Netherlands Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine

Best Practice: Mammoet

Unique Dutch solutions to contain the Chernobyl Reactor

Every month, the Embassy presents an example of successful Ukrainian-Dutch cooperation in business. This month features Dutch industrial lifting and logistics expert Mammoet.

Introduction to the company

Mammoet was founded in 1971 in a merger of two Dutch logistics companies, the oldest of which dated back to 1807. Mammoet currently employs over 5,000 professionals worldwide. The company, which specializes in Heavy Engineered Logistics, is known for the unique capability of their state-of-the-art equipment. Among the best known feats of the company is the raising of the submarine Kursk.

Keys to success

In 2011, Mammoet started preparations on the jobsite of the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement (NSC). The NSC will contain the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl and will allow for future partial deconstruction of the reactor. To reduce the exposure of workers to radiation, a unique solution was needed: A 260 meter wide arch is constructed on a safe distance from the reactor and then placed over it.

The protecting arch is constructed on the ground as much as possible. After a section of the arch is constructed, Mammoet’s specialized equipment is used to lift the segment into place. This construction method limits worker’s exposure to radiation, because radiation levels are lower on ground level.

The company got involved in the project in an early stage: “The NSC project has been in the study phase for several years. During this time, together with the customer, Mammoet devised and evaluated many different scenarios and technical solutions,” says Kees de Rijk, commercial director at Mammoet Europe.

When asked about the factors that determine Mammoet’s success in Ukraine, Kees de Rijk points to the unique qualities of Mammoet: “Our success in the NSC project can be explained by the high quality standards Mammoet could guarantee. Another part is determined by technical aspects, there are not many companies with years of experience that can lift 17 thousand tons.”

Kees de Rijk does not think work in Ukraine is much more complicated than in the Netherlands: “Bureaucracy is everywhere; the only difference is that we better know our way around in the Dutch bureaucratic maze.”

In addition to the NSC project, in 2013 Mammoet has carried out a project on a plant of the French company Air Liquide in Enakievo. Mammoet also started work on the construction of container cranes in Odessa.

A word of advice

Kees de Rijk recommends teaming up with a reliable local partner. “Getting in contact with a reliable local partner can really help in issues related to business culture, the language barrier and knowledge of the market.”

For more information about Mammoet, visit the company website: