One of the world's largest tunnel boring machines, destined for the
construction of a 4.05km long road tunnel in Kuala Lumpur, has been loaded on board Rickmers Singapore and is currently being shipped eastbound to the port of discharge, Port Kelang
. The massive tunnel boring machine (TBM) was built by Herrenknecht AG, which manufactures an entire range of mechanical tunneling machines in Schwanau, Germany
LS International Cargo, Bremen, an international logistics provider operating world-wide in sea-, air- and land transportation, is
responsible for the transportation of the entire project from ex-factory to the construction site in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The quay to quay transportation of the TBM lies in the hands of Rickmers-Linie, the
Hamburg-based global project liner and heavy lift specialist.
The TBM was carried from Schwanau down the Rhine to Antwerp by barge where the component parts were stowed on board Rickmers Singapore. The two heaviest pieces comprised the 13.21m diameter cutting head weighing 120 tons and another piece weighing 145 tons. There were additional items also weighing over 100 tons and with a width of up to 7.20 meters.
A remarkable feature of the tunnel, upon its completion, will be its dual function. Most of the time, it will relieve the heavy traffic caused by cars and trucks and in this respect will function as a normal road tunnel.
However, when the seasonal monsoon rains fill the valleys surrounding Kuala Lumpur with an enormous quantity of water from November until March, the tunnel can be closed for traffic during very critical situations and be transformed into a stormwater tunnel to alleviate flooding risks in the city.
Rickmers Singapore is one of nine new vessels being built by Rickmers-Linie for its Pearl String Service, providing sailings every 14 days eastbound around the world linking Europe, Asia and North America. The vessels' relatively high speed of 19.5 knots allows short transit times and punctual arrival dates while it simultaneously offers flexibility by enabling ports to be added on inducement, eg, Port Kelang as in this case. Eight of the ships are now in service and the new fleet will be complete when Rickmers Genoa is handed over to Rickmers-Linie in late February 2004.