A thirty meter high tank was hanging in the ridge of a floating sheerlegs, on the water of the Nieuwe Waterweg. On these days, a total of six tanks travelled the route from tank builder SJR Group on Heijplaat to HES Botlek Tank Terminal (HBTT) in the Botlek harbour.

It all started in the production hall where the tanks with a diameter of 12 metres were welded together over the past few months, according to project leader Anne Vonk Noordegraaf of SJR Group. With a height of thirty metres, they only just fitted through the doorway of the warehouse.

Road transport of such dangers is not an option, so the transport is by water. This is accomplished with a 'floating sheerlegs', an extremely strong, floating crane. After that it is one and a half hour sailing to the HES Botlek Tank Terminal.


There, another special vehicle is waiting. The Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT), a gigantic trailer supported by endless wheels. When they arrive at their final destination, a crawler crane lifts each tank onto the foundation, after which they can be connected.

With the six new tanks, HBTT expands its tank capacity by 20,000 cubic metres in one go. This will give a total storage capacity of 510,000 cubic metres, states Coen Janssen of HBTT. The new tanks are necessary, due to the high demand for storage in the port. Especially for biofuels, for which these new tanks are intended.

The supply or transport takes place by ship, truck or train, after which they temporarily store the 'liquid bulk' for the customer. Subsequent transport is also by water, road or rail.

Special attention was paid to the storage of biofuels in the design of the tanks. They contain a heating coil, which prevents the contents from clotting. Now that the tanks are in place, SJR Group is starting the final part of the delivery, which is the connection and testing of the tanks. They do this with water, paying attention to leaks and misalignment, among other things.

When that process is complete, the tanks can be used.