HEAVY TRANSPORT SPECIALIST FELBERMAYR WAS RECENTLY COMMISSIONED TO CARRY OUT THE TRANSPORT OF A RANGE OF SERIOUSLY LARGE COMPONENTS FOR A NEW COMBINED CYCLE GAS TURBINE POWER PLANT IN POLAND. ANDY ADAMS FINDS OUT HOW THIS DIFFICULT JOB WAS DONE.
The Polish economy is growing considerably faster than many others in the EU, putting pressure on the country’s energy supply and forcing the construction of a number of new power plants. One of these, being built for PKN Orlen in the city of Plock, about 100km north west of Warsaw, is scheduled to come online by the end of next year. Construction work began on the site in February this year and is due to be completed in October. Planning for the transport of the key components and foundations, however, began at heavy transport contractor Felbermayr as soon as it won the contract, says Boris Albl, manager of Felbermayr’s Nuremberg branch.
“In late summer last year, we received the contract and started with detailed planning immediately”, confirms Albl. “But for a multimodal project of this sort involving unit weights of up to 500 tonnes, that’s not that much time,” he admits. Fortunately, he says, there was excellent cooperation between his branch and other partners in the project, who included Best Logistics in Szczecin, Haeger and Schmidt and HSW Logistics in Duisburg, and the Felbermayr Krefeld site.
The main components had to be transported around 5,000km to the construction site in Poland from five different starting points. The turbine, generator, turbine rotor and two housing parts, for instance, all came from a Siemens factory in Mülheim on the Ruhr, near Duisburg, on the western side of Germany.
The plan for these was originally to ship the various parts, which weighed almost 900 tonnes in all, along the river Ruhr but due to flooding at the time, that plan had to be changed. “Because of the flooding on the Ruhr, we would have been too high with the cargo on the original vessel and would not have made it under some of the bridges,” explains Albl.
Instead, they ended up being pulled by barge to Nordenham, on Germany’s northern coast, where the River Weser meets the North Sea. There, they were joined by other parts including an exhaust diffuser that had started its journey from a Siemens plant in Berlin, before being shipped around the north coast and along the Kiel Canal, eventually arriving in Gdynia, on the northern coast of Poland.
Because of all the rescheduling, however, the shipyard crane there was not available when the goods arrived and the goods had to be taken further south to Gdansk, on the Vistula estuary. Unfortunately, the cargo handling equipment there was not suitable for heavyweight high-tech components of this sort and a 600-tonne floating crane had to be ordered from Bremerhaven before the components could be transferred onto waiting pontoons.
These specially designed, heavy-duty pontoons were then pulled by barge around 350km down the Vistula, each one loaded with no more than 500 tonnes to cater for a water depth of just 1.4m – a vital factor as a similar transport operation around a year earlier that assumed a minimum depth of 1.8m had got stuck for several months, says Albl.
Within a week, the two barges and pontoons arrived in Plock but at that point, it turned out the unloading platform there was not stable enough to handle the cargo, due to water erosion. New 10-metre-deep concrete foundations were put in place on each side of the ramp, onto which a rail-mounted lifting frame was eventually positioned to solve the problem.
After being successfully lifted off the pontoons and moved along hydraulic displacement tracks, the heavy cargo was eventually transferred by lifting frame onto a Krefeld 1,000-tonne self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) for its final journey by road to the construction site.
As the route included a weak bridge, an 18-axle SPMT configuration was used for the 500-tonne generator and the gas turbine, allowing their weight to be spread over a total of 144 road-friendly wheels. But with three roundabouts to negotiate after this bridge, this 30-metre long combination had to be shortened to just ten axles later in the journey.
Problems were also encountered in the shape of a couple of low bridges further on, given the seven-metre height of some parts of the load. These were negotiated by using the rail-mounted lifting frame in the first instance and by hydraulically lowering the ride height of the SPMT to its lowest possible level of 1.2 metres in the second.
The remaining smaller components, meanwhile, were loaded by means of two 500-tonne mobile cranes onto an eight-axle SPMT for their final journey to site.
FINISHING THE JOB
Separately, capacitor parts weighing a total of 280 tonnes were being transported around 300km by road from the city of Opole, south west of Plock. Weighing up to 50 tonnes apiece and measuring seven metres in width, these were transported on conventional semi-lowloaders. A further 200-tonne shipment of housing parts for the steam turbine, also from Opole, is due to follow during June.
In the final phase, a transformer weighing 277 tonnes and two phase shifters, each weighing 110 tonnes, will be delivered later this year by Felbermayr’s international rail transport unit in a journey of around 1,000km starting from two Siemens units in Weiz and Linz, in Austria.
Once these are in place in October, Felbermayr will have completed all its work on this extraordinary project, Albl says, adding: “The success of this project has all been down to teamwork.”
Impressive work, indeed, we’re sure you will agree.