August 30 - Wilhelmsen Ships Service says it has completed a significant project in Saudi Arabia which saw the company move equipment and parts totalling 32,000 tonnes over difficult road networks destined for the construction site of the new Al Safwa cem

The contract was awarded by one of the world's largest cement producers and was handled by Wilhelmsen Ships Service's Jeddah office. A complex operation involved road transportation of 160 km from Jeddah and 260 km from Yanbu.

The Wilhelmsen Ships Service team, headed by Johan Ostnes, carried out a road survey prior to moving the cargo, ascertaining that the road was in good condition to take the weight of the heavy lifts.

With the help of Saudi Arabia's Department of Transport modifications were made at two junctions for the heavy lifts to be able to pass. According to the company the road surface was good - save for the last 10 km, which was dirt road and made for a challenging adventure.

The cargo - consisting of tens of thousands of individual items - ranged from heavy lift items, some weighing up to 180 tonnes, to nuts and bolts and was worth a total of USD600 million.

The transportation was carried out over a period of 18 months. The cement plant has commenced its initial test run and is expected to start production next month (September 2010). It will produce around 2 million tonnes of cement per annum for local use, as well as for export.