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World’s longest freight transport through the Suez Canal
October 25, 2020
5 min read
Pipelife Norway is about to finalize their biggest single delivery ever: 6,722 meters of large diameter plastic PE Pipes are hauled 16,300 kilometers to Bangladesh. Their arrival is expected on October 30th 2020. The convoy is over one kilometer long and is the longest freight transport ever to go through the Suez Canal.
In March 2020,
Pipelife Norway signed one of their biggest export contracts when
they agreed to deliver an offshore water-cooling system to a power
plant project in the South East part of Bangladesh. Throughout spring
and summer, the workers in the factory in Stathelle worked day and
night to produce the 12 enormous pipes with a diameter of 7.5 feet
(2.3 meters), as well as several bends and inspection chambers.
longest in history
transportation of the pipes started on August 19, with the delivery
of six pipes of each 620 meters and a further 6 pipes of 500 meters.
The width of the delivery 30 meters, and including the tugboat and
the wires, it spans over one kilometer. The convoy has attracted much
attention with its impressive length as it is towed through the
193-kilometer-long and occasionally relatively narrow Suez Canal.
Pipelife’s pipe tow is the longest convoy in history to go through
the canal since it opened in 1869.
The pipe tow reached
Port Said on September 18 and reached Suez by the Red Sea on
September 20.“ The Suez passage was successful and without
any delays. We would like to thank the Suez Canal Authorities (SCA)
and their agents for excellent cooperation, both in the planning
stage prior to and under transportation though the canal. It will
probably not be the last Pipelife tow through the Suez Canal”, says
Trygve Blomster, Pipelife Norway’s Export Manager.
The pipes have
passed the Gulf of Aden and are on their way through the Indian Ocean
to their next fuel stop in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Estimated arrival will
be October 18, 2020. Estimated arrival to their final destination in
Bangladesh is the first week of November, depending on the weather.
“We have performed more
than 150 international tows since 1995. We started in the 1960s with
towing pipes in Scandinavia. England, South Africa, and North Africa
were next. In 1998, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean and made it to
Brazil. In 2019, Pipelife set the world record with a pipe tow of
27,720 kilometers to Malaysia. The voyage back then went around
Africa. We considered pursuing the same route for the tow that is now
headed for Bangladesh, but we chose the Suez Canal as it shortens the
voyage 6,000 kilometers and the convoy will reach its destination a
month earlier”, Blomster says.
Breakthrough in a
“The value of having
transported a giant tow through the Suez Canal means a lot to us.
This will make us a more valuable pipe supplier in the Middle East,
Asia and India. The region has many big projects within water supply,
desalination, and water-cooling pipes in power plants. Our solutions
are great alternatives in this industry. We have opened up the
possibility for Norwegian pipe export with our tows around Africa to
Malaysia and now through the Suez Canal to Bangladesh. We are already
working on several big projects in the Middle East, India, Bangladesh
and the South East of Asia, and we hope to sign a new big contract in
the coming year”, says Trygve Blomster.
The Norwegian supplier is
also a winner when it comes to operating climate friendly. The pipes
float and require minimal engine power. It enables a towboat to
transport many pipes in one tow. To compare, the pipe delivery to
Bangladesh would have needed 374 full trailers with 18-meter-long
pipes. At the factory in Stathelle, the pipes are extruded directly
into a fjord without any further handling. The long pipes save a lot
of handling and welding upon arrival as well.
Pipelife Videos: A film is worth 1000 images
Watch our installation videos which we provide for many products and various jointing methods. Check out our Youtube channel.
Number of pipes: 6 x 620 meters and 6 x 500
Diameter of pipes: 2.3 meters
Weight: 3,850 tons
The tows total length: Over 1,000
Distance: 16,300 kilometers
Facts about the Suez Canal:
The Suez Canal is a
193-kilometer-long canal in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean Sea
and the Red Sea. The canal was opened on November 17, 1869 as an
alternative to the Silk Road and the much longer shipping route
around the coast of Africa and Cape of Good Hope. Since then, it has
been a central trading route between Asia and Europe. The canal was
refurbished in 2015 and is now used by more than 20,000 ships on a