super heavy cargo

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has enhanced its reputation for supplying end-to-end logistics services by managing the delivery of a 73t turbine ‘runner’ to Russia’s Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Station, one of the world’s leading producers of electrical energy.

Preparations for the project began in June 2013 when logistics specialists from Volga-Dnepr visited the manufacturing plant of its customer, Voith Hydro in St. Pölten, Austria. This enabled the airline to gather the technical specifications of the runner that were required for transportation and load planning for this complex logistics challenge.

The cargo’s journey began by road, with Volga-Dnepr organising and managing ground delivery from the factory to Vienna International Airport. At the airport, the next challenge was to carefully load the 6m wide and 2.4m high shipment onboard one of Volga-Dnepr’s An-124-100 ‘Ruslan’ freighters, the world’s biggest serial transport aircraft.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines senior load planning and logistics engineer Vladimir Grigoriev said: "Moving a cargo of such size and mass is always a challenge but it is one we are experienced in taking on for our customers. To transport the runner to the Bratsk Hydropower Station, a unique technical loading plan was engineered. We used a ramp extension, a special loading platform, rail system and a 250 tons capacity crane. The runner was fixed on the platform and ‘drawn’ into the cargo hold on rails. Then it was safely moored with chains. We used two types of loading while handling the runner, using cranes in Austria but no cranes in Bratsk. This was the uniqueness of this particular transportation project. During the whole operation we cooperated closely with Voith Hydro as well as with the consignee, OJSC Irkutskenergo, and transport companies involved in the logistics chain."

As part of Volga-Dnepr’s total logistics solution, its team obtained all of the necessary approvals to operate the flight, including the permission of the Russian Traffic Police to ship the runner from Bratsk Airport to the power plant by road. Customs documentation was also managed by Volga-Dnepr as well as the highway convoy on the final leg of the delivery.

The delivery of the runner is the first stage of a project to modernise the Bratsk Hydropower Station. Under the contract between OJSC Irkutskenergo and Voith Hydro, globally-leading hydropower equipment manufacturer, the installation of another five runners is planned.