within the theater. There are depots in Europe that have been providing equipment by rail and truck right up to the border [with Ukraine]. And in the U.S., you’ve got the major rail lines all involved in moving cargo from the forts and depots to the ports of load, and you’ve got the truckers involved as well.
🔶️ “Where we play the biggest part is in large-scale unit moves. There’s really no other option for an armored brigade combat team other than a ro-ro vessel, and the nice thing is that once the cargo is in place, it’s sealed inside the ship so it’s not getting battered by the weather en route.”