In addition to new plant projects, the non-renewable energies sector of the power generation industry will continue to produce two other sources of logistics work – maintenance/modernisation/ upgrades at existing installations and the decommissioning of old facilities.

Nuclear power plant projects are big business for Sarens.

The potential scope of this business for individual heavy lift/outsize cargo service providers around the world varies considerably, according to the companies involved.

Some are bullish about both sectors. For example Elmer Sarmiento, president and ceo of Philippines-based Royal Cargo, said: “We believe there will continue to be logistics requirements relating to the modernisation/refurbishment and decommissioning of plants fuelled by non-renewable resources. If there is equipment and cargo for such projects that needs to be transferred, either domestically or internationally, there will be business for us.”

DB Schenker working on a gas and steam combined cycle power station project.

Business scope

Similarly, Marc Willim, general manager of chartering for AAL Shipping, reported that the company has business across both segments. “As well as components for newbuild plants, the non- renewables power generation industry cargo we carry includes upgrade or substitutional equipment of all kinds. We also transport dismantled and older plant material.”

AAL Kembla loading cargo for a coal-fired steam power plant project in Indonesia.

Joerg Roehl, ceo Europe of Trans Global Projects (TGP), was positive about logistics business opportunities in the first of these markets but less so about decommissioning work. “Modernisation and refurbishment will be key for the future of the power sector. TGP has already been involved in a number of those efforts, for example in Central Asia,” he commented.

“However, while power plant decommissioning does create some business for our industry, much of the demolition and deconstruction involved happens onsite, which results in a requirement to transport much smaller lots.”

Frank Guzman, director of project logistics at US-based C.H. Robinson, was also positive about the potential for logistics work arising from modernisation/upgrade projects, specifically in North America.

“Reflecting on the 2008 global economic recession and as we move towards a post-Covid-19 environment, nearshoring and reshoring will likely increase in North America, which will create opportunities for modernisation and refurbishment projects,” he commented.

China’s largest gas-fired combined cooling, heating and power plant started operations in Zengcheng this year. Photo credit: SIEMENS ENERGY

Maintenance projects

Johan Visser, segment lead power – Europe for Mammoet, said that while the company does not undertake much work relating to the extension of fossil fuel power plants, it is involved with many maintenance projects.

“One example is the changing of motor crankshafts, a highly technical job undertaken within very tight space confinements; another is the changing of rotors. In addition, through our transformer transportations, we contribute to increasing the capacity of power networks, for instance at substations,” he stated.

Regarding plant decommissioning projects, Visser claimed that Mammoet’s experience in other industries, such as civil engineering, of liaising with public bodies and large private stakeholders is becoming increasingly important, “perhaps as much as the heavy lifting equipment itself”.

He explained that with the expansion of many cities, the immediate vicinity of power generation plants has often changed significantly since they were originally built. At the same time, stringent environmental legislation is now in place.

“Consequently, permitting can be one of the greatest challenges associated with this type of project to ensure plant equipment is handled safely and responsibly.”

For HLPFI’s full report on the non-renewable power generation, view the December 2020 digital edition here.