Pipeline logistics -
Delivering the Full Logistics Chain

During the past four years, Wagenborg Nedlift has been busy with rather extraordinary business: logistics of two, huge onshore gas pipelines across Germany – OPAL and NEL – with huge diameters and distances, crossing Germany from the north to the southern and western ‘Bundesländer’ in order to supply the country with Russian gas coming from the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline. Wagenborg Nedlift played a key-role in the logistics operations.

Born to Deliver

Meint Obbo Schuiling, Wagenborg Nedlift’s project manager for both OPAL and NEL project, relates, “The project size of OPAL was so huge and planning schedule at the pipe production facility so tight, that special requirements arose regarding the logistics of the pipes. Right from the start, we were involved in developing a logistics process that was feasible and efficient, in close co-operation with all parties involved.” “A construction period of 1.5 years seems quite long, but taking into account that 26,908 pipes have to be delivered in approximately 340 working days with one pipe per truckload, means that 80 loads need to be transported each day. Every hour 10 trucks had to be loaded and offloaded! Combined with the fact that distances from loading location [railway stations along the route] to the construction sites varied from 10 to 60 kilometers, this made the project a true challenge for a logistics service provider. Our team of young eager logistics professionals and very experienced operations managers managed to deal with all those challenges,” Schuiling explains.

Full Logistics Chain Control

In order to be able to control the full logistics chain, Wagenborg Nedlift was responsible for the entire logistics chain from the railway station up to the storage areas along the construction route. About 25 Wagenborg Nedlift employees were continuously involved in a range of activities, including:

  • Supply of cranes for transshipment from waggon onto truck.
  • Site supervisor at loading location and unloading location.
  • Supply of sufficient certified trucks and trailers
  • Quality control and administration on transported pipeline pieces.
  • Execution of route surveys and arranging road transport permits
  • Project management and engineering.

Cross-Border Teamwork

Although the countries are neighbours, there are quite some cultural differences between the German and Dutch peoples. Working on such a project together, this can be a recipe for miscommunication. However, Schuiling could turn it into an advantage. “German authorities were more than willing to assist with required permits and  arrangements to keep the project going” he says. “They were happily surprised by our approach and practical way of communication and solving problems.” “Personally, I had the time of my life with these projects,” Schuiling concludes. “I really enjoyed working with such a variety of people from our own company, our customers, suppliers involved and local people. An interesting and challenging time that gave me a lot of pleasure.