Complex transport of Siemens Gas Turbine

The world’s most powerful mobile gas turbine will provide reliable and affordable electricity to more than 200,000 homes in Afghanistan

Complex transport of Siemens Gas Turbine

In December 2018, All Freight Services International (AFSI) in Canada and Blue Water Shipping were awarded the contract to transport the world’s first Siemens SGT-A45 Mobile Turbine from Alabama, United States to Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan by Bayat Power, the largest gas-fired power generation company in Afghanistan. This is the first new gas turbine to be deployed in Afghanistan in more than 40 years, and it will provide reliable and affordable electricity to over 200,000 homes.

The Siemens SGT-A45 Gas Turbine is the world’s most powerful and efficient mobile turbine, capable of producing more than 300 million KWh of power yearly. But this project was much more than a journey of transporting highly sophisticated and heavy equipment more than 7,000 miles from the US to Afghanistan. Rather, this journey is the start of the vital mission to rebuild Afghanistan’s domestic energy industry so that the nation can provide reliable and affordable electric power to all Afghans.

Ground-breaking project

Bayat Group Chairman and CEO Dr. Ehsan Bayat said: “Bayat Power Phase 1 is truly a ground-breaking project, achievable only with the innovative efficiency and capacity of the SGT-A45 Mobile Turbine and the collaborative vision of Siemens, Bayat Power and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  Our achievement is also due directly to the support of important vendors and all of our logistics partners.  Our partnerships are undeniable proof that Afghan and international companies can work together to create a vibrant new energy industry in Afghanistan”. 

Various complexities and modes

The equipment transportation involved a number of complexities and modes as the SGT-A45 package included three units (generator trailer, gas turbine and power control module), the largest of which was 30 metres in length and weighed approximately 100 tons. Initially, the equipment was moved by road through four states in the USA to reach Houston Port and was subsequentlytransported by RO-RO vessel to Jebel Ali Port in Dubai.  From here, it was transported with special, customised equipment and loading solutions from Jebel Ali Port to DWC Airport (Dubai World Central) for airlift into Afghanistan.  In total, five Antonov-124-100 freighter flights were used to transport the entire shipment: four flights from DWC and one from Izmir, Turkey to Mazar-e Sharif.  The Antonov-124-100 is one of the world's largest civil cargo aircrafts.

Custom-built hydraulic axle handled particular challenge

Blue Water’s team was led by David Richter, General Manager of Blue Water Shipping in Dubai. David Richter has more than ten years of experience in the Middle East Region. He has a solid background in Key Account Management and Project Logistics and has successfully worked with Oil & Energy businesses in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. David Richter is responsible for all activities of Blue Water in the UAE and bordering countries. 

David Richter stated: “There were many obstacles we had to overcome to deliver this project in a safely and timely manner. One particular challenge we faced was the shallow ground clearance of all three trailer units, which limited our maneuverability when loading and offloading the equipment into the vessel and the Antonov-124-100. A custom-built hydraulic axle with a five-wheeled solution was quickly designed and built specially for this project.  This solution not only enhanced the handling of the trailer units, but also helped to distribute the heavy weight evenly on additional axles, which turned out to be a critical requirement for the loading onto the Antonov -124-100 freighter.  All stakeholders involved have gone above and beyond their responsibilities and have cohesively engaged together in every situation at every hour of the day and night over a course of months to ensure the success of this project.  The Blue Water team is very proud to have provided the logistics services to transport the world’s first Siemens SGT-A45 Mobile Turbine that will improve the lives of many Afghan families”. 

Biggest air charter operation in Blue Water’s history

Blue Water’s Air Charter team was led by Nicolai Norgaard, Manager Special Executive Accounts at Blue Water’s office in Billund. Nicolai Norgaard has more than ten years of experience in project logistics, of which five years have been focused on Air Charter. Nicolai Norgaard was strategically placed on this account due to its significance.

Nicolai Norgaard stated: “In November 2018, Blue Water Shipping in Billund received an Air Charter inquiry from David Richter, Blue Water UAE. The requirement was to transport the first Siemens SGT-A45, using five consecutive flights on the Antonov-124-100 from Turkey/Dubai to Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan. Each flight had its own critical issues and challenges which required close attention from start until the end of the project. Representing the Air Charter team on ground in Turkey, Russia, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and UAE and working closely with critical teams was the key for this project to be a success.  Having Volga-Dnepr Airlines as a partner for the airlift on this project turned out to be a perfect match. Their customer service, extreme flexibility and skilled technical crew turned out to be very valuable for us to overcome our different challenges for all five flights.  We are very proud to have been a part of making history. Furthermore, this is the biggest air charter operation in the history of the company.  We experienced many challenges and struggles, but we focused on solutions and finding a way forward.  We developed relationships which we will cherish throughout our lives.  It was truly an inspiring project, and we are proud to be a part of it”.

Being part of great historical project

The strategy for the overall logistics was led by Executive Director at AFSI, Sassan Nakhjavani with over 35 years of experience in Logistics. Sassan Nakhjavani stated: “A large number of considerations were analysed and balanced in order to determine the safest and most cost-effective modes of transportation that would get the equipment into Afghanistan within the time frame required. We overcame all the challenges and struggles by keeping a positive attitude and treating each problem as our own.  We are proud to be part of this great historical project. This is the best part of being in the Logistics business”.

Powering Afghanistan’s future

The Bayat Power team on this project was led by Kamal Gawri, Senior Business Executive.  Kamal Gawri is a Chartered Accountant from Canada who is extremely dedicated, focused, committed and adroitly balances an extensive knowledge of Finance, Accounting and Logistics with a considerable Business Development & Team Leadership skill set.  He has experience in implementing very challenging projects in extremely dynamic situations, and he has led many complex projects in a strategic, professional and detailed manner.

Kamal Gawri stated: “Transporting the first Siemens SGT-A45 from Alabama to Mazar-e Sharif for Afghanistan’s first gas-fired turbine in more than 40 years has probably been one of the most complex commercial logistics projects in the nation’s history. The complexity of the trailers as well as the various modes of transport, such as land, sea and air, made it even more challenging. We experienced many struggles and challenges, but we overcame it all through teamwork and dedication. We focused on the task at hand and kept the spirit up by focusing on the overall project objective: powering Afghanistan’s future. It has indeed been a truly spiritual and fulfilling journey, and we are grateful to all our partners who helped on this very important project.  All of these partnerships have paved the path for a brighter future for Afghanistan.  Blue Water Shipping, Volga-Dnepr Airlines and All Freight Services have gone above and beyond their commitment, dedication and passion to find solutions in complex situations. We are honored and proud to have handled one of the most complex logistics projects in the world, to transport the SGT-A45 from Alabama to Mazar-e Sharif Airport — and to harness its unmatched power production potential in service to the Afghan nation.”