ALE and Aertssen Kranen working together on Total's Optara project in Belgium

ALE and Aertssen Kranen working together on Total's Optara project in Belgium

Lifting and transport specialists ALE and Aertssen Kranen have completed nine months of work on the Optara project. Modules were transported from Spain to Belgium and the main equipment modules were installed for Tecnicas Reunidas.

The joint-venture arrangement between Aertssen Kranen and ALE saw the former responsible for lifting work with mobile cranes and ALE for the transport. ALE used self propelled modular transporter (SPMT) for transportation and load-out operations at the client’s fabrication yard in Tarragona, Spain. It also received the modules in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, where lo-lo and ro-ro operations were performed. The modules were then transported 6 km from the port to the refinery. Aertssen Kranen took care of all heavy lifting activities from arrival at Antwerp’s port until final positioning in the Total Refinery, including related engineering.

At the refinery 16 of the main modules were directly installed using SPMT while the remainder were installed using Aertssen’s 650 tonne capacity Terex Superlift 3800 lattice boom crawler crane. Some of the modules were transported with an auxiliary 6 metre high steel structure to install them at final height level. A total of 74 lifting operations were achieved considering all vessels and some of the modules, all within the scheduled timeframe and budget.

Two of the modules were the heaviest and biggest ever driven in Antwerp on public roads. Weighing 980 and 1,050 tonnes, respectively, with dimensions of up to 26 m long, 16 m wide and 32 m high, they were transported to the refinery on 72 axle lines of SPMT.

Jose Angel Morquillas, ALE project manager who co-ordinated the project, said, “This project really showcased ALE’s service capabilities, providing the load out, weighing, load in, jacking, transportation and installation services.”

Saskia Aertssen, Aertssen Kranen general manager, said, “It was a pleasure working together with all parties involved. Both services of ALE and Aertssen Kranen were a perfect match which resulted in the finalisation to customer’s expectations: in time, according to budget and without lost time injuries. The strong connection with the industry, custom-fit solutions and everlasting search for perfection leads to a long-term relationship with our customers. We thank everybody who helped achieving this result.”

The Optara project is part of Total’s €1 billion investment in its refining and petrochemical complex in Antwerp, the company’s second largest and Europe’s third-largest refinery. The project includes construction of a new unit and conversion of an existing one.

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