SSAB’s steel piles help Port of Gdańsk to jump up on the podium
A crane moves a huge steel pile to the waterline of the future harbor wharf in Gdańsk, Poland. The pile is placed in a perfectly vertical position. A vibro hammer and then an impact hammer press it down several meters below the bottom of the canal. The new wharf at the Port of Gdańsk will be operational next year.
For Dariusz Gurzyński, a crane operator and a foreman of a team of seven workers, it is his first time working with steel piles from SSAB.
“They are of excellent quality, which helps a lot – all the more since the environment here is quite difficult and there is not much margin for mistakes,” Gurzyński says.
Work on the new wharf started in December 2018 with soil improvement and the installation of CFA bored piles by subcontractor Keller Polska, Sp. z o.o. The most important and difficult part of the work started in February 2019 with the installation of a combi wall consisting of SSAB’s RR900 steel piles combined with sheet piles.
“The steel piles from SSAB were chosen for one main reason: their quality,” says Tomasz Rybarczyk, group sites manager with Keller Polska, which is responsible for soil improvement and constructing the combi wall. “They are crucial for the future stability of the quay. The high quality of the components also translates to a safer work environment.”
Another important feature spoke for the choice of SSAB’s steel piles: the company delivered them with pre-welded E21 interlocks, used for connecting steel piles and sheet piles.
“The standard procedure includes the installation of the interlocks on the piles at the construction site,” says Rybarczyk. “Which is difficult, time-consuming and extremely vulnerable to weather conditions such as rain.”
Bartosz Michalski, a construction manager with the general contractor Budimex, appreciates the products from SSAB and the cooperation with the company.
“We have chosen a rather unusual solution – steel piles from SSAB and sheet piles from another supplier,” Michalski says. “And so far, it has worked very well. The 437 piles were shipped from SSAB’s Oulainen Works in Finland directly to the wharf in six tranches, which made it easier for us to precisely follow our schedule. All this, combined with superior quality and a competitive price, makes our cooperation excellent.”
The wharf at the Port of Gdańsk is currently Budimex’s largest construction project, and it is the first time the company has cooperated with SSAB.
“And definitely not the last time, I believe,” Michalski says. “If we have similar projects in the future, we will surely consider cooperation with SSAB.”
When Keller completes its part of the project in two months, Budimex will continue with steel and concrete work, followed by the installation of cranes and other harbor equipment.
At the same time, the canal will be dredged and deepened from current three to five meters (10 to 16 feet) to 11.5 meters (38 feet), which will enable cargo ships up to 250 meters (820 feet) long to enter the harbor. The wharf will be universal, fit for every type of cargo.
The new 1,220-meter-long (4,000-foot-long) wharf is scheduled to become operational in 2020, and it will enable further development of the Port of Gdańsk.
“We are currently number four on the Baltic Sea, with 49.1 million tonnes of cargo in 2018, an advance from number six only two years ago,” says Agata Kupracz, a press spokesperson for the Port of Gdańsk. “And with this new wharf and the next ones we hope to jump up on the podium, maybe by next year.”
SSAB steel used in the harbor construction
- RR900 steel pile elements, steel grade S440J2H
- Diameter: 914 x 18 mm (36 x 0.7 in)
- Length: 23.800 m; 26.300 m (78 ft; 86 ft)
- Total tonnage: 4,450.639 tonnes (4,906 short tons)
- Interlocks E21, pre-welded on the steel piles: 13,927 m (45,692 ft)