Ahlers Moves 8,000 frt for Steel Plant Transformation


Source: Project Cargo Journal

Climate neutrality is on top of the agenda for industries across the globe. thyssenkrupp Steel has set sights on a new era in Duisburg as it targets climate-neutral steel production by 2024. As part of its plant transformation project, the company has contracted Danieli to develop and implement a digital system for slab storage and management at Duisburg-Bruckhausen, Germany. The solution would ensure a proper flow of steel from caster to hot-strip mill, and slab delivery to customers.

To help with delivering the project cargo to Duisburg, at the time when the steel plant was working at full capacity, Danieli turned to its long-term project forwarder, Ahlers Logistics. Ahlers Projects & Machinery division was brought into the project as early as the negotiations stage.

The freight forwarder had the task of moving 8,000 freight tons of crane parts and accessories from Thailand to Duisburg. The cargo consisted of 42-metre-long crane girders and supporting trolley units weighing 850 tons in total. Ahlers was also tasked with arranging customs clearance formalities at the destination, basically an entire logistics package.

Scope of work

  • Equipment and parts for steel mill in breakbulk, containers and direct trucks​
  • Central communication & coordination with dedicated project team​
  • Vessel fixtures through Ahlers’ own chartering desk​
  • Jobsite route surveys​
  • Crane and SPMT works at jobsite​

Shipping to Duisburg

Ahlers Logistics said that the cargo was loaded at Laem Chabang in one lot on a chartered MPP vessel, Chipolbrock’s Nowowiejski. The vessel sailed to Antwerp where Ahlers organised discharge ex barges. “As of recently, the situation with MPP vessels and space availability has improved, with the market stabilising and vessel owners getting more flexible, provided that sufficient notice period is respected when booking the vessel,” said project coordinator at Ahlers Logistics, Aman Amanov.

Upon arrival in Antwerp, the 42-metre-long crane girders and supporting trolley units and oversized wooden cases were shipped to Duisburg via inland waterways by five barges. The weight and the dimensions of the cargo meant it could not be delivered by road directly from Antwerp to Duisburg.

Both in Antwerp and Duisburg, the girders, weighing 100 tons required elaborate tandem lift. For that purpose, Ahlers mobilised two 650-ton mobile cranes to discharge the girders ex barges at thyssenkrupp berth.

Ahlers tagged in its local partner Felbermayr to complete the last-mile delivery at Duisburg. From the quay to the laydown area, 20-axle SPMT was deployed to move the crane girders to the laydown area. The supporting trolley parts and wooden cases were delivered by 6-axle SPMT.

For the remaining cargo, Ahlers organised 44 trucks for the delivery from Antwerp to thyssenkrupp site by road.

“We started the initial route studies in the second half of 2021. Final preparations kicked off in March 2023 when the company received the green light for delivery execution. We’ve managed to find a timely solution for vessel sailing ex Thailand at the end of April,” said Amanov.

“Transit time from Laem Chabang up to Antwerp was kept as short as possible in order to not deviate from an earlier established delivery plan. The vessel arrived in Antwerp at the beginning of June and from then on it took a total of approximately five weeks to deliver all 8,000 frt of goods to the site,” he said.

Minimising disruptions

Over the years Ahlers developed an impressive track record of completed projects in the metallurgy industry. “We’ve gained valuable knowledge on how such plants operate and what kinds of materials/parts they require for their activities. This expertise will definitely be useful when dealing with future projects on such sites. We see a lot of opportunities in this market, especially in Europe, where huge investments are being made into reaching net-zero carbon emissions target,” Amanov said.

The expertise was put to the test during this project as the delivery had to be completed in June and July when thyssenkrupp’s production facilities were operating at full capacity. This meant that longer disruption periods were to be avoided.

“We had to establish and follow and elaborate shipping plan with strict delivery sequence and timeframe,” Amanov said. “This is why the majority of work at the job site was carried out during the evening and night time.”

The last-mile delivery required tight cooperation with Felbermayr and detailed planning, while a significant amount of work had to be done along the route. This included removing traffic furniture, preparing the quayside for crane works, preparing engineering drawings for lifting works, checking and verifying ground-bearing pressure along the route, placing asphalt onto and nearby critical rail crossings as well as preparing stools at laydown area for crane girders to be placed on.

Despite all the obstacles, meticulous planning enabled safe and on-time delivery. “We have a long-standing partnership with Danieli and our dedicated team always strives for excellence when executing any type of small or big scale projects. We believe that this attitude, along with our elaborate tailor-made solution and a flexible, hands-on approach, have made us the right fit for this job,” Amanov said.

“It was a real logistics masterpiece,” was a conclusion from thyssenkrupp Steel. The company will be using hydrogen instead of coal as a reducing agent in pig iron production in the future.

The first direct reduction plant with innovative melters will be built by 2026 on the thyssenkrupp Steel factory site near the southern port between Alt-Walsum and Fahrn. This marks the start of one of the world’s largest industrial decarbonization projects, with which more than 3.5 million tons of CO2 can be avoided each year after completion.