Building a large logistic centre for a major steel company is quite a challenge. But building one in the heart of an existing operational site adds another dimension altogether. It requires, at the very least, careful planning and meticulous co-ordination of all construction activities. “We expected contractors to provide a clear logistical construction concept for building the centre,” says Marco Boly, Deputy CEO of ArcelorMittal Centre Logistique Européen (AMCLE) at Differdange, Luxemburg. He explains how TCS managed to realise this project on time and within budget.
Meticulous co-ordination of construction activities
The 35-year-old Arbed beam storage area formerly called SML is a well-known landmark in Differdange. Nearby this storage area is the GREY mill which has been operated by ArcelorMittal since, the world’s largest steel producing company. The new logistic centre is the strategic storage for all of ArcelorMittal’s distribution sites in Western Europe, specifically Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium as well as the depot for the neighbouring GREY mill and the Belval mill, some five kilometres away.
Handling capacity increased to 1.5 million tonnes
The SML site used to be an open-air depot with three cranes, but was completely renewed in 2006 and 2007 by TCS to accommodate a daily handling capacity of 6,000 tonnes of inbound and outbound material. Now, 1.5 million tonnes of material is handled in the new logistic centre every year. The construction project included 17 storage halls with 12 new overhead rolling cranes, the transfer of 6 existing rolling cranes from the old AMCLE site in Pétange, plus a large lorry parking area. Work started in March 2006 and was completed in November 2007.
Single point of contact
“We granted the project to TCS because they offered a complete solution,” says Marco Boly. The TCS offer appealed to AMCLE for four reasons. First, TCS had a firm logistical construction concept and proposed to construct the building in a phased approach. Second, they had experience in the design and construction of storage halls including the overhead cranes for handling the rolled beams. Third, they were ready to act as a general contractor responsible for all parts of the project, including road building and railroad work. Marco Boly: “This way, we had a single point of contact for all construction activities because TCS not only hired subcontractors but they also accepted the associated risks and the responsibility for the co-ordination of the works.” Not least, the TCS offer was very competitive in terms of price and offered services.
Good communication on site
The construction of the new infrastructure was quite a challenge because the site remained operational during construction, and the project included the integration of a busy railroad track. This complicated the traffic requirements significantly for both operational activities and construction work. No wonder the traffic layout changed continuously during the course of the project.
The TCS Project Manager co-ordinated the activities of all subcontractors and suppliers and regularly informed the owner about the progress. He also communicated with local authorities and the railroad company. “With all these complicating factors, the project could only be completed on time and within budget thanks to an accurately detailed planning and a good communication on site,” says Marco Boly. “And we did not have a single accident during the execution of the project.”
With all these complicating factors, an accurately detailed plan and good communication on site were essential
Quick return on investment
The phased approach was vital to AMCLE because its major concern was guaranteeing sufficient storage and handling capacity from start to finish. First, the medium voltage power grid of the site was rerouted. Then the new halls were constructed and finished at the same time the existing infrastructure was dismantled. This meant AMCLE had a progressively increasing storage, handling and transport capacity at their disposal. “We saw immediately a significant return on our investment,” says Marco Boly.
AMCLE is the European logistics centre of ArcelorMittal, the world’s number one steel company. ArcelorMittal has plants in over 60 countries and has 320,000 employees worldwide. The logistics centre in Luxemburg operates the strategic storage of ArcelorMittal Distribution in Western Europe, and serves as a depot for the neighbouring plants in Differdange and Esch-Belval. AMCLE employs 86 workers and employees.
- 17 halls with a total amount of 75,600 m2 storage space.
- 12 new overhead travelling cranes.
- Integration of 6 existing overhead travelling cranes.
- 8,000 m2 additional parking space.