In a recent project, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Hydrocarbon had to deliver six modules fabricated at two sites - Hazira (Gujarat) and Kattupalli (Tamil Nadu), to Vizag (Andhra Pradesh) before 30th April 2023. The two orders were exclusive of each other and had separate contractors. J M Baxi Heavy proposed to have the shipments handled under one order so that the modules could be shipped within its timeline and budget.

The team proposed to use a single 250 class barge that would load one module at Hazira, sail to Katupalli where it would load two modules, and deliver all the 3 modules to Vizag. The plan was to have the barge return back to Katupalli to load the next lot of 3 modules and return back to Vizag to discharge them. Once executed, the shipment would be completed within L&T’s timelines.

Proposed schedule
A single barge AF 250 with Tug Ivy
Sailing 7 Mar 23
Berthing 9 Mar 23
Loading / Lashing 10 / 11 Mar 23
ETA MFFK 2 - 5 Apr 23 – All going well (agw)/ weather permitting (wp)
Loading / Lashing 3 to 6 Apr 23
Sailing 7 Apr 23
ETA Visag 11 - 12 Apr 23 - agw / wp
Discharge / Unlashing 13 to 16 Apr 23
Sailing 17 Apr 23
ETA MFFK 21 to 23 Apr 23 - agw / wp
Loading / Lashing 22 to 26 Apr 23
Sailing 27 Apr 23
ETA Visag 1 to 3 May 23 - agw / wp
Discharge / Unlashing 2 to 7 May 23

Road transport in progress

The schedule was shared with the L&T Baroda unit, with a commitment to deliver the cargo before 30th Apr 2023 at Vizag jetty.

On being awarded the contract, the J M Baxi Heavy team started planning how they would achieve the committed delivery date, and better it by reaching earlier. The most critical part of the operation was turning around Sri Lanka, where the tow tugs and barges normally face very strong currents and winds. The marine team prepared a chart of its travel plan and expected times of turning around Sri Lanka, so as to avoid the full moon / new moon as the weather gets rough during that period. It was decided that the barge and tug would halt just off the Indian coast before crossing around Sri Lanka, and then stop after crossing Sri Lanka to confirm that the tow was in shape for the rest of the journey.

The operation went as per schedule and the tow arrived at Katupalli on 31st March, about 3 days ahead of schedule. The J M Baxi Heavy transport team had already arrived at Katupalli earlier and was prepared with safety inductions and all the materials needed for mooring. At that point in time, the team was suddenly told that they would need to turn the barge around, within 48 hours so that the operation could be sped up. The L&T Jetty in Katupalli were expecting a vessel and hence were advised to finish the operation within 72 hours. The team planned the loading and within 24 hours, both the modules were loaded and lashing was completed the next afternoon. And with that, the vessel sailed in less than 48 hrs.

Since the voyage to Vizag takes four days, the team immediately planned the operation so that the stay in Vizag could be reduced to 2 days from the original 4 days. On arrival of the barge, the team were ready with axles and aligned to roll-off all 3 modules within 12 hours. With precise planning, the activity was completed and the barge sailed back for its second voyage to Katupalli to load the next lot of 3 modules.

Buoyed by the success of the first trip and the roll-off achievement, the team was now planning to load the three remaining equipment at Katupalli within 12 hours – a feat not achieved so far.

Meanwhile, the team in Mumbai began planning, and all the modules were transported close to the jetty and kept prepared so that load-out could be completed in 12 hours. The teams were briefed of expectations, and a clear responsibility to achieve this task was communicated.

As the barge arrived, it was decided to berth it in the mediterranean position so that roll-on could commence at the earliest. The team were all aligned and with support from the L&T Katupalli team loading all 3 modules was achieved within 24 hrs. The vessel was immediately prepared with lashing and set sail to Vizag for discharge. Once again the team was able to discharge the 3 modules in Vizag within 12 hrs.

Marine transportation in progress

J M Baxi Heavy delivered all the 6 modules on 24th April 2023, almost 10 days ahead of its schedule and 6 days before the L&T deadline.

Key things that helped achieve this task

  • Voyage planning was done in conjunction with the identified port of calls
  • Dates were identified and the list of possible obstacles were anticipated with troubleshooting measures in place
  • Teams were informed of their roles and timelines
  • Port teams were kept aware of the requirements for turning around the vessels as all loading would happen in the Mediterranean position. This would restrict port movement and hence was critical to avoid double port operations through proactive communication.

The team at J M Baxi Heavy through minute planning and agility, were able to reduce operation costs as port stays were reduced. Moreover, the use of a singular barge led to cost savings for the client.

Cargo loading on barge