Due to poor infrastructure, access to clean water is limited in many parts of rural South Africa. The ongoing drought aggravated the crisis, prompting the government to install prefabricated steel water tanks of between 200 and 350 kilolitres in capacity.
Transporting the tanks in one piece was not an option, but moving them into separate sections would take unnecessarily long. Mammoet proposed an alternative approach that allowed transport in one go before installation, significantly cutting total project time in the process.
The remote township of Bushbuck Ridge was set to receive 23 steel water tanks; part of a countrywide rollout and installation of 200 tanks over three years. Developed by Hydra-Arc, the tanks were manufactured in Secunda, an industrial town 350 km south of Bushbuck Ridge. Transportation from the factory to the site required navigating problematic roads that presented a major logistical challenge.
The preferred method of transport - moving the tanks in one – was not considered an option, due to the height of the tanks. But even when laid on their sides, the height of the load, given the tanks’ diameter, would require special permits for transport, in order to lift electricity lines en route. Lifting these lines would add to the costs. Apart from that, getting the permits would be quite time-consuming and wasn’t preferred. The most feasible option, it seemed, was to transport each tank in three separate sections.
After consultation, Mammoet devised an approach that was altogether more efficient; the team proposed a trailer configuration that enabled all three sections to be loaded onto a single trailer – and the transport for each tank to take place in one go, instead of three. Because of the reduced height of the load, permits were obtained much more quickly.
In the first instance, the tanks were loaded on the trailers. Then they traveled the long route, including sections of prepared roads, to reach Bushbuck Ridge. Upon arrival at the installation site, Mammoet off-loaded the sections and lifted them into position before the Hydra-Arc team welded them into place.
The approach enabled all three sections of each tank to be transported on a single trailer. Transport time was cut by 2/3, along with associated costs. Delivered within budget and ahead of schedule, a source of clean water was finally accessible to a remote community in need.