Building an industrial scale chemical plant is, without a doubt, a complex endeavour – it takes time, good planning and spot-on organisation. Not to mention a great team, too.
Tasked by Polish company Grupa Azoty, one of the main players on the European fertiliser and chemical market, Mammoet recently completed the first scope of work that will lead to the construction of the propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene (PDH/PP) blocks of its client’s chemical facility. The project took place in the town of Police, in the northwest of Poland, and involved the lifting and transport of more than 480 items from a small port to the construction site six kilometres away.
“We are happy to announce the completion of the first stage of our collaboration with Grupa Azoty Polyolefins,” says Jakub Walasek, Branch Manager for Mammoet Poland. “This is one of the biggest projects in Poland in recent years and we were entrusted to deliver some of the largest items ever moved on Polish roads.”
Among the items transported by Mammoet, five were extremely large with a weight between 600-800 tonnes, and the largest was around 900 tonnes. The size of many of those items required the company to look for efficient and sometimes creative ways to get them from the port to their final location.
Six kilometres of road, 11 months of preparation
While 6 kilometres might not sound like a long distance in day-to-day terms, when it comes to transporting oversized and heavy items, it can feel like quite the journey. Especially the part of getting ready for it.
From the very beginning the transport supervisors executing the transport were involved in the project. They performed surveys and together with engineering drafted the plans on how the items were to be delivered to site.
As a big part of the trip took place on public roads, it was crucial to make sure that all the permits were in place and the route was ready to take the large weight of the transport. In quite a few areas, it was necessary to make modifications. A RoRo ramp was built, bypasses were created, roads were widened, electrical wires were taken down and placed underground, and lamp posts were removed and later replaced with newer ones, which was eventually “a nice improvement for the local infrastructure,” Jakub says.
Yet, perhaps the biggest achievement of all was to build a bridge that could hold 650 tonnes of weight.
“As part of the route, we had to cross a 20-metre-wide channel and for that, we needed to build a bridge. Seeing that bridge complete was one of the highlights for me,” Jakub says. “There is a lot of preparation and precision that goes into a project like this and building a bridge is no small task.”
Once the route was ready, the items could be transported as safely and efficiently as possible. The first transport took place in January 2021.
Transporting some of the heaviest items on Polish roads
Characteristic of this first scope of the project with Grupa Azoty Polyolefins was certainly its complexity. There were multiple items to be moved, and many of them came in different shapes and sizes. Mammoet used PST’s and conventional axle lines for the transport. The largest item, called the polypropylene splitter, required the use of two times double 16-axle lines PST’s in dolly configuration with turntables.
“Our team worked like a well-oiled machine,” Jakub says proudly. “From the start of the preparations to bringing the items to their destination, everybody knew exactly where they needed to be and when.”
In Poland, Mammoet has a team of seven, five of whom were directly involved in this project. For the transport itself, they were joined by colleagues from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK, who did the final checks on the route and made sure all the items were transported safely to the construction site.
Jakub is happy with the outcome of this first scope of work. With the job done for now, he and his team are already gearing up for the next phase of the project that they will be involved in – the installation. That’s coming up later in 2021.