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One project has already been completed: the renovation of two emergency evacuation bridges that are there as an additional safety measure when explosive goods are being unloaded from the ships. Three different trades joined forces to make these 25-metre-long and a good 10-metre-high structures fit for the future: XERVON Instandhaltung (XERVON’s maintenance experts) managed the project, revamped the electrics, control technology and mechanics and installed new motors – all of which are needed so that the bridges can be adjusted to the height of the ships and the water level and then manoeuvred towards the deck. The group’s surface technology experts, XERVON Oberflächentechnik, removed the old lead-based coating from the metal surfaces before applying a high performance anti-corrosion system. XERVON’s scaffolding specialists took on the task of erecting and then enclosing the scaffolds needed so that all environmental and safety regulations were met – something that was of particular importance while the surface renovation work was being carried out.
The work was impacted by a number of factors as the harbour continued to operate as normal while the project was being completed. According to the port’s safety rules, only one bridge may be substituted by a safety boat at any one time which meant that the team were unable to work on both bridges simultaneously. ‘Safety first’ was also the motto of the day when ships entered the harbour. If a ship headed towards the quay to offload its cargo, then everyone had to down tools immediately until the unloading had been completed. It was not possible to predict the exact time that the ships would arrive either. What’s more, the unloading times varied according to the water level of the Rhine. In practice, this meant that the teams had to be extremely flexible and coordinate their tasks very closely.
As XERVON’s three divisions have collaborated together for many years and know exactly how the others work, the company is not only able to cope with such special requirements but also deliver top quality results. Indeed, it was commissioned with a follow-up project as soon as it had completed the bridge renovation work: at present, XERVON is renovating a platform that is located between the two bridges, where the cranes are placed to unload the ships – another stop-and-go project with the port’s operations continuing as normal while the platform is being renovated.