DB Schenker carries out the the multi-stage delivery of a TBM

DB Schenker carries out the the multi-stage delivery of a TBM

TBM on the bargeDB Schenker

DB Schenker has recently been tasked by a consortium of Mostostal Warszawa and Acciona Construcción to carry out a multi-stage transport of a TBM (tunnel boring machine) from Spain to Poland. The machine was loaded onboard a vessel in Santander, Spain and headed to the port of Szczecin in Poland where unloading took place mid-October. 

The logistics operation actually started in the city of Noblejas, Spain. There, the TBM was dismantled by engineers and its parts divided due to weight and size.

The heaviest load on Polish roads so far

The heaviest elements, incl. the main drive and the cutting disc were transported by road by the Spanish Branch of DB Schenker from Noblejas to the port of Santander, from where, after loading, they reached Szczecin within a week. The next stage is a trip on special barges on the Oder River to Opole. There, the machine elements will be unloaded and secured on platforms consisting of self-propelled axles. Next, by land, the transport will move to Babica. Lighter elements will be delivered from Spain to Podkarpacie directly by road.

A logistical challenge for DB Schenker

DB Schenker has been preparing for this demanding logistics operation for over 18 months. On the part of the logistics operator, a team of over a dozen employees from Poland and Spain and specialised carriers, important partners in this project, worked on solutions that would ensure safe transport of the machine.

“Many factors were taken into account when implementing this project. We are talking not only about the regulations governing the transport of oversized items. We also considered, for example, verifying the strength of bridges and viaducts, examining the possibility of performing all the necessary manoeuvres with a special semi-trailer, on which the heaviest TBM elements weighing up to 230 tons are transported,” said Tomasz Kwapis, head of the Oversize Transport Department at DB Schenker. “All these variables had an impact on the choice of the type of transport, the route from Opole to Rzeszów and finally the length of the entire operation,” Kwapis adds.

73 meters long and 68 wheels

After unloading in Opole, the heaviest elements of the TBM will be transported on a special mega-trailer, consisting of two platforms with self-propelled axles, which together have 68 wheels. The length of the entire set is 73 meters.

In order for the transport to be possible, it was even necessary to build a motorway exit dedicated to this operation, which would allow the platform to turn. In accordance with the regulations, transport will be carried out at night at a speed of 10 to 15 km per hour. The semi-trailer will have to overcome 396 bridges, viaducts and crossings on its way. All TBM elements will be delivered to Babica by the end of the year. There, the assembly of the machine will begin, which will last three months. The goal is to drill a tunnel, which will start in 2023.

TBM is impressive

TBM is a powerful machine that will drill one of the longest tunnels in Poland, 2,255 m long, under the Grochowiczna hill in Podkarpacie. It will not only drill in the ground, but also lay special reinforced concrete elements forming the tunnel casing.

The pace of the machine’s work is from a few centimetres per minute to about 10 metres per day. The TBM weighs 4,300 tons, has a power of 12,000 kilowatts, is 107 meters long and has a drill disc diameter of 15.2 meters. The machine was previously used in the construction of the Madrid ring road.

Author: Adnan Bajic

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