Crossing the Friendship Bridge

Delivery of 3 x 110 MVA transformers to Laos - crossing the bridge


A long-standing customer awarded Ahlers India with a contract for the delivery of 3 x 110 MVA transformers to the Thabok and Nabong substations in Laos.  There were 2 factors which made these deliveries challenging; the routing to the substations and the placement of the units on the foundations at site.


Ahlers’ scope started with the transport of the 3 transformers each measuring 7.5 X 3.7 X 4.5 m (l x w x h) and weighing 106 ton per unit from the factory in India, customs clearance and port handling in Mumbai and freight from Mumbai port to Laem Chabang in Thailand.  Business as usual for Ahlers India so far.

The challenge then started with the on-carriage, as the substations are only reachable via the “Friendship Bridge” over the Mekong River connecting Laos and Thailand. The bridge opened in 1994 but as no technical details were available an extensive feasibility study needed to be conducted well advance together with our local partner. 

Next came the discharging and placement of the transformers on the foundations of the Nabong and Thabok substations.  Sounds easy?  Not if you factor in the dimensions, the lack of equipment to handle the transformers on site and the site infrastructure itself.

Given these factors the choice was made to use the “jack and slide” method – the units were lifted and put in place using a hydraulic system. This system is ideal for rigging situations where cranes are not workable, either due to financial constraints or lack of infrastructure. This method proved straight forward at the Nabong substation but at the Thabok substation extra sand, concrete and stones were needed to be used for the reinforcement of the route and ground surrounding the site.

This impressive delivery was the result of intensive preparation by Supratim Majumdar and the Ahlers India Project team. Our customer appreciated our hands-on approach and have in the meantime awarded Ahlers with more deliveries to destinations in Africa and Asia.

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