230 tons unit on route from Lüderitz to the Northern Cape

In conversation with ESI Africa’s content editor Ashley Theron, Chairman Giuseppe Arnoldi of Global Logistics Alliance (GLA) identifies some of the logistical challenges involved when transporting utility-scale renewable material from point of pick up to on-site assembly.

How does a utility-scale renewable generation plant physically come to fruition; what are the challenges? ESI Africa posed this question to Arnoldi, placing emphasis on logistical decisions when setting specific milestones for a project.

Transporting “Abnormal” Loads

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP technology such as steam accumulators, transformers, heat exchangers etc. are classified as abnormal items when it comes to transport and require a detailed expert blueprint for transportation.

With speed and cost a key priority for freighting companies, Arnoldi says: “By way of example, GLA requested that the shipment of two heat exchangers from France – expected for delivery at the KaXu CSP plant in Pofadder in the Northern Province – be docked in Lüderitz. Compared to Cape Town or Saldanha the route is a lot quicker and if the cargo is shipped to Lüderitz port in Namibia the road to Pofadder is straight with limited obstacles such as bridges, mountain passes, overhead cables etc. This is a key consideration!”

What to do when obstacles occur?

With abnormal loads, freighting vehicles usually travel no faster than 30km/h. A route survey is done prior to the project to scan the environment for any obstacles such as low lying electrical lines or low clearance bridges. Should such obstacles be identified, the local utilities and telecommunication companies need to be contacted to temporarily remove the obstructions. Should a high voltage line need to be moved the local utility would need to disconnect it from the…

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