Project Focus – Goodrich in Afghanistan
One of the four loads on the way to the transformer sub station at Pol-e- Khomri Photographs – Goodrich, Mumbai
Date 15 November 2018
On a recent Heavy Lift Specialist Seminar in Rotterdam I met one of the delegates, who had enrolled on the course. He worked with a company in India and he had come to Rotterdam to build on his knowledge of the heavy lift industry.
He told me of a heavy lift project that his company had completed recently, a project that was the sort of thing that Hollywood makes films about, and films that win Oscars.
His company were asked to take over an abandoned project – the delivery of 4 large 155t transformers that had been left on the Afghanistan side of the border with Pakistan. The transformers were valued at US $ 9,000,000.
They had been left there because the original freight forwarder had underestimated the difficulties to be found in the challenging terrain ahead on the road to a provincial capital in Northern Afghanistan.
Each transformer weighed 155t, and measured more than 4.87m high, 7.37m long and 3.05m wide. The road to their intended destination was 435km long through mountainous countryside and, as this was in Afghanistan, full of challenges not normally found in projects… such as long, narrow and low tunnels and precipitous cliffs, upwards on one side of the road and dangerously steep downwards on the other.
Detailed planning was required if they were ever to succeed, however winter conditions delayed a team surveying the route for 3 months.
Eventually a team had conducted several route surveys to understand the terrestrial and aerial obstacles. They had carefully filled up those portions of the roads which were potentially weak to bear the weights. The aerial obstacles had been temporarily shifted, and finally fortified security was organised in those areas where the hostility was perceived to be a high risk. Throughout the whole planning all statutory permissions were observed and maintained.
However, after all this planning and repair, finding low bed trailers that would be able to traverse the winding paths without toppling the over gauged heavy transformer was proving very difficult. Finding trailers that could stay clear of the ground and to move smoothly through the low tunnels was not easy. After an intensive search not one suitable trailer could be found that could fulfill these demanding conditions.
So, they built a trailer to do the job. One that could carry the load maintaining all necessary conditions, centers of gravity observed, grades of steel sourced – all with great difficulty. Materials were brought in from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and a trailer was built in this Afghanistan border town that was capable of doing the job that was required of it.
The trailer was tested with the 150t load – and failed, it collapsed!
Lessons had been learnt and after another week of improved designing, cutting, and welding, produced a working trailer. After months of planning and hard work a Mercedes Heavy Duty Prime Mover pulled their Low Bed Trailer laden with the 155 tons transformer, over the 435km to the final destination, and, with a military escort finally arrived in the town in North Afghanistan. Each transformer completed the journey in 18 to 20 days
Even though the owner of the transformers had written off the US $ 9,000,000 as the project had looked impossible these guys took it on and found a way to complete the project.
This was just one example of the caliber of the companies that have delegates on a Heavy Lift Specialist Seminar. Can you match this chain of events?
With thanks to Mr Shourabh Sharma, COO,
Goodrich Group, Mumbai, India