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Rolling the drums before the californian sunrise. 

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The case

Chevron’s El Segundo refinery forms the beating heart of Southern California’s petrol production. When six of the refinery’s coke drums were nearing the end of their useful life. Chevron contracted Mammoet: as the massive new drums had to be transported straight through one of the most densely populated areas in the USA, they wanted to be certain that disturbance would be kept to a minimum. Mammoet came up with a plan and moved six drums the size of space shuttles swiftly, safely and silently across the metropolitan area.


Reducing disturbance starts with minimizing the distance travelled through busy roads. It was therefore decided to ship the cargo from the port of Los Angeles to the King Harbor marina closer to the refinery. This reduced the distance travelled by land from 18 to 4,5 miles. But for all its luxury, King Harbor didn’t have suitable roll-on/roll-off facilities. Using barges and ramps, Mammoet turned the busy marina into a Ro-Ro terminal for the occasion, working closely together with the local community to keep disruption to a minimum.
Once the drums were rolled off, the overland leg of the transport posed an even bigger challenge, as the drums had to be quietly moved straight through a residential area. One that was riddled with obstacles.

Quote El Segundo refinery

The road transports were all about keeping things safe and being as non-intrusive as possible when moving six gigantic drums through a residential area. Prior to the transports, the route was cleared of all obstacles such as overhanging tree branches, concrete lane dividers and no fewer than 57 streetlights and 17 traffic poles. The transports were carried out at night and in pairs of two drums on especially modified California Dollies, using customized noise reduction covers to avoid waking the neighbors.

Phase 1 Drums arrive at port of Los Angeles

Phase 2 Purpose built Ro-Ro ramp at King Harbor

Phase 3 Transport through residential area

Phase 4 Derrick lifted into place

By transporting the drums in pairs, total transportation time was cut down from six to three weeks, which greatly reduced the impact on the neighborhood. Throughout the entire operation only one complaint was filed and that was solved on the spot. When it was time to lift the drums and the derrick into position a year later, Mammoet did so with its PTC 35 DS crane. When all was said and done, Mammoet had finished the project ahead of schedule and under budget.

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