A 143m long and 45m wide golden bridge that will connect Stockholm’s Gamla Stan island with Södermalm on the mainland has safely completed its voyage from China.

GAC Sweden was appointed to act as the local sub-agent for COSCO Shipping Lines Sweden, in charge of managing the delivery of the 3,700t, US$ 19.5m steel bridge from manufacturer China Railway Shanhaiguan Bridge Group’s plant in Guangzhou to Stockholm.

The bridge was welded to the two pontoons of the 227m long semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel MV Zhen Hua 33 for the journey. It was the biggest vessel ever to visit the Swedish capital – and its cargo exceeded the Stockholm Archipelago’s width restriction of 32.28m by more than 20m.

“Faced with a seemingly impossible task, we began by researching the ship’s specifications – engine power, rudder type, wind trap, bow and stern thrusters, and so on,” says Björn Fischer, deputy managing director, GAC Sweden. “This we then shared with the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) to enable them to create a model to find a way to handle the passage with the help of simulator technology. The results of that exercise were not ready when the MV Zhen Hua 33 left China on 2 January, as the first available simulation slot was less than three weeks before the ship’s estimated arrival in Stockholm on 17 February.”

The final conditions were challenging. Less than two weeks before the ship’s ETA, the SMA permit was received – with conditions: wind speed of no more than 10-12 m/s, minimum 1 NM visibility, daylight navigation and two pilots, and to time the passage through the busy waterway.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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