Wilhelmsen Ships Service undertook a significant
project in Saudi Arabia when the company moved
equipment and parts totalling some 32,000 tonnes over
difficult road networks destined for the construction
site of the new Al Safwa cement plant. The
consignment was mainly moved to the site from vessels
in the ports of Jeddah, about 160km from Jeddah, and
heavy lifts from Port of Yanbu, which lies some 260km
to the north on the Red Sea coast.
The contract was awarded by one of the world’s
largest cement producers and was handled by
Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s Jeddah office. A complex
operation involved road transportation of 160km from
Jeddah and 260km from Yanbu. The Wilhelmsen Ships
Service team, headed by Johan Ostnes, carried out a
road survey prior to moving the cargo, ascertaining
that the road was in good condition to take the weight
of the heavy lifts. With the help of Saudi Arabia’s
Department of Transport modifications were
made at two junctions for the heavy lifts to be
able to pass. The surface was good, apart from
the last 10km which was dirt road, which made
for a challenging adventure. Wilhelmsen Ships
Service was also faced with resolving a number
of logistical challenges regarding local
regulations and communication. Wilhelmsen
Insurance Services provided insurance for the
total transport.
The cargo — some tens of thousands of
individual items — ranged from heavy lift items,
some weighting up to 180 tonnes, to nuts and
bolts, and was in total worth some US$600
million. The transportation was carried out
over a period of 18 months and was recently
completed. The cement plant has commenced
its initial test run and is expected to start
production this month (September 2010). The
plant will produce around 2 million tons of
cement per annum for local use as well as for
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