ALE and Aertssen Kranen have completed their scope for the Optara project, a nine month project involving the transportation of modules from Spain to Belgium and the installation of the main equipment modules for Tecnicas Reunidas.

As part of a joint venture with Aertssen Kranen, who were responsible for the lifting activities with mobile cranes, ALE worked with the Belgian crane specialist to provide the full solution for the client.

ALE organised the SPMT transportation and load-out operations at the client’s fabrication yard in Tarragona, Spain, and then received the modules in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, where lo-lo and ro-ro operations were performed. The modules were then transported 6km from the port to the refinery. Aertssen Kranen took care of all heavy lifting activities as from arrival at Antwerp’s port until positioning at final rest at Total Refinery, including related engineering.

Once the main equipment modules arrived at the refinery, 16 were directly installed using SPMTs and the remaining modules installed by means of Aertssen’s 650t Terex Superlift 3800 crawler crane (SL3800). Some of the modules were transported with an auxiliary steel structure measuring 6m high to directly install them at final height level, optimizing the construction civil works process. A total of 74 lifting operations were achieved considering all vessels and some of the modules, all within the scheduled timeframe and budget.

Two of the modules were the heaviest and biggest ever driven through Antwerp’s public roads. Weighing 980t and 1,050t respectively, with dimensions of up to 26m in length, 16m wide and 32m high, these were transported to the refinery using 72 axle lines of SPMT.

The teams’ hard work has been recognized by the client on different occasions and through this partnership ALE and Aertssen Kranen won Total’s Contractor of the Month award for their HSQE efforts throughout the project.

Jose Angel Morquillas, ALE’s Project Manager who coordinated the project, said: “This project really showcased ALE’s service capabilities, providing the load-out, weighing, load-in, jacking, transportation and installation services.

“In addition to the technical variety of transportation and installation solutions, one of the greatest strengths of this project lies in ALE´s global workforce performance, from sales positions and operational crew to engineering and project management.

“The successful strategic partnership with Aertssen Kranen to carry out the construction lifting operations and conventional transportations, the enthusiasm for team work, and building on each other’s strengths together to solve the most of demanding of engineering problems, were fundamental to the project’s timely success and client satisfaction.”

Saskia Aertssen, General Manager of Aertssen Kranen, stated: “It was a pleasure working together with all parties involved. Both services of ALE and Aertssen Kranen were a perfect match which resulted in the finalisation to customer’s expectations: in time, according to budget and without lost time injuries. The strong connection with the industry, custom fit solutions and everlasting search for perfection leads to a long-term relationship with our customers. We thank everybody who helped achieving this result.”

The Optara project is part of Total’s €1 billion investment in its refining and petrochemical complex in Antwerp, Total’s second-largest and Europe’s third-largest refinery. The project will see the construction of a new unit and the conversion of an existing unit.

ALE Complete the Optara Project