DREWES Logistics makes Tanks fly

DREWES Logistics makes Tanks fly

March 1, 2023


Project Logistics, Gas

The Project

The largest BIO-LNG plant in Germany is being built at the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rheinland in Cologne-Godorf (Germany). With the construction of a gas liquefaction plant, CO2-neutral truck fuel based on biomethane and gas is to be produced here, at a rate of up to 100,000 tons per year. Completion of the plant is scheduled for the end of 2023. At the heart of the plant are three giant LNG tanks.

The Job

The visible symbol for the construction of the new plant was the spectacular delivery and installation of the three 50-meter-long, six-meter-high and 246-ton tanks. A job for DREWES Logistics! And from the manufacturing plant in Děčín on the river Elbe (Czech Republic) to the millimeter at the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rheinland in Cologne-Godorf.

The client for the DREWES Group was Wärtsilä Gas Solutions Norway AS, who is responsible for the engineering, production and construction of the Bio-LNG plant as an EPC contractor.

The Challenge

To speak of a challenge is a gross understatement. Planning by the DREWES team was – as always – meticulous, but as with any project, not all possible difficulties could be foreseen. Yet in the end each curveball thrown was successfully hit out of the park.

After a short trip by modular trailers from the Děčín manufacturing plant to the river port, the first leg of the tanks voyage was a barge transport on the river Elbe. Production and transport however became a race against time as water levels were dropping. DREWES experts had however analyzed water levels of past years and monitored the evolution daily which allowed us to plan the barge loading at the exact right date before the levels dropped further which would have delayed transport for months.

Little Water, narrow Roads, tall Trees

The roads from the port in Cologne to the crane site for erection are narrow and winding across railroad tracks – and not exactly made for a heavy transport over 50 meters long.

Another challenge: In order not to have to cut down any trees for the transport to Shell Park, the 246-ton tanks had to be hoisted over a section of forest consisting of tall trees. A spectacular event as well as a real logistical task - just right for DREWES Logistics!

The Implementation

As already mentioned, the experts of the DREWES Group first planned and controlled the transport of the tanks from the manufacturing plant in Děčín on the river Elbe to Hamburg. Here, the tanks were transferred from the barges at Wallmann's heavy lift terminal to a coastal vessel of the Dutch shipping company Amasus Shipping BV.

The ship was exclusively chartered in for this purpose by DREWES Shipping in Bremen, which also belongs to the DREWES Group.

The next destination was the Katoen Natie terminal in the seaport of Antwerp. Here the tanks were taken off and prepared for further transport on the Rhine to their destination.

Meanwhile, in the Cologne-Godorf inland port, the quay wall was reinforced for the installation of a 750-ton crane while a crane pad on site at the refinery was constructed for a 750-ton and a 600-ton crawler crane.

Here the tanks arrived, again loaded onto three barges, and were put ashore by the heavy-lift crane. They completed the last kilometers via a narrow access road – and in the air. On two 24-axle heavy-lift transporters, the tanks finally arrived in front of the wooded area, over which they had to be lifted through the air at great heights to the final installation site. This job was again handled by two heavy-lift cranes.

On 2 x 6+6 axles onto foundations

Then only the last challenge remained. The site did not have sufficient space to position cranes for installing the tanks onto foundation. The solution found jointly with Spedition Bender GmbH and Riga Mainz GmbH was to jack up the tanks to a 3,2 meter elevation after which they were moved sideways by two sets of 6+6 axle self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) – still at a 3,2 meter elevation – over the pedestals and finally set down onto foundation, fitting over the bolts by millimeters.

Not just tanks, but much more

But that was not all: In addition to the tanks, DREWES Logistics took care of the delivery of multiple prefab modules in two shipments (machinery parts with dimensions of 7 x 7 x 6.5 meters and unit weights of up to 70 tons) from the port of Avilés in Spain by coaster to Rotterdam, further by barge to the terminal in Cologne-Godorf and also to the site of the LNG plant.

And not unimportantly, there were around 90 further truckloads of components on top, also destined for the LNG plant.

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The Bottom Line

Wärtsilä Gas Solutions Norway AS is a long-standing customer of the DREWES Group. In the past years, the DREWES team has repeatedly developed and implemented intelligent logistics solutions for project shipments for this customer.

The project for the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park, which has now been successfully completed, was among the most challenging of these. This time, too, the customer was not disappointed.

Success through teamwork

But such an achievement can only be mastered as a team: The DREWES team not only relied on the strengths of its specialist departments in Antwerp and at its headquarters in Bremen, for example with the charter desk of DREWES Shipping, but also involved partners such as forwarder Spedition Bender (Freudenberg), the crane service and heavy-lift company Riga (Mainz), the port and logistics service provider Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln, and the chemical company Lyondellbasell Industries. The preliminary work took well over a year.