Heavylift / Breakbulk

  • A high-pressure unit destined for St Petersburg.

12.09.2014 By: Christian Doepgen

Artikel Nummer: 7333

Heavy going for chemicals

Several extra-heavy packaging units destined for a Russian chemical factory were transhipped onto a barge in the inland port of Vienna at the end of August. The Austrian heavy logistics company Prangl described the first leg to Vienna, which took four nights on municipal and country roads, as adventurous. The ITJ’s Austrian correspondent Josef Müller was on site to observe proceedings.

What is 50 m long, 5 m wide and weighs 190 t? Why, a high-pressure container, constructed by the Austrian plant engineering company ACE, based in Lieboch near Graz, of course! It was manufactured for one of Russia’s largest chemical facto­ries, located in Veliky Novgorod, and shipped to Russia from the inland port of Vienna at the end of August.


The module is the key component of an ammonia plant that ACE made for the chemical factory. «The extra­ordinary container, manufactured from special materials that are both acid and temperature-resistant, has to be able to withstand extremely high pressures,» Markus Fuchsbichler, managing director of ACE, said as the container was being loaded onto a Belgian inland barge in the port of Vienna.


Road survey and route planning

Christian Prangl, the owner and mana­ging director of the Austrian heavy logistics company, Prangl, explained to the ITJ that transporting the container and other associated plant components from Lieboch and ACE’s Slovenian factory in Maribor to the port of Vienna posed an extremely special logistical challenge. «We had to plan the transportation along the 200 km route seven months in advance.» It was not possible to transport the container, together with some other heavylift cargo packaging units, to ­Vienna on the motorway, because there are 4.5 m height restrictions on the route. So how best to haul the 5.2 m high packages to the ­Austrian capital?


Unloaded by two mobile cranes

The journey Prangl opted for took four nights, using municipal and country roads. The project team carried out an exten­sive route analysis in advance, cover­ing the distance with a special measuring vehicle and recording the road conditions in detail. Prangl subsequently described the transport as adventurous, because the overall vehicle dimensions of the four indi­vidual shipments were extremely spectacular, with lengths of 33 m, widths and heights of 5.2 m and weights of 85 t.


At the port of Vienna the module was unloaded using two 100 t mobile cranes, with the components being handled in a tandem hoist. They were then welded together on site by ACE’s assembly team, to form two modules. The wall thickness and diameter of the container also placed high demands on the welding seams. The power supply at the port of Vienna was specially adapted for this purpose, in ­order to be able to operate the necessary assembly equipment.


In Vienna, the heavy cargo was ­loaded onto a 135 m barge, which is one of the largest vessels that can navigate the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers with such a load on board without any problems. The ­vessel transported the shipment to Rotter­dam, where the packaging units were loaded onto an ocean-going vessel for the onward journey to St Petersburg. ACE commissioned Prangl to manage logistics from both factories to Vienna.


Intermodal transport via waterways

According to Fuchsbichler, the Russian logistics company DIS, which is headquartered in St Petersburg, was then in charge of handling the shipment’s transportation to its final destination in ­Russia, via the country’s inland waterways.


Due to their specific dimensions, the three components loaded in Vienna were lifted in a sophisticated tandem hoist ­operation, using two high and heavy 500 t and 300 t mobile cranes. The three components were then assembled ­after they were delivered directly to Veli­ky Novgorod. The two segments of the large high-pressure container alone were about 25 m long and weighed about 100 t each.


The company Prangl not only operates in the heavylift cargo logistics sector in Austria. Christian Prangl told the ITJ that his enterprise employs 630 people at its locations in seven European countries. He is very satisfied with how business is currently developing. «Our biggest challenge is the investments that we’ve made, because they’re associated with risks.»


Looking to the future, the Austrian firm has purchased some new cranes with carrying capacities of up to 500 t, plus other new equipment. These units are ­intended to remain active in the fleet for at least 10 to 15 years – and are simul­taneously expected to operate at maximum capacity during that time.




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