Volvo Penta helps power Nibulon’s global grain empire

At the heart of Nibulon’s global grain empire are the hardworking pusher tugs; these robust vessels, which are currently in operation and under construction, are equipped with Volvo Penta engines, and will help move Nibulon’s internationally exported foodstuffs up and down Ukraine’s major waterways.
Global grain producer, investor and exporter Nibulon is a leading supplier to Ukraine’s domestic agricultural market. As an industry leader, transportation is a logistical priority, and one that Volvo Penta is aiding with the use of its D16 diesel engines.

Nibulon’s global status means that, in very recent history, the company has been able to build its own fleet of tugs, as well as its own shipbuilding and repair yard in the Ukrainian city of Nikolaev. Working alongside design bureaus POSS Torola and Sydocomposit, in just a few short years Nibulon has become Ukraine’s largest fleet owner of Volvo Penta-powered boats.

“Nibulon has discovered the enormous benefits that transporting goods via waterways can yield,” Oleg Perestyuk, manager of Volvo Penta Ukraine, explains. “Moving grain using pusher tugs instead of lorries not only cuts fuel costs but is a far more efficient system.”

Powered by Volvo Penta
Nibulon’s latest design is the 121 pusher tug, a highly efficient vessel used to push barges and other floating objects on Nibulon’s aquatic transport routes in Ukraine. They are equipped with two Volvo Penta D16 MH diesel engines, and two Volvo Penta D5 MG diesel generator engines.

“The River Yuzhny Bug is, in parts, only 1.5 meters in depth,” Oleg notes. “Because of this, the decision was made to fit the tugs with lifted sterndrive propellers. As a consequence, the engine room actually had to be located on deck with the diesel generators below, making this a unique vessel and the first of its kind in Ukraine.”

Facilitating grain transportation is the tugs’ main function –– it was essential for POSS Torola to select small engines to ensure maximum space for on-board working areas. Fuel consumption and efficiency were also important; a large competitor engine will still produce the same amount of horsepower as a Volvo Penta engine, but it will also be less fuel efficient. In terms of the size to output ratio, the Volvo Penta engine was ideal.

A European partnership
Customers like Nibulon seek out equipment providers who can offer a complete package, instead of just a specific part; this reduces contact to one or two people and makes the design, sales and build process easier.

“Although this initially put Volvo Penta at a disadvantage,” Oleg admits, “we were able to work closely with one of the largest transmission manufacturers in the world, ZF Krimpen, to present a complete engine and transmission package to Nibulon.

This took a lot of organization between Volvo Penta and ZF; once the paperwork was signed, it became a comprehensive cross-border activity spanning from the Netherlands and Sweden to Ukraine.

Six of these specially designed 121 boats are already in production, with six more scheduled to be built in the Nikolaev shipyard by 2016.

Download high resolution image >>