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American Shipper

SDDC completes record sealift to Iraq, Afghanistan

SDDC completes record sealift to Iraq, Afghanistan

   The U.S. Surface Deployment and Distribution Command is nearing completion of the largest American military sealift of combat equipment and supplies since World War II.

   The SDDC, formerly the Military Traffic Management Command, managed the movement of cargo on more than 330 military and commercial U.S.-flag vessels to support the second phase of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The second phase of the sealift started in December.

   “We have moved the equipment from eight of nine Army divisions in support of these operations,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, deputy commanding general and director of operations for the SDDC, in a statement.

   Most of the cargoes used to support military operations in Iraq went through the Kuwaiti port of Ash Shuayba. On March 2, the port handled a record four large medium speed, roll-on/roll-off vessels and one fast sealift ship. To do this, the SDDC moved a cement ship and dredged a berth at the port.

   “The Kuwaitis worked with us extremely well on adjusting pier space,” Scheid said.

   Since December, the SDDC has overseen the movement of 50 million square feet of cargo, including 70,000 containers, on 527 vessel voyages.

   Even the U.S. railroads were tested by the U.S. military’s transportation demands. CSX Transportation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., moved 7,180 flatcars of equipment for SDDC through June 15, according to Jon Meyer, senior account manager for the railroad.

   U.S. military cargoes destined to Iraq and Afghanistan moved through 26 American seaports.

   Shipments for the third phase of military operations in Iraq will start in September. “We’re anticipating the volumes to be about the same,” said SDDC spokesman John Randt.

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