A new Damen cutter suction CSD650 dredger has just completed a lengthy sea and land journey to Kazakhstan. Recently, Van Oord purchased this unit from Damen Dredging Equipment (DDE). This is the largest of DDE’s standard range of CSDs and was developed in 2014. Named Ural River, this dredger was acquired by Van Oord to be deployed on projects in the Caspian Sea, but the transfer of the dredger to the Caspian during the winter constituted a major challenge.
The most logical way to ship the vessel would have been along the River Don from the Sea of Azov, and subsequently the Volga-Don Canal and the Volga to
the Caspian Sea. However, due to ice drift, this route is blocked from October to April and faces severe congestion for several weeks after the spring reopening.
So Van Oord had to find another way to get the Ural River to Kazakhstan on schedule. It approached transport specialist Royal Wagenborg to assist.
Realizing that an alternative would mean a combination of land and water transport, several options were reviewed. It was the route via St. Petersburg that was considered the most efficient in terms of cost and time. This route would mean that once the dredger was loaded on trucks, an uninterrupted trip could be undertaken to Kazakhstan,
where the dredger would be reassembled.
Although the route included a road trip of approximately 3,500 km across Russia, it had the advantage of only one water/road transfer, while a Black Sea route would require more transhipment operations.
The Damen CSD650 dredger has the advantage that it is fully dismountable and, immediately after the official handover in Nijkerk on January 1st, it was disassembled and prepared for transport.
In total, 20 items had to be transported: 14 large components and six 40-foot containers with various smaller parts. The largest component was the main pontoon, which weighs 128 tonnes and has a length of 22m, a width of 4.55m and a height of 3.45m.
On February 2nd everything was ready to leave Nijkerk. The large parts were transported by inland vessels to the port of Rotterdam. The smaller parts, in containers, were transported by truck to Kazakhstan, while the large units
went from Rotterdam to St. Petersburg using Wagenborg ice classed vessel Robijn. Ice class is mandatory for vessels sailing to St. Petersburg at this time of year.
Robijn arrived in St. Petersburg on February 11th. The large units and containers were immediately places on heavy-load trucks of Wagenborg’s local partner East West Agency, part of the Largus Group. Ural River arrived in
Kazakhstan on schedule mid March.