Heavylift / Breakbulk
Turbines over the Andes
Since 2015 Bolivia has been planning to increase its power-generation capacities, with the support of Siemens. It would like to generate more than enough electricity for domestic consumption, and to also export power. The equipment for the power station expansion project in three Bolivian power plants will be transported to the site by Geodis through to 2019 – under some rather difficult conditions.
In May 2016 Siemens signed a contract with Bolivia’s state-owned energy corporation Ende Andina SAM to expand three thermo-electric power plants. In the context of this project Geodis was asked to transport 400 heavy loads from three different continents to Bolivia.
The geographic givens of the undertaking represent the first element of the challenge. The Termoelectrica del Sur power station is located in southern Bolivia, close to the border with Argentina; the Termoelectrica de Warnes plant is in the lowlands in the district of Santa Cruz; and the Entre Rio facility is in Cochabamba, 220 km southeast of the capital La Paz.
All in all, Geodis has been mandated to transport 14 industrial gas turbines, eleven steam turbines as well as other equipment needed to convert the three plants to combined-cycle operations. The reconstruction project will increase Bolivia’s power-generating capacity by around 66%, or more than 1 GW.
Two turbines originating in Sweden were loaded in April. They were manufactured by Siemens’ Finspang Industrial Turbomachinery facility and weighed in at 170 t. They were loaded onto a heavylift ship in Norrköping for their 14,000 km sea voyage to the Chilean port of Arica. After discharge in Arica the equipment was transported by road to the sites in Bolivia. Geodis arranged for the low-loaders needed to haul the material around 1,800 km to its destination.
Poor roads, rough terrain, tough weather
Geodis’ tasks include managing transit through the Panama Canal and over the Andes. Extreme weather conditions at altitudes of up to 4,680 m above sea level were mastered en route. Geodis will manage 94 consignments weighing up to 160 t each for Siemens through to April 2019.
The rather poor road network in Chile and Bolivia, rough terrain and extreme weather conditions are the main challenges facing the teams of experts managing operations. The services Geodis is in charge of include ocean freight, port handling, vessel loading and discharge, transit documentation and road haulage, including obtaining all the permits required.
Adhering to a tight schedule
Peter Anetsberger, regional segment leader for power at industrial projects in Europe with Geodis, pointed out that the project was carried out under a tight schedule. “The teams have to deal with a wide range of shipments originating in Germany, Sweden, Czechia, Italy, Indonesia, Brazil and China.”
Domestic demand – and exports too
“On top of this, we even had to undertake roadway construction on the transit route through the Andes. We’re confident that we’ll overcome all these challenges and achieve the target set by Siemens, despite these constraints,” he added.
The aim of the undertaking is to provide reliable energy supplies for the local population and simultaneously lay the foundations for the possible export of electricity to neighbouring countries in future.