Nord Stream AG announces the successful completion of its complex international logistics programme. This award-winning green logistics concept enabled the most efficient and environmentally-sound way of supplying to the pipe-laying vessels the 200,000 24-tonne concrete weight coated (CWC) pipes needed for Nord Stream's twin natural gas pipelines through the Baltic Sea.
Twelve-tonne steel pipes were manufactured in Germany (140,000), Russia (50,000) and Japan (10,000), from where they were shipped directly to one of two CWC plants on the Baltic Coast and coated in concrete to double their weight for added stability and safety on the sea-bed.
A key feature of Nord Stream's environmentally friendly logistics concept was the creation and use of a network of five strategically located logistics sites: two concrete-weight coating plants (Kotka in Finland and Mukran in Germany) and three marshalling yards (Hanko in Finland and Slite and Karlskrona Sweden), each of which was no further than 100 nautical miles from the route of the pipelines. This enabled the pipe-carrier vessels to make the round-trips to and from the three lay-barges within one day.
The last pipe transhipment to the pipe-laying vessel Castoro Sei from the Swedish port of Slite took place last week. The remaining pipes were then returned to the German port of Mukran, from where a small supply will be transhipped onward to Lubmin. These pipes will be stored there to provide for any possible contingencies during the planned 50 years' operating life of the pipelines.
"Transporting on time and maintaining the quality of masses of pipes which in total weigh more than 4.6 million tonnes has been a real challenge. Nord Stream's coating and logistics partner EUPEC, the harbours and stevedores in Finland, Sweden and Germany, and the shipping contractors all performed remarkably well," says Nord Stream Project Director, Henning Kothe. "The successful implementation of our complex logistics programme played a key role in guaranteeing the smooth pipe-laying schedule, which has now finished a few weeks early," he added.
The decision to build the new CWC plants close to the pipeline rather than to use existing ones further away led to both environmental and economic savings: 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions and a reduction of 60 million euros in transportation costs were saved. The project also used low emission transportation wherever possible: 96 percent of the overall transport for the Nord Stream project was handled by train and ship.
Nord Stream Deputy Project Director Engineering, Werner Rott added: "Our logistics programme also allowed us to react flexibly to changing requirements when operating with up to three lay-barges and even in adverse winter conditions. From the start there were only 24 hours out of total of approximately 20,000 project hours when pipes could not be delivered. This happened during the exceptionally cold winter of 2010-2011."
The total value for the raw materials and labour for the concrete coating and logistics was about 650 million euros, of which 100 million euros was invested into establishing the coating and logistics infrastructure. These investments created positive direct and indirect effects on business development and employment in all the five locations.