Heavylift / Breakbulk
Setting up a new petro-chemical plant in Tobolsk is a massive logistics challenge for the Sibur corporation. ITJ correspondent André Ballin was on hand to see it haul the heavy consignments.
The consignment protrudes more than 100 m into the grey October sky. A crane operated by the Dutch heavylift expert Mammoet has just lifted a 900 t module and is now trying to settle it in a vertical position. Major and minor adjustments mean that it takes three hours to set the huge metal construction in its final position.
“114 different elements, including 23 particularly heavy units, have already been set up so far at the Siberian site,” according to assembly manager Denis Tarabarov. The overall weight of all the units delivered and installed up until now far comes to approximately 5,400 t. The largest individual elements were two flow dividers that were 106 m long, with a diameter of 6.8 m and weighing 917 t. The rather complex lifting and adjusting process represented the culmination of a journey lasting no less than four months.
It had to be completed on time – because winter starts in October in Tobolsk. Several metres of snow will soon cover the Siberian land and the river Irtysh will be frozen over. The Zapsibneftekhim chemical industry plant will then be unreachable for heavylift consignments. Knowledge of these conditions prompted the logistics service provider in charge of this undertaking, Deugro Project, to commence planning and preparing the heavylift transport task three years earlier.
From South Korea to the waterways via Kirkenes
The job started in South Korea, where most of the equipment was made. The five largest modules were loaded onto a special ship in the Arctic 4 class, with two heavylift cranes on board, in the port of Ulsan in June. They were carried through the Indian and Atlantic Oceans to the Norwegian port of Kirkenes. There they were transferred to four freighters, which sailed through the Gulf of Ob and thence up the river Irtysh to the port of Tobolsk, according to Roman Maximov, the head of Zapsibneftekhim’s overland heavylift consignments division.
The Arctic shipping season, which is rather limited, saw a total of around 60,000 t of heavylift consignments carried to Siberia by the maritime route in 2016. The shipments came from China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Italy, amongst many other places. This chemical plant project saw the involvement of Russia’s central marine research institute, Belfreight, die Morwenna Shipping Company and the Ob / Irtysh River Shipping Company. Mammoet was in charge of the overland legs.
The maritime leg, in turn, lasted approximately two months. In August the goods were unloaded in the port of Tobolsk by two massive cranes that could lift a total of 2,000 t between them (1,250 plus 750 t). The remaining 28 km from the port to the building site took another three days to complete. Modular vehicles were deployed there; two blocks with 16 heavylift axles each. The units’ excessive length reduced the maximum possible speed to 1.5 km per hour.
By the end of November a few more modules were shifted from the port to the site – then the transport season was over. Some more loads will be hauled in 2017, but now that the huge flow dividers have arrived, most of the task has been completed.