July 15 - ALE and Aertssen have completed their work for the Optara project at Total's Antwerp refinery, which involved the transportation of modules from Spain to Belgium and the installation of main units for Tecnidas Reunidas.

HLPFI reported on November 7, 2015 that the two heavy lifting companies had been awarded their inaugural contract as a joint venture, and would play their part in Total's EUR1 billion (USD1.24 billion) investment in its refinery and petrochemical project in Antwerp.

ALE organised the self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) transportation and load-out operations at the client's fabrication yard in Tarragona, Spain, as well as the receipt of modules in Antwerp.

On arrival in Belgium, the modules were transported 6 km from the port to the refinery, where Aertssen took care of all heavy lifting activities and related engineering. 

16 of the modules were directly installed at the Total refinery using SPMTs, while the remaining modules were installed using Aertssen's 650-tonne capacity Terex Superlift 3800 crawler crane. The project involved a total of 74 lifting operations, said the two companies.

Two of the modules - weighing 980 tonnes and 1,050 tonnes respectively, with dimensions of up to 26m x 16m x 32m - were claimed to be the largest to have been driven through Antwerp's public roads. 72 axle lines of SPMT were required to transport the heaviest modules to the Total site.

The Optara project has seen the participation of many heavy lift and specialised transport companies, including Coordinadora, Altius, and Europe Cargo.