A Tight Fit At The End Of An 442 Km Journey

By 2017, 90% of Lao PDR’s population gained access to electricity—a significant jump from 15% in 1995. Making the cost of the initial electricity connection affordable for the poor has been crucial to this success, leading this country on the rise. Power to the Poor Program piloted by the Rural Electrification Project (Phase 1 and 2) in Lao PDR. The program provided poor households with interest-free loans that enabled them to obtain a connection to the grid and wire their dwellings. Households headed by women were a focus of the program.

Supporting power infrastructure and growth ambitions, the Laos government financed by World bank invest heavily in hydro power. PPL was asked to execute a two-phase port-to-foundation project for Laos government that ultimately improved the lives of thousands of Laotians.

In phase one, PPL was commissioned to move 4 of 8 transformers to Lao’s Saravan Upper Power Station, a major hydro-electric facility, powering over 20 % of Lao’s homes and lives. In phase two, the final 4 transformers were transported and installed. The journey covered 442 km from the Vung Ang port in Ha Tinh, Vietnam, cross border to Saravan in Laos.

Based on the experience in the project’s first phase, PPL thought it possible to save time by optimizing the route – especially over border crossings, where most delays can happen. Following an extensive route survey, the logistics team chose an alternative entry point via Hong Van. This meant only one border crossing compared to three crossings in the first phase and, hence, more control over the project timeline. At Co Tai, the transformers had to be taken to their installation point, 221 kilometers inside the mountain.

Offloading and lay down required careful planning and absolute precision – space was limited and at certain moments there was only ten centimetres of overhead clearance. To optimize the operation, a detailed plan was made to position each transformer during each stage of the exchange process. As there was no storage in the main hall, it was one transformer out, and one in, in a delicate operation. A tailor-made lifting frame enabled the slings supporting the transformers to be set straight, making the lift safer.

The new transformers were ushered into place, pulled by a truck into the transformer hall to their final cell. Ultimately, the transformers were installed smoothly and without a hitch. Power up gave Laotians a much greater and more reliable electricity supply, and the country is now set for the next phase on its growth trajectory.

10 crawler crane 110T
50 prime movers 12 axle lines
4-point lift system
20 PPL professional

Download: Laos Saravan 2017


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