How to transport 13 wind turbines over five thousand tons in six months

In March 2020, the wind power plant «Badamsha» started to operate in Kazakhstan. The ISS GS team was able to transport 13 wind turbines. In just six months all sets of power plants weighing more than five thousand tons were delivered from China, Turkey and Germany to the village of Badamsha in the Aktyubin region of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The project has become a challenge and a great experience for ISS Global Solutions specialists who are proud of its successful implementation: since delivered windmills are the first step to the widespread use of renewable energy sources in Kazakhstan.

On March 30, 2020, a landmark event took place in Kazakhstan: in the northwest of Aktyubin region near the village of Badamsha, the industrial operation of the Badamsha wind farm began. Thirteen wind turbine generators with a total power of 48 MW will provide the region with 198 GWh of electricity annually. This energy is enough for a small town with a population of up to 20,000 people. The estimated lifespan of windmills will be 25 years.  The transition to renewable energy in the region will prevent harmful carbon emissions of 172,000 tons a year. The initiators of the project GE Renewable Energy and the Italian company Eni have invested about $100 million in the Badamsha wind farm.

Contract scope: Route survey, customs transit, delivery of wind generators to Badamsha
Cargo: 13 wind turbines and supplementary equipment
Dimensions: 52,418 m3 / 5.021 tons, including 170 oversized units, maximum length of 65 m (blades)
POL: Brake (Germany), Bandirma and Izmir (Turkey), Jiangyin (China)
POD: Aktau (Kazakhstan)
Transport: 2 tugboats convoys, 5 river-sea vessels, 145 telescopic trailers and lowbeds
Project timeline: March - November 2019

ISS GS team has completed the transportation of 13 GE 3.8-130 wind turbines (3.8 MW, 85 m tall, 130 m rotor diameter) by November 2019. Wind farm assembly was performed by one of the biggest cranes in the world, also delivered to Badamsha from Europe.

13 sets of wind power plants (WPP) with a total volume of 52,418 freight tons were delivered from the ports of Brake (Germany), Bandirma and Izmir (Turkey) without additional transshipments to the local port on the Caspian Sea. Between June and October 2019, the project involved two tugboats and five river-sea vessels.

A total of seven voyages were made from June till October 2019: five by river-sea vessels and two by barge-toe trains. The first batch of equipment arrived in Aktau on June 26 from the German port of Brake on the ship Sormovsky-3054, and the route passed through the Seaport of St. Petersburg along Volgo-Baltic Waterway and the Volga River.

On July 2, the Neva-Leader-5 cargo ship delivered similar equipment to Kazakhstan from the Turkish port of Bandirma, and on July 24, Neva-Leader-3 delivered another batch of equipment to Kazakhstan.

The first delivery of long-range parts of wind turbines was transported from Turkey’s Izmir. The equipment was delivered to a tugboat in Aktau on 20 July. At the end of the month, a second delivery of long cargo arrived on a chartered barge.

At the same time, equipment was delivered by river-sea vessels. The next ship, St. Alexis, arrived from Bandirma to Aktau on 11 August. The last batch of equipment was delivered to the Kazakh port by a ship St. Prince Vladimir.

Every detail matters

“In order to achieve this seamless interaction of various processes and accuracy of delivery, our specialists have been carefully working through all the details of the route for several months,” says Vladimir Nekhvyadovich, First Deputy CEO of ISS Global Solutions, “thus, the specialists of the NSC and VBL have developed an optimal loading scheme of equipment in the holds and on the deck of the river-sea-class ships and barges as well as the methods of fixing it.”

In accordance with the calculations, the experts accurately determined the necessary class of ships, as well as their number and frequency of voyages. The ISS Global Solutions team took into account difficult shipping situation in some parts of the Volga River, especially at the Gorodetsky Gateway.

Therefore, it was decided to send the last shipment from the German Brake not on Volgo-Balt, but in another way, not the shortest, but safe – through the Bay of Biscay. Also, the specialists worked out the possibility beforehand to load the ship in the Turkish port of Bandirma.

The East is a wispy matter

The process of loading was marked by “eastern nuances”. Our barge was the first vessel under the Russian flag in Turkish port. Izmir is the only state port in the country, and this is important as Turkey’s commercial ports do not serve foreign-flag ships.

Due to the weather conditions in southern Russia there were difficulties in sending tugboats. Therefore, before conducting an empty barge in Izmir for cargo, the first sea tugboat stuck for three days on the Azov raid due to the storm wind.

Because of the height of the cargo limited visibility from the bridge when passing through the Volgo-Don shipping channel, they had to resort to the help of two river tugs – one on the traction and the second on the push.

In the port of Aktau, the unloading and transshipment of large oversized cargo is provided by an advanced crawler crane for the transshipment of heavy cargo with a capacity of 1,250 tons. This crane has been operating since 2018; however the maximum cargo capacity of heavy equipment in this port was no more than 80 tons before that.

How to run 80-meter road train on public roads

Wind turbines were delivered by cargo barge from the port of Aktau to the production site of KCOI, located on the Caspian Sea coast. Further to the final destination the cargo was delivered by road. The most challenging stage of the logistic operation was the transportation of road trains with overlong blades on Kazakhstan’s roads.

To do this, the cargo was loaded on road trains (big rig) using special axles for gondolas weighing 105 tons and telescopic trailers for the transportation of overlong blades.

“In order to ensure smooth delivery by road, we carried out serious preparations”, recalls Vladimir Nekhvyadovich. Not only was the route explored, but also topographical and geodesic surveys were carried out and transport schemes were developed. “We have received all the necessary permits to transport oversized and heavy cargo and prepare road infrastructure, including the repair of existing and the construction of temporary roads,   says Vladimir Nekhvyadovich.  Thus, road signs were dismantled in some parts of the route. Around 200 meters of bypass roads were built on one particularly difficult site.”

The total length of the delivery route was 1950 km. Taking into account the length of the blades at 63 meters, transportation to such a distance became a real challenge. For instance, due to the height of vehicles with sections for windmills towers, exceeding five meters from the roadway, there was a temporary power outage on the way of transportation for safety reasons.

145 road trains for one special project

A total of 145 road trains were sent to Badamsha. Leading transport manufacturers of specialized equipment were involved, such as Noteboom, Faymonville, Goldhofer, Mercedes, MAN, Scania, modular axis for the transportation of gondolas, low-frame trawls 6-8 axes for the transportation of towers and hubs of the WPP, trawls-telescopes for transporting blades.

The consignee chose the Aktobe custom post for customs clearance, the cargo was under the internal customs transit procedure. Most parts of WPP were imported by classification solution, inventory and lifting equipment in the procedure of temporary admission.

Construction site in Badamsha

“The implementation of this project was complicated by weather conditions, route complexity and bureaucratic delays, however it did not affect the quality of execution or compliance with delivery times,” says Vladimir Nekhvyadovich, First Deputy CEO of ISS Global Solutions. “A particular challenge of this project was the delivery of blades, the length of which exceeded 60 meters – this is the average height of a 20-story house at a distance of 1950 km! But this is not our limit: now we are getting ready to transport 77 meters long wind turbine blades”.