Relevant topics

2016 September 8

Unusual logistics

Infotech Baltika JSC, one of Russia’s leading logistics companies, tells IAA PortNews about heavy cargo transportation by inland water ways of Russia.

Many large-scale projects in Russia are being implemented in hard-to-reach areas. Delivery of oversized cargo to such places is a task with a set of variables and non-obvious solutions. Each delivery is a separate complicated project. Infotech Baltika JSC, one of Russia’s leading logistics companies, tells IAA PortNews about the process of finding logistic solutions for transportation of heavy equipment by river, sea and land transport along the inland water ways of Russia.

Infotech Baltika JSC has been involved in organisation of project cargo deliveries for about 20 years with the last 5 years seeing intensified activities in this field. Infotech Baltika was invited to provide logistics solutions under oil and gas projects of OMZ OJSC for shipping of oversized heavy equipment (OHE) to Rosneft, Tatneft, Atomenergomash and other customers in different regions of the country.

Infotech Baltika is currently busy with delivering OHE for Omsk Refinery JSC under agreement with Gazpromneft Omsk Refinery JSC. This logistic task is quite specific with the equipment produced at several facilities both in Russia (Volgogradneftemash OJSC, Izhorskiye Zavody PJSC and Atommash Volgodonsk branch) and in China (Sinopec). In view of the climate conditions at the Northern Sea Route, the delivery to Omsk depends on certain criteria and limited period of time before ice formation starts on the Irtysh river. 

Logistic scheme is developed in advance while the delay of the plants’ supplies is not excluded, hence the risk management is required.

The delivery involves different means of transport. The above mentioned production facilities are located along the inland water ways of Russia, their equipment is delivered to the river berths by wheeled vehicles and then loaded by cranes or Ro-Ro method. Then the oversized heavy equipment is transported by barges to the port of consolidation in Saint-Petersburg.

For example, the reactor equipment scheduled for transportation was delivered from the workshop of Izhorskiye Zavody PJSC to the berth in Ust-Slavyanka on the Neva river and was placed on special transport stands for waiting of further loading onto the vessels. The transportation of 6 reactors was carried out simultaneously in one convoy. During the transportation the crossing of two railways (including high-speed section between Kolpino and Slavyanka) of Oktyabrskaya Railway was arranged. Both railway crossings were specially equipped to bear heavy-lift transport carrying reactor equipment.

Transportation by inland water ways to Saint-Petersburg involves the barges of North-Western Shipping Company and other ship owners of Russia, river and sea going tugboats. The cargo consolidated in Saint-Petersburg is then loaded onto the HHL Rio De Janeiro (Hansa Heavy Lift) which transports the equipment across the Baltic Sea, around the Scandinavia and along the Northern Sea Route to the Gulf of Ob. With its ice class, the heavy lift ship applies for icebreaker assistance only in special cases as this increases the shipping costs considerably. The Northern Sea Route can be used for such transportation only from mid-July (western lanes). In the Gulf of Ob the cargo is re0-loaded again onto river barges. 

Direct delivery of an atmospheric column by Articulated Tug Barge unit was arranged the same time from the berth of Volgogradneftemash OJSC along the White Sea – Baltic Sea Canal and the Northern Sea Route to Omsk.

Equipment from China (reactor and columns for oil processing) was loaded in Shanghai onto the sea going crane ship Mirabella (Jumbo Shipping). Then the cargo was delivered across the Bering Strait and along the Northern Sea Route and then transshipped onto barges to be delivered to Omsk. Eastern lanes of the Northern Sea Route are open for shipping from late August. 

All phases of heavy cargo delivery required the development of special engineering projects. They were developed by Infotech Baltica specialists with the involvement of the leading specialized organisations.

Transshipment of equipment in the Gulf of Ob is performed at the offshore terminal amid the deficit of berth infrastructure. The barges intended for transportation of heavy equipment have been refitted so that Ro-Ro method of unloading could be applied. Transshipment in the Gulf of Ob implies careful consideration and arrangements including the delivery of required mounting material, arrangements to accommodate and upkeep the rigging crew on board the supply ship. 

To roll out the equipment from barges in Omsk, a dedicated Ro-Ro berth is used with a separate engineering project developed for each batch of equipment weighing 100 to 600 tonnes. Otherwise, there is a risk of barge damage.  Then the equipment is transported by wheeled vehicles of modular type. The route of the land vehicles is considered in advance to ensure absence of obstacles.

The project for Omsk Refinery totally implies transportation of 8 heavy equipment units from China, and 17 units of Russian origin including an atmospheric column by inland water ways of Russia.

Infotech Baltica JSC is planning more projects on shipment of heavy equipment in 2017, each of them is a unique project requiring specific logistic and engineering solutions.

Vitaly Chernov

The article has been published in the latest edition of “PortNews. Port Service.” journal  >>>>