A solid foundation
Qing Li Wang guides his visitors around the grounds of the Duyen Hai 1 power plant with a clear sense of pride. “Soon,” says the project manager with a smile, “we will generate electricity here for the first time – thanks in part to Holcim.”
Duyen Hai 1 is the first of three new plants being built by the Vietnamese government here on the Mekong Delta coast, near the city of Trà Vinh. While these projects are bringing much needed jobs as well as power to the rapidly developing area, construction has been anything but easy.
The plants are located on an alluvial plain between two of the Mekong’s major distributaries. It is a flat, watery land, dotted with rice paddies and shrimp farms, and fronted by the sea. “The soil here is wet and soft,” says Wang. “You cannot build large structures on it. Before doing anything else, we needed to stabilize the ground.”
That’s where Holcim comes in. Its Holcim Stable Soil (HSS) product has been designed expressly to shore up weak earth. As part of a method known as cement deep mixing (CDM), HSS can be used to create a foundation of stabilized soil columns under the ground – turning swampy mud into terra firma.
Wang works for Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute (GEDI), the Chinese contractor building Duyen Hai 1. He says HSS not only helped GEDI lay the foundation for the plant, it also allowed them to build other important below-ground structures, like the intake and outtake canals. “Holcim’s know-how and ability to deliver large quantities to the extremely remote location were key for us as well,” he adds.
“Holcim’s know-how and ability to deliver large quantities to the extremely remote location were key for us as well”Qing Li Wang
Project Manager at GEDI
For Holcim Vietnam, success on this major project required a concerted, firmwide effort. Its commercial team worked closely with GEDI on initial evaluations and the all-important trial mixes. Its consultants supported GEDI with technical advice. The production team ensured that volumes were increased to meet the project’s demands. And its supply-chain team tackled the complex delivery logistics.
This last was no mean feat, as Doan Minh Sang can attest. He is the captain of one of the tanker barges Holcim used to transport HSS from its Thi Vai cement grinding station to the site. Sang, who has been a captain for eight years, made the run regularly. That meant taking on product at the pier at Thi Vai and then making the 300-kilometer, three-day trip over inland rivers and canals to Duyen Hai, before returning for more. In this way, Sang and his colleagues delivered some 150,000 tonnes of HSS to the project, including over a crucial two-month period during the stabilization phase.
Back at Duyen Hai, Wang explains. “We had planned four months for the stabilization but delays left us only two, which meant we needed a supply of more than 1,000 tonnes of HSS per day. In spite of the rainy season, Holcim delivered – on many days supplying nearly 1,300 tonnes from both Hon Chong and Thi Vai plants. In China, where I come from, Holcim is famous for its products and services. The company really lived up to its reputation on this job.”