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Across the river: moving marine loading arms for KLK Emmerich GmbH

2019 proved to be big for Wiese Europe. We managed an impressive operation across the Rhine river, moving a set of three marine loading arms from close to the Rhine bank to a brand-new pier situated 130 meters further across the river. Our client KLK Emmerich GmbH has since seen an efficient solution to a problem that proved nothing less than huge. We’ll happily share how we managed it.

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When in deep waters

Before the summer of 2019, the Rhine river around Emmerich in the German heartland already had an impressive installation of marine loading arms set up for the on- and offloading of ships on the river surface. Two of these arms were manufactured by us, but all three we’d happily move to help out this client.

KLK Emmerich GmbH is an oleochemical giant, part of the internationally Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) concern, operating from both the Emmerich am Rhein and Dusseldorf refineries. The company mostly produces fatty acids, glycerin, dimers, monomers, isostearics, fatty alcohols and triacetin. Chemical products of which the components are shipped along the Rhine river and the final products eventually leave along the same route in the opposite direction.

This process required an upgrade. Where did the issue lie? Before the summer of 2019, ships were loaded near the riverbank by KLK’s loading arm setup. Unfortunately, in times of low water levels it became impossible to load because of the danger of stranding in shallow waters.

When talking about increasing or decreasing water levels, the environment comes into play. In fact, because of global warming, it’s safe to say the industry will be confronted with more and more of these types of challenges in the (near) future. Modern times require modern solutions, which we’re happy to assist you with.

KLK decided to extend the loading zone by installing a pier 130 meters from the riverbank. Moving the loading arms to their new home? That’s what Wiese does best.

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Crossing the gap

And so we entered the project. Initially a job far from unusual to Wiese. KLK stressed the importance of not having their refinery off-limits for more than 3 weeks so for Wiese it meant adapting to new products and processes with little time to lose. Because of Germany’s strict environmental laws, we had to familiarize ourselves with new production oils to apply throughout the process. These oils were fabricated to be biodegradable, which meant working in a manner both eco-friendly and efficient.

Eventually two Wiese technicians got the job done in two weeks. We started off by tying up every loading arm to guarantee safe transport, one at a time. With a crane positioned on a pontoon, all three of them were lifted to their new spots on the newly built pier 130 meters towards the river’s lowest point.

A process requiring ingenuity since ordinary land cranes were no option due to the distance. Wiese technicians even had to get their hands on new rigging certificates to be able to work on a project this size. The same goes for an estimated 100 meters of pipelines that came along with the new build and the various maintenance issues we managed to fix while we were at it. The bigger the project, the bigger the importance of delivering quality.

By the end of October, the project was brought to a close. With another happy client under our belt, we began planning the next step: maintenance. The story of this partnership is set to continue.