“BigRoll has delivered on its promises, we have grown from an ambitious newcomer to a reliable partner in the world of heavy marine transportation.”
These are the words of Bauke van Gent, commercial manager of BigRoll, and together with project manager Bastian Bojko, he speaks about the involvement of BigRoll in Russia’s energy project on the Yamal Peninsula in the northwest of Siberia.
A part of the immense project is the construction of the Yamal LNG plant. Because the area is very remote everything must be shipped in.
“The project site is not only remote but also located in the arctic region which asked for specific challenges to be addressed. From the beginning of the preparation and during execution our people, both on the vessels and within the offices, have worked closely with our partners. We welcomed and encouraged open communication and flexibility with and towards our project partners. This has been the basis for an excellent execution,” says Bastian Bojko who has visited the project location several times.
Largest building ever transported
“Our vessels have delivered modules from Asia directly to the project site, the Northern Sea route has been a welcoming option for our client. During our voyages we have encountered and sailed through ice, our Finish Swedish 1A Ice Class has been tested successfully. Within these challenging arctic conditions BigRoll has delivered the largest building ever transported on a vessel. With a length of over 103 meters and a width over 43 meter this building has been shipped from China to the Yamal Peninsula,” says Bojko.
BigRoll was formed when two renowned companies BigLift and RollDock saw a market opportunity and together formed a new company with a clear vision to serve and add value to projects such as the Yamal LNG project. The two managers emphasise that BigRoll is not a joint venture between the companies but a stand-alone company.
BigRoll contracted Cosco Dalian Shipyard to build four state-of-the-art MC-Class Module Carriers. A series of four identical deck carriers, offering reliability and flexibility to the projects and client served by BigRoll. The Finnish Swedish 1A Ice Class MC Class vessels are specifically designed for the marine transportation of major modules and equipment for large energy projects both on and offshore. With the construction progress of these vessels on full swing at the Dalian Shipyard, BigRoll started the conversations with Yamal to learn where they could be of assistance, which resulted in a contract award late 2015.
“We got the trust of the client because of the solid reputations of BigLift and RollDock,” says Van Gent. After the first vessel, BigRoll Barentsz, was delivered in 2016 it went straight to work on the Yamal project, same applies for the BigRoll Bering delivered a few months thereafter.
“With the first two vessels already serving, our client decided to add two more MC-Class vessels.”
One of the features of the ships is the efficient fuel consumption. This is accomplished by a combination of efficient hull design and propulsion systems. The decks of the four vessels are completely flush and can be used over the full length and width.
“In combination with the large ballast capacity, ice class, state-of-the-art systems on board, our ships are the best choice for heavy transport projects worldwide and in extreme cold areas,” project manager Bojko said.
“The Yamal LNG project and our client have had great ambitions from the start, and executed on that level of ambition. As a young company our learning curve has been steep,” Van Gent commented.
“BigRoll had and has the advantage to be fully supported by our two experienced parent companies, BigLift and RollDock. From the start we worked with a clear vision. That is to be respected for our performance and our people. We operate with a decision model that embraces our Core Values – Care, Open, Deliver, Explore – in full. It was a combination of factors that made it all possible,” Bauke and Bastian informed.
Because of the valuable cargo and the extreme conditions at the Yamal Peninsula nothing can be left to chance.
“Safety has top priority when you operate in the extreme conditions that you find in northwest Siberia,” Bastian Bojko said.
“In the summer the sun does not set and in the winter it is dark all the time. The arctic ice conditions make it a different place indeed. Safety is a big issue because it is a vital part of the operational process. Preparations and constant care are key elements to ensure a high safety level, as out there, small incidents can have big consequences.”
The relationship with the client is very important. “The complete market did not believe this could be done. BigRoll is proud to have been one of the partners serving the construction of the Yamal LNG project. The company believes that the close and open cooperation they had with the client contributed to a successful execution.”
Bojko shares that there was a lot of trust between BigRoll and the client. “This also means that the client takes our operational advice and experience very seriously, which provides an excellent platform for the execution of such complex project. Loading and discharging such massive structures on our vessels sometimes requires difficult on-the-spot decisions. With a strong working relationship between BigRoll and client, these decisions easily processed and operations continue safely and efficiently.”
All four deck carriers sail under the Dutch flag. “The Dutch have a great reputation when it comes to the heavy lift industry. I have been in this industry for a long time and you always find Dutch people and assets involved in these type of projects,” says Bojko, who is from Denmark, with a smile.
“They are solution driven and have a lot of experience in this industry.”
With the completion of the Yamal project in the third quarter of this year and all the experienced the company has gained serving this project, BigRoll is ready for the future.
“We successfully served the Yamal Project. This new kid on the block is here to stay,” Van Gent concluded.
This article was previously published in Maritime Holland edition #3 – 2017.