The Netherlands-based Mammoet has assisted Japan’s Nippon Express at the ALBA project in Sines, Portugal, moving heavy items across a busy industrial complex.

Mammoet keeps ALBA project on schedule

Source: Mammoet

The ALBA project is part of an expansion of the Sines Industrial Complex, a large facility that includes a linear polyethylene plant and a polypropylene plant. Planned to enter service next year, it will produce recyclable polymeric materials for use in pharmaceutical, automotive and food industries.

Mammoet’s scope at the project involved hauling 12 pieces of cargo, including four oversized components, to the complex in southwest Portugal. Over a 14 km route, there were three significant obstacles that the convoys had to overcome – all relating to bridges that prevented the oversized cargo from passing.

Near the exit of Sines port sits a large overhead conveyor belt. Whilst not in currently in use, dismantling it was not permitted. Due to the limited clearance beneath the conveyor belt, an alternative solution had to be found for transporting oversized components. The four largest components, the reactor (445 tonnes), product purge bin (220 tonnes), and two multizone circulating reactors (158 tonnes and 167 tonnes), were received at a neighbouring container terminal.

This was a much busier location, so precise scheduling, organisation and project management was essential, said Mammoet. This alternate route meant that the convoy could take an alternative path – over the conveyor belt – using a temporary steel bridge.

Further into the route there were more challenges, including a bridge over a pipe rack. With the bridge unable to take the weight of the reactor, rafting beams were set over the bridge, resting on each of the bridge’s pillars. “What we wanted to achieve with the rafting beams is to not step onto the bridge, only on its pillars. The pillars had sufficient capacity to support the weight of the components,” said Alvaro Macias, sales manager at Mammoet.

The final challenge was an old railway bridge. It too was unused but could not be demolished. Local authorities would only permit its steel top to be temporarily removed, not its abutments.

With the space between the abutments measuring 9.2 m, and the reactor’s diameter 9.9 m, Mammoet provided a solution to transport the reactor at a higher level, enabling its trunnions to clear the abutments without the need for removal. “What we proposed was to lift the reactor using an extra elevation between the SPMT trailers and the component, so that it could be lifted above the wall,” said Macias.

A total of 52 axle lines of SPMTs were used to move the reactor. The smaller items needed just 24 axle lines. Movements were carried out at night, with each item taking two shifts.