Gas cylinder traveled from Berlin via Saxony-Anhalt to Canada

In centimeter steps 141 tons of heavy metal cylinders move over a long ramp into the belly of the largest transport aircraft in the world. For the crew of the Antonov AT 225 at the Leipzig/Halle Airport such a task almost belongs to the daily routine - they are used to unusual loads.

Thirty specialists are busy for nine hours until the heavy fragment is accurately aligned and has found its place well secured in the cargo hold. Shortly before midnight the six jet engine machine takes off from the runway. Its destination is Canada, including a stopover at the Icelandic airport KeflavĂ­k. "Only when the cylinder has arrived in Edmonton at the customer we can consider our work begun in April as completed", says Stephan Wrobel, Manager at DB Schenker Logistics. In the vicinity of the Canadian province capital Alberta the component is urgently needed in a gas field in order to take on its function for the liquefaction of gas in the future. With the help of the cylinder the gas will be cooled down from 1,200 to 600 degrees Celsius.

The federal state does not prove itself with Schenker for the first time as fulcrum of heavy cargo. "Port Aken is something of a stroke of luck for us. It often serves as a place of transshipment", assures Karl Hammerschmidt, Head of Special Transport at DB Schenker Logistics. Specialists are there for the loading from ship to a road vehicle or to the rail, and vice versa. The technology is aligned for it and the stationary cranes perform amazingly. Particularly for customers from Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia the place has meaning, when "heavy elements" must be brought into Transatlantic Harbor in Hamburg or when they come from there. As proof Hammerschmidt points at the open spaces in the port on which other enormous parts are for loading.

The port with a current kilometer of 277.5 has already been in operation since 1889. Its trimodality: the connection between road, rail and water as routes of transportation, makes it so interesting. The heavy property terminal with the strongest stationary crane lift technology at the Elbe between Hamburg and Czech Republic alone can score because here 270 tons are easily tackled. The fact that the gas cylinder from the company Borsig could not be transferred from the Antonov for Canada to Berlin has logistic reasons. "We examined many variants and then chose the way over Aken and the Leipzig/Halle Airport", says Hammerschmidt. It proved to be conclusively as the most effective. Even a variant over Hannover failed to pass the tests. One concern in the case of transport was the complete weight of heavy cargo transport. It was an impressive 293 tons. Twenty axles were necessary in order to move the cylinder the 80 kilometers between port and airfield.

With the two tractors, one for pulling and one for pushing, it brought the vehicle onto a length of 51 meters. A reason for these measurements was simple. Only this way the mass of the 16-meter long container could allocate itself optimally, explains Carsten Markwart of DB Schenker. In Berlin the project would have already failed on the many bridges that are in part ramshackle and not suitable for such loads. Between Aken and Leipzig/Halle Airport there are only two such structures that were accurately measured and examined before transport.

The appraisal for the bridge over the autobahn A 9 near Quetzdölsdorf alone covers 84 pages. The specialists of DB Schenker had shut down and surveyed the route several times before night transport over highways. Computer simulations for the bridge passages and road curves were carried out. But sometimes the devil is in the details. A building site caused concerns, but a few days before the spectacular act the road was open again. "It took a load off our minds", says Carsten Markwart. As the case with the other participants involved in the project, another load was taken off his mind after three days of high tension in the project, when the start of the Antonov took place trouble-free.

Author: Klaus-Peter Voigt

DB Mobility Logistics AG
Dohnanyistrasse 11
04103 Leipzig
Telephone: +49 341 9678-484