52 storage tanks,
1 terminal

Although special transports are part of our daily routine, every single project is special to us. Special in cargo, in destination, because of dimensions or special because of weights. And sometimes a project combines them all and is special in every single way. This is what happened when Wagenborg was awarded a huge project in the Botlek area. A total of 52 isolated storage tanks and 32 modules (pipe-racks) had to be transported from Willebroek  (Belgium) to Vlaardingen (Netherlands) and also had to be installed on the tank foundations at the Vopak Terminal. A true challenge for Wagenborg. But when it gets difficult, we are at our best!

Just in Time delivery

The largest tanks, with a capacity of almost 4,000 m³ have a diameter of 13 metres. The smallest tanks, still good for 2.500 m³, have a diameter of 11,5 metres. The heights vary from 25 to 28 metres and  are tuned to the maximum height allowed on the transport route from the manufacturer in Willebroek to Vlaardingen. All tanks together have a total capacity of 150 million litres, a total weight over 5,000 tons and cover an area the size of 30 tennis courts.

Timing is crucial in this project as the manufacturing, transport and installation of the tanks needed to be adapted to each other. First of all the storage tank manufacturer had a strict production plan for delivering the 52 tanks. Secondly Vopak had to make sure their tank foundations on the terminal were finalized. Thirdly, Wagenborg had to combine all these facts and information to create an optimised transport plan. The tanks would be transported in two phases. In January 2013 the first 26 tanks would be transported and installed. The rest will be delivered in May 2013 during phase 2. Cooperation between all parties involved was essential for a successful outcome of the project.

Project Vopak Vlaardingen

Complex installation

All water transport was performed with container vessels with the dimensions 135 x 17m. After securely lashing the storage tanks and a transport duration to Vlaardingen of two days, the tanks were  unloaded successfully, one by one, at the Vopak Terminal Vlaardingen by a 500 tons CC2500 crawler crane. This crawler crane took care of the transshipment of the tanks on a double 10-axle Self Propelled Modular Trailer. The SPMT executed the on-site transport from the Vopak quay up to under the hook of the 750 tons LR1750 crawler crane with a 78m main boom and super lift. This heavy crawler crane  lifted the tanks to their final position. On paper this sounds simple but some “details” made the installation really complex.

Due to a lack of space on the terminal site the sequence of positioning and installing the tanks is important. After installing a tank, the crawler cranes have to be removed to the next position for the next tank. Wooden and steel mats have to be adjusted or removed. The preliminary path of the crawler crane has to be adjusted increasingly as the tanks are placed. Because once a foundation is isolated and a tank is being brought into position, nothing can be moved over that tank, which makes the total installation complex. Each single heavy lift and movement is different from another and needs to be engineered separately by Wagenborg. The project also involved the installation of 23 pipe-rack modules that had to be installed between the tanks; just to make things even more complicated. But thanks to the people of Wagenborg the first phase ended successfully. We are looking forward to the second phase!

Remote controlled shackles

In some circumstances lifting can be a real challenge. Instead of using an extra crane with man basket or rope access techniques, project managers from Wagenborg developed another solution: a remote controlled shackle. With this shackle, it is possible to hook off loads (or mast sections) automatically.

The new device has the following features:

  • Visual features such as signal lights;
  • Control instrument to prevent the shackle from opening during lifting
  • Shackle operated by remote control pressing 2 buttons simultaneously for extra safety during operation
  • Remote control to be used within 200 metres radius of the shackle
  • Remote control is equipped with on/off button and emergency button
  • Remote control is equipped with waterproof case
  • Remote control is equipped with automatic switch off button
  • Digital battery indicator to check battery status before lifting operations
  • During lifting operation, the shackle cannot be closed or opened
  • The shackle has a CE-certificate