TBM transport communication

In 2023, DB Schenker and Mostostal Warszawa carried out a nationwide record-breaking transport of a TBM machine used to excavate a tunnel on the S19 Rzeszów Południe-Babica expressway section. The OneMulti team was responsible for communication activities related to one of the largest transports ever carried out in Poland. 

The project was a triumph of team commitment and effective communication management in overcoming the gigantic challenge of transporting a tunnel boring machine (TBM). The machine arrived in Poland from Noblejas in Spain to excavate the first tunnel in the Podkarpacie region, approximately 2.2 km long, for which a consortium of Mostostal Warszawa and Acciona is responsible. 


 The heavyweight challenge 

Managing the communication of a large-scale road transport of one of the largest TBMs directly involved road obstructions and anti-crisis communication. Operating on a national and local scale, we were determined to find the best communication solutions, taking into account the sensitivities of drivers and local communities and emphasizing the positive aspects that could influence the overall public sentiment. 

The problem was heavyweight. The TBM was 4,000 tonnes to haul, with a disc diameter of 15.16m. The convoy spanned 4 km, travelled at 10 km/h on different types of roads (motorways, motorways, municipal roads), had 396 bridges and crossings to cross and could not always bypass city centres (e.g. when passing through Warsaw). 


How did we bite it? 

Our strategic objective was to create in the public space the image of a perfectly executed, one of the largest and most difficult transports, which traversed Poland in a safe and non-conflicting way, creating a harmonious road show, and to strengthen the image of the entities involved in the project. On the way to achieving the goal, we set two pillars of communication: information and education-event-entertainment. 

The choice of pillars was based on the strategic assumption to focus not only on the technical aspects of transport, which provide information about the current route and obstructions, but also on providing interesting facts and information to attract the attention of the local media. We wanted to create a road happening, building positive excitement through media and community engagement. 



We divided communication into two main strategic strands. The first focused on providing daily, localized, reliable information about the details of the journey and the difficulties along the route at specific times. Within the second strand, we focused on presenting the machine itself, its size and purpose: 

We regularly distributed press materials describing various aspects of the preparation of the transport (the way the route from Opole to Rzeszów via Warsaw was chosen), technical analyses (a description of the platform carrying the machine, constructed with the cooperation of scientists due to its unprecedented size and weight) or how the route was planned (e.g. the need to build a special motorway exit for the occasion). The materials we prepared were highly emotive. 

We invited the largest media (including Polsat, TVN, GW, regional media) to participate in the convoy. Journalists were able to see with their own eyes how to manage such a huge logistical undertaking on an ongoing basis and interview experts and people responsible for the direct execution of the transport. 

A competition to name the TBM machine was also launched during the transport project, after gaining interest in the public eye. A total of around 1,500 entries were submitted and evaluated by a competition committee. In the next phase, 9,000 people took part in an online vote. The winner was the name 'Karpatka'. 


Campaign results 

Our team's efforts have yielded tangible results: 

  • 3349 organically generated publications were produced, with a total reach of more than 84 million. TBM transport was covered in a positive and neutral tone (no negative sentiment) by regional media (e.g. Gazeta Codzienna Nowiny), national media (e.g. Auto Świat, Super Express, Fakt) or major TV and radio stations (e.g. TVP, Polsat, TVN, RMF, Eska). 

  • The verified AVE was estimated at over PLN 7 million. 

  • Thousands of people watched the ride live, standing along the route with their phones and banners in their hands (including "Welcoming the mole"). They actively promoted the ride, generating more than 6100 social media posts with a total reach of more than 19 million. The content that reached 14 million was classified as positive, while the negative reach was estimated at only 9531 and was mainly political in nature. 

Through an effective communication strategy, we were able to generate positive interest, create links with the local community and generate widespread positive media visibility for the brands involved in the project. 

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