Everything the project requires
PTA POY PET project site: imports of equipment and materials involve relations with up to 17 countries
Reactor, containers, boilers, silos. A project in Pernambuco becomes a benchmark for importing and transporting equipment
It was 5 a.m. on May 31, 2009, and one of the most challenging stages of implementing the PTA POY PET project – an integrated production hub for purified terephthalic acid (PTA), polyester filaments and PET resins for packaging – was reaching its peak. The ship had docked in the port of Suape, Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, one week earlier, and the task at hand at sunrise that day was getting the catalytic oxidation reactor for paraxylene, a raw material for the terephthalic acid plant, from the docks to the PTA plant. It was time to “implant” the heart of the project.
The operation did not just take a single morning. It required months of effort to ensure that the giant truck could travel the 5 km from the port to the site of the PTA plant. The reactor weighs no less than 300 metric tons, and when placed on a flatbed truck, it was 11 meters high. Twenty-two light poles had to be removed along the route and replaced with taller ones. Telephone lines were disconnected and raised. The bridge received metal reinforcement to bear the weight of the truck, which was fitted with about 250 tires, and (at a steeper point) required three tractors to help pull the load. It took 90 minutes for the reactor to reach its final destination, escorted by the Harbor Police, who ensured that the route was cordoned off. The heart was put in place, ready to feed the other vital organs of the project.
“Logistics is a complex part of any operation. When it involves imports from up to 17 countries and 30 cities, in the case of the PTA POY PET project, it is even more delicate because each operation has its own unique features,” explains Pollyanna Peres, the officer Responsible for Logistics. Odebrecht Engenharia Industrial (Industrial Engineering) is responsible for the detailed engineering, procurement of materials and equipment, civil works and electromechanical assembly of all three units, as well as managing the construction of the entire complex.
According to Pollyanna, one example of the challenges involved in the project’s operating logistics was importing the boilers for the PTA plant, purchased by the client, PetroquímicaSuape (an affiliate of Petroquisa, the petrochemical arm of Petrobras), from a company in India which, in turn, has suppliers from several other countries, such as Germany and Sweden. “We have also had cases like the Siemens turbocharger, which had to be transported in a vessel chartered exclusively for that purpose,” she adds.
That many variables can lead to unusual situations, and every time, the team responsible for procurement must find the best solutions to avoid delays. This was the case with the containers used to ship parts imported from a Dutch company for seven storage silos that will be installed in the PTA plant. The manufacturer required that they be assembled with its own tools, which went along in the same shipment, much to the surprise of Pollyanna and her team.
All told, the PTA project alone has required spending BRL 9 million on international maritime shipping of about 9,000 metric tons of equipment, which is expected to be delivered by April of this year. The “heavy” logistics for the POY and PET projects have already been completed, with about 60% of equipment delivered, including 775 containers loaded with texturing and spinning equipment.
In two years, the POY and PET projects have involved more than 210 shipments totaling 4,800 metric tons of machinery. Now, the only items missing are the radioactive power sources for the instruments used to measure the quantity of products (POY and PET) in the storage silos. “They are smaller, but no less complex, because they can only be shipped at certain times of day, and we have to use special trucks,” says Pollyanna.
The delivery of the POY and PET units is scheduled for 2013. “Logistics is a key part of a project of this magnitude, where most of the materials are imported,” says Project Director José Gilberto Mariano. “If a piece of equipment doesn’t arrive on time, it can have repercussions throughout the project. The work done in that regard has been exemplary.”