Heavylift / Breakbulk
A crane for Serbian coal
R & B Global Projects is busy with a multi-faceted transport project in support of Serbian energy production. It has been tasked with shifting a huge dismantled crawler crane to a coal basin near Belgrade.
Two thermal power stations in Kostolac, located on the Danube around 70 km downstream from Belgrade, supply about 11% of Serbia’s electricity requirements. The firm Electric Power Industry of Serbia is now seeking to make local coal production – around 9 million t of coal a year in the Kostolac open pit mines – more efficient. To this end a huge new crane will be deployed to transport coal out of the Kostolac basin. The only hurdle was – the unit had to be brought into the country from China first. The logistics from the arrival of the shipments in the port of Constantza (Romania) were entrusted to the young firm R & B Global Projects, established around four and a half years ago. It was founded by the two Belgian entrepreneurs Ilse Blockx and Dave Roosen, who have settled in Croatia.
“In November 2016 we were contacted by our client to make an offer to take over the transport of a huge dismantled crawler crane from Romania to Serbia,” reports director Roosen, in charge of project management as well as sales. The cargo consisted of more than 10,000 cbm of project pieces, some of them more than 6 m wide, and numerous very heavy units. On top of this there were close to 250 container shipments involved too. The company thoroughly investigated the task at hand, passed the commercial, technical and operational rounds of the bids and was awarded the job in spring 2017. R &B then travelled to the site to fine-tune the operating process to manage the job.
Two destinations in Europe used
The largest pieces determined one route, which led via the port of Constantza, on the Black Sea in Romania. The cargo was transhipped to Danube river barges there, then discharged in a Serbian river port and carried to its final destination on more then 50 trucks handling the oversized loads. The containers, in turn, were routed via R & B’s home port of Rijeka (Croatia) and delivered to Kostolac by rail / truck combinations.
R & B handled the shipments in Constantza from May. Unloading and transhipping the cargo onto four barges in the port took less then four days – not a bad performance, according to Roosen. Once the first phase was completed the cargo was set for its onward journey to Serbia.
After seven days – some customs-related challenges at the border did not prevent the firm from adhering to the time-frame – the cargo arrived in the Serbian inland port of Smederevo, between Belgrade and Kostolac. R & B’s partners had set up a contract to unload the barges in a specified sequence. Thus, Roosen proudly concluded, “we completed our job with 25 minutes left!”
At the end of September the company will commence with phase II. The punctual completion of the first phase makes R & B optimistic. “This has put us even more on the map for Balkan transports, with Serbia added to Croatia and Slovenia as busy markets for us,” Roosen closed.