A record-breaking heavy transport
how it's done

A record-breaking heavy transport

Photo Mammoet

Engineered heavy lifting and oversized transport specialist Mammoet played a pivotal role in a record-breaking project for ORLEN Lietuva, transporting a massive Residue Hydrocracking Unit (RHCU) to its Mažeikiai refinery in Lithuania.

The RHCU, a crucial component of ORLEN Lietuva’s 2000 modernization program aimed at enhancing refining efficiency and meeting future EU fuel quality standards, presented a significant logistical challenge. Weighing in at 1,500 tonnes and exceeding 50 metres in height, the unit demanded meticulous planning and execution.

Years of planning for a one-piece transport

Mammoet, boasting a longstanding partnership with ORLEN Lietuva, commenced planning in 2016. The team, collaborating with ORLEN Lietuva and the Lithuanian Transport Authority, meticulously evaluated transport options, including waterway transportation, utilising neighbouring countries, and even constructing a temporary jetty near the refinery. However, environmental impact concerns and feasibility ultimately led to the selection of a single-piece transportation approach.

A mammoth journey by road

Following its construction in Italy, the RHCU embarked on a 145-kilometre journey, a distance exceeding 1.5 times the length of the Lithuanian coastline. This record-breaking road transport utilised an 88-axle trailer configuration pulled by two prime movers, travelling at a controlled pace of 3-5 kilometres per hour. Nighttime travel minimised disruption to traffic and the public, while also mitigating potential asphalt damage in the summer heat.

The route, however, was not without its obstacles. Heavy pre-transport rainfall necessitated laying steel plates on gravel sections to prevent the convoy from getting stuck. Additionally, temporary disconnection of electrical cables, construction of a permanent bridge, reinforcement of five existing bridges, and creation of bypasses were all essential for safe passage. Overcoming an 8 per cent slope in a valley involved utilising sheet piling and additional prime movers for support.

A record-breaking heavy transport
Photo: Mammoet

A spectacular transport for onlookers

The sheer size and complexity of the transport garnered significant media attention, attracting crowds eager to witness this historic event. People arrived as early as 4 am, with an estimated 500 spectators gathering to observe a single-turn manoeuvre.

Record-breaking installation

Compared to the transport, the installation itself was a relatively straightforward operation, relying on a combination of a gantry crane and an LR11350 tailing crane (1,300 tonnes). The tandem lift approach allowed for trailer removal followed by a coordinated lifting operation, ensuring the unit’s stability throughout the process. The entire installation process spanned approximately seven hours, minimising disruption to ongoing refinery operations.

This project not only set a record for the heaviest cargo ever transported in Lithuania but also marked the first utilisation of a gantry crane for a lifting operation in the country.

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Author: Adnan Bajic

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A record-breaking heavy transport
A record-breaking heavy transport
how it's done

A record-breaking heavy transport

Photo Mammoet

Engineered heavy lifting and oversized transport specialist Mammoet played a pivotal role in a record-breaking project for ORLEN Lietuva, transporting a massive Residue Hydrocracking Unit (RHCU) to its Mažeikiai refinery in Lithuania.

The RHCU, a crucial component of ORLEN Lietuva’s 2000 modernization program aimed at enhancing refining efficiency and meeting future EU fuel quality standards, presented a significant logistical challenge. Weighing in at 1,500 tonnes and exceeding 50 metres in height, the unit demanded meticulous planning and execution.

Years of planning for a one-piece transport

Mammoet, boasting a longstanding partnership with ORLEN Lietuva, commenced planning in 2016. The team, collaborating with ORLEN Lietuva and the Lithuanian Transport Authority, meticulously evaluated transport options, including waterway transportation, utilising neighbouring countries, and even constructing a temporary jetty near the refinery. However, environmental impact concerns and feasibility ultimately led to the selection of a single-piece transportation approach.

A mammoth journey by road

Following its construction in Italy, the RHCU embarked on a 145-kilometre journey, a distance exceeding 1.5 times the length of the Lithuanian coastline. This record-breaking road transport utilised an 88-axle trailer configuration pulled by two prime movers, travelling at a controlled pace of 3-5 kilometres per hour. Nighttime travel minimised disruption to traffic and the public, while also mitigating potential asphalt damage in the summer heat.

The route, however, was not without its obstacles. Heavy pre-transport rainfall necessitated laying steel plates on gravel sections to prevent the convoy from getting stuck. Additionally, temporary disconnection of electrical cables, construction of a permanent bridge, reinforcement of five existing bridges, and creation of bypasses were all essential for safe passage. Overcoming an 8 per cent slope in a valley involved utilising sheet piling and additional prime movers for support.

A record-breaking heavy transport
Photo: Mammoet

A spectacular transport for onlookers

The sheer size and complexity of the transport garnered significant media attention, attracting crowds eager to witness this historic event. People arrived as early as 4 am, with an estimated 500 spectators gathering to observe a single-turn manoeuvre.

Record-breaking installation

Compared to the transport, the installation itself was a relatively straightforward operation, relying on a combination of a gantry crane and an LR11350 tailing crane (1,300 tonnes). The tandem lift approach allowed for trailer removal followed by a coordinated lifting operation, ensuring the unit’s stability throughout the process. The entire installation process spanned approximately seven hours, minimising disruption to ongoing refinery operations.

This project not only set a record for the heaviest cargo ever transported in Lithuania but also marked the first utilisation of a gantry crane for a lifting operation in the country.

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Author: Adnan Bajic

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