Tofte Pulp Mill Tofte Pulp Mill

Relocation of a pulp mill factory from Norway to Vietnam

Location: Norway–Vietnam (approx. 8,100 km)
Execution time: 12 months
Number of containers: 1,240
Weight of dismantled devices: 35,000 t
Number of ships chartered: 5 sea-going ships

As part of the project, a cellulose factory was relocated – a production plant that transforms woodchips into cellulose pulp later used for the production of fine paper. The entire relocation process took approx. 17 months. The dismantling and re-assembly process included, among others, relocation of a whole cellulose processing line, a huge regenerative boiler, production lines for drying cellulose pulp and water evaporation.
The biggest challenge of the project was the coordination of work related to shipping, crane works and delivery of raw materials, due to the fact that Norway is not in the European Union and every stage of works required numerous permits and certifications.


Size of the shipments was a big challenge – 1,400 sea containers were sent, on average 18 tonnes of equipment in each one of them. In order to illustrate the seriousness of such undertaking: if they were to be loaded onto trucks and put one behind the other, they would create an uninterrupted 23km long line of vehicles. During the work at Tofte in Norway, the same type of cranes as we used had a serious accident in Mecca in Saudi Arabia (on a different project of a different contractor). Therefore, the work had to be stopped for a few days to check its technical condition. Relocation projects are often carried out in many different countries and due to this fact, it is really important to respect local customs and traditions. Many long-term projects take place during holiday seasons and those are the crucial moments to pay respect to local habits and culture. A good example can be the project which took place during Christmas time and for that special moment an 80-meter crane was decorated with a big Christmas tree, which was an important symbol for the local community.

For over 18 years of work at Pol-Inowex, I have completed over 35 projects that I can define as mine. I have also participated in over 50 projects where I was delegated to perform various tasks as a supporting party (e.g. calculations or operations management). There are no two identical or even similar dismantling projects. Even the dismantling process of the same type of machinery in a company from the same industry, but in a different location, will automatically become a completely different experience (e.g. various technologies used owing to the climate specifics). Every project, no matter how similar to another, will entail specific conditions and needs that must be addressed in a very special and personalized way. Thus, in this industry there are no repeatable projects that can be easily copied – each case is unique in its own way. The location of the project itself often causes a lot of complications – there are situations where one screw of a given type is needed and the nearest hardware store is 2 hours away. At times like this, you simply have to wait and waste precious time. There are also various types of investors – some tend to prioritize machinery shipping, while others will look for savings everywhere and materials will be transported in the most economical way, usually much slower. Local residents also approach our work with various mindsets. In some regions, even in western Europe, a potentially peaceful, small village, where the relocated factory provides jobs for majority of the local population, our working site suddenly may become somehow a hostile environment, due to the perception of relocation, as taking away the local population’s jobs. In such cases, hiring additional security is a must in order to keep the staff working on relocation project safe and avoid delays. Local people change their attitude towards us only when the previous owner of a plant declared to build another hi-tech facility at the same spot
-Michał Makowski, Project Manager, Pol-Inowex


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