Heavylift / Breakbulk

  • Vietnam is banking heavily on hydroelectric power.

27.02.2015 By: Christian Doepgen

Artikel Nummer: 9359

Heavylift gear on the Black River

Southeast Asia’s largest hydroelectric power plants operate on the River Da in Vietnam – and new ones are being planned. One plant, which covers 10% of the country’s power needs, was opened in Son La in 2013, and now a further unit is being built in Lai Chau. In February the trailer manufacturer China Heavy Lift fulfilled a Vietnamese order for oversized modules.

Vietnam is building on hydroelectric power. Dams and reservoirs fulfil multiple purposes in this process. The aim is to generate power, store water for agricultural irrigation projects and protect areas against flooding.


The Son La hydroelectric power plant is the crown jewel in Vietnam’s power generation efforts. It was inaugurated in 2013 and is located on the River Da (Black River). It is the latest in a series of Vietnamese power stations, following the Hoa Binh dam, which has been in operation on the River Da since 1994, and a plant in Thac Mo. With a power output of 2,400 MW and six Alstom units in action, the plant produces about 10% of Vietnam’s power needs, placing it top of the rankings in Southeastern Asia. However, the state energy company Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has even greater plans.


Expansion and new development

Several areas are now seeing changes. On the one hand, the relatively small Thac Mo plant, with a capacity of 150 MW, is set to be expanded. In September 2014 Alstom was therefore awarded a EUR 13 million order to deliver a 75 MW Francis turbine. The complex equipment is being made at Alstom’s plant in the Indian state of Gujarat.


A considerably larger project began in 2011. The 1,200 MW Lai Chau dam in the province of the same name on the Black River is scheduled to be commissioned in 2017. It is being built upstream of Son La. The electromechanical equipment will also be supplied by Alstom, in colla­boration with the Hydrochina Zhongnan Engineering Corporation. The production of the modules has been ongoing since 2013 at what is Alstom’s biggest plant, located in Tianjin.


The latest invitation to tender for the transport of the turbines and generators was published by the Vietnamese authorities in September 2014. Viettranstimex, a local multimodal transport enterprise, came out on top in the bidding process. The trailer-maker China Heavy Lift provided the necessary transport equipment. In doing so the company benefited from its previous experience of transporting the same kind of freight material for the Son La hydroelectric power plant.


60 axles and detours over land

The Vietnamese heavylift company used almost 60 ­axles on its modular semi-trailers from the Tianjie Heavy ­Industries equipment manufacturer to transport the modules on their overland leg. Material such as the TJV2 was not at the general contractor’s disposal in ­Vietnam, which is why it had to rely on the Chinese subcontractor.


A second obstacle on the route to the building site was on the Black River itself. The Hoa Binh dam had to be negotiated on the inland shipping leg. As the hydroelectric power plant does not have a canal to circumvent the dam, a temporary landing bridge had to be erected in an unpopulated area near the dam.


With the use of pontoon bridges and reinforced roads the dam area was circumnavigated. China Heavy Lift’s modular semi-trailers were crucial to the successful completion of this dress rehearsal. The modules were again transhipped on a second improvised landing quay onto barges, and were then able to continue their journey to their destination. 





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