Wilhelmsen Ships Service undertook a significant project in Saudi Arabia when the company moved equipment and parts totaling some 32,000 tons over difficult road networks destined for the construction site of the new Al Safwa cement plant. The consignment was mainly moved to the site from vessels in the ports of Jeddah, about 160 km from Jeddah, and heavy lifts from Port of Yanbu, which lies some 260km to the north on the Red Sea coast.

The contract was awarded by one of the world’s largest cement producers and was handled by Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s Jeddah office. A complex operation involved road transportation of 160 km from Jeddah and 260 km from Yanbu. The Wilhelmsen Ships Service team, headed by Johan Ostnes, carried out a road survey prior to moving the cargo, ascertaining that the road was in good condition to take the weight of the heavy lifts. With the help of Saudi Arabia’s Department of Transport modifications were made at two junctions for the heavy lifts to be able to pass. The surface was good, apart from the last 10 km which was dirt road, which made for a challenging adventure. Wilhelmsen Ships Service was also faced with resolving a number of logistical challenges regarding local regulations and communication. Wilhelmsen Insurance Services provided insurance for the total transport.

The cargo - some tens of thousands of individual items - ranged from heavy lift items, some weighting up to 180 tons, to nuts and bolts, and was in total worth some $600 million US. The transportation was carried out over a period of 18 months and was recently completed.’ The Cement Plant has commenced its initial test run and is expected to start production next month (September 2010).’ The plant will produce around 2 million tons of cement per annum for local use as well as for export.

Wilhelmsen Ships Service supplies Unitor marine products, technical services, ships agency services and maritime logistics.