By 2021, Burkina Faso seeks to increase electricity access from 20% to 80%, as part of its National Plan for Economic and Social Development. A key phase of this plan was an upgrade to the Kossodo thermal power plant project, which would provide an additional 50MW capacity; strengthening the production capacities of the national network.
Contracted by the Burkina Faso office of FRACHT France, a branch of FRACHT Group, Mammoet’s scope comprised complex land transportation of components from the Port of Takoradi in Ghana, across the country to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso with a total distance of 1,400km.
Manufactured by Germany’s MAN Energy Solutions, the power plant expansion equipment consisted of three 325t engines, three 59t generators, two 80t transformers, and three 16t turbochargers, with each ranging in length up to 13m, in height up to 6.6m and in width up to 6m.
Never before was a cargo of these sizes and weights transported over such a distance in West Africa, as the local infrastructure was not built to move such cargo dimensions and weights. The resulting maximum transport height of around eight meters meant the project team had to lift over 1,000 overhead power lines during the transport, in both Ghana and Burkina Faso.
Following several route surveys, Mammoet defined the most appropriate transport route. The operation required many small infrastructure changes en route, to negotiate potholed roads, overhead power lines and several structurally deficient bridges. In close collaboration with the Ghana Highway Authorities, police and Electricity Company of Ghana, Mammoet performed the required road modifications and bridge reinforcements in advance.
To ensure there were no hiccups during the operation, the team planned ahead and test-drove its entire length prior to the actual transport to confirm it was free of any unobserved obstacles.
The coronavirus pandemic provided an additional challenge, as both countries closed their borders, thereby restricting cross-border movements, and affecting the mobilization of the crew and the entire operation. To ensure the continuity of the project, with the support of Fracht France, its branch in Burkina Faso, and the plant owner – Sonabel, Mammoet, mobilized the crew using a private charter flight and handled all required transport permits from the different government authorities.
Efficient planning, flexibility to adapt to circumstances and immaculate execution assured safe delivery of the cargo. It has now arrived at the Kossodo project site, ready for further installation using Mammoet’s jacking and skidding systems.
“This was one of the first projects in Africa where Mammoet and former ALE combined forces, just after the integration. Right from the start, we worked as one team, facing challenges and solving them on the spot, as the crew was committed to delivering the critical cargo safely and within the timeframes set by the client,” commented William Soeters, Project Manager.
Once completed, the Kossodo power plant aims to increase national generation capacity by almost 20%; doubling the number of customers to 1 million and contributing to the economic growth of the country by providing wider access to power.