POSCO Engineering & Construction has branches in 37 countries. For the past ten years, we have also been writing the Polish chapter of POSCO’s history. Between 2013 and 2016 we built an ecological waste incineration plant in Cracow, and since 2021 we have been implementing the expansion and modernization of the Solid Urban Waste Disposal Plant in Warsaw (ZUSOK). POSCO E&C belongs to POSCO Group, which is one of the largest steel producers in the world and the third largest company in South Korea. Read more about our company and work culture in the article published in Business.PL magazine. In the picture, Tony Kang – project director / photo: Hong Min Kim.
Interculturalism enriches business
Warsaw and Seoul are 7,736 km apart, but this did not stop South Korean POSCO Engineering & Construction from developing its operations in our country, Poland. The company has branches in 37 countries and has been present in Poland since 2012. Between 2013 and 2016, it built an ecological waste incineration plant in Krakow, and since 2021 it has been working to expand and modernise the Solid Municipal Waste Treatment Plant in Warsaw (so-called ZUSOK plant). POSCO E&C is part of the POSCO Group, which is one of the largest steel producers in the world and the third largest company in South Korea. POSCO stands out with the creativity of its engineers, the use of advanced technologies, and a comprehensive approach to task implementation, as it specializes in delivering turnkey projects – from design and construction all the way to acceptance tests. Tony Kang, director of the project currently underway in Warsaw, told us about POSCO E&C.
Polish chapter in POSCO’s history
The origins of POSCO Group goes back as early as 1968 in South Korea with steel production. At the dawn of the 21st century, the company changed its shareholding structure from public to private-public. The Group’s key business areas are steel production, construction, trading activities, energy, and information and communication technology. Its strong position in the global market is evidenced by, among other things, being ranked as the world’s top competitive steel producer for eleven consecutive years and 35th most sustainable company according to the Davos Forum in 2017 (“Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the World in 2017”). POSCO E&C carries out engineering and construction work on behalf of its parent companies and commissioned projects such as utility buildings, power plants, environmental facilities, or steel mills. The Polish branch of POSCO E&C was established in 2012 to construct the Waste Thermal Treatment Plant in Krakow. The project, which is part of the Waste-to-Energy (WtE) program, was implemented under the EU Cohesion Fund. After the Krakow plant was launched, the company was looking for more WtE projects in Poland. In 2020, it won the tender for the general contractor of the project titled “Expansion and Modernisation of the Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Plant in Warsaw”, with a net value of PLN 1.6 billion. Tony Kang, responsible for project implementation, highlights that Poland underwent enormous development and has a world-class level of Polish engineering in the field of environmental protection, which has influence on the conditions of contract delivery as well as the requirements set out for the contractor. Mr T. Kang says his experience tells him there is still great developmental potential and other benefits for Poland by implementing further advance-technology projects, such as a modern airport serving as a major European transport hub, increasing efficiency of power plants, or using renewable energy sources beyond basic infrastructure.
One step ahead of the competition
POSCO E&C’s business is based on three main divisions, namely: construction, industry, and infrastructure. The construction division includes urban development, design, engineering and construction of residential and commercial buildings, and even construction of entire cities (e.g. Song-Do city in Korea with an area of 53.36 km2). It is worth noting that five of the seven tallest buildings in South Korea were built by POSCO E&C, including the 410 m high LCT Residence, with 101 floors, in Busan city. The industrial division is ahead of the curve in constructing large specialized facilities – steel mills, power plants, LNG/LPG gas terminals, petrochemical plants, and coal gasification facilities. Worldwide, the company has already completed more than 40 such projects (including a $5 billion integrated steel plant in Brazil). The infrastructure division specialises in site preparation, road, rail, marine, and environmental projects. This is the division which built the waste incineration plant in Krakow (which is as of now the largest WtE project in Poland) and is the contractor for the expanding and modernizing the ZUSOK plant in Warsaw. This means the two largest WtE plants in Poland are POSCO E&C’s accomplishments. The company’s strong position on the global market is the result of a consistent development philosophy. POSCO E&C has built its competitive advantage on the basis of innovative solutions, quality management, and extensive experience. The company pays importance to sustainable development of technology, as it has its own R&D centre, where new technologies are being developed for the construction industry (e.g. lightweight concrete for bridges and structures, reinforced concrete technology), and where numerous patents have already been registered. It also has a network of partners with whom it carries out projects around the world, which means it is always one step ahead of the competition in terms of design, technology and workmanship. A stable financial position and a high level of business and social responsibility have made POSCO Group list in the USA and South Korean stock exchanges. In addition, high credit ratings (BBB+ by S&P and Baa1 by Moody’s) are a testimony to the management value of the organisation and predispose POSCO E&C to deliver projects with the highest level of responsibility.
Innovative and eco-friendly
POSCO E&C’s rich experience includes mainly world’s major global projects on a global scale, such as the CSP integrated steel plant in Brazil and the international city of Song-Do. The latter project additionally required advanced planning skills, as it consisted in creating an attractive business centre from scratch and included various solutions for a modern urban infrastructure. POSCO E&C’s pioneering projects date back to the 1980s, when the world’s largest steel plant, Gwang-Yang (21 million m2), was built in Korea. This was one of the more difficult challenges faced by POSCO engineers. As we mentioned, POSCO E&C is present in the Polish market thanks to the WtE project in Krakow. The thermal treatment technology for mixed waste applied there is one of the best eco-friendly methods for solving the waste problem in an integrated waste management system. Krakow green incineration plant has the capacity to transform 240,000 tonnes of municipal waste a year. It is used to produce electricity and heat, and as a result CH4 emissions which would normally be generated on landfills by waste are eliminated and CO2 emissions are reduced. Currently, the Polish POSCO E&C team is operating in Warsaw, where it is developing another WtE plant that will enable 305,000 mixed waste per year to be managed and reused as raw material for energy production. The project is to be completed in a short period of time and is technologically demanding as the works are carried out on an operational plant. Specialists from a wide range of disciplines were engaged to complete this project: civil engineering, architecture, mechanical, electrical and automation, project management and administration. The main task is to build two new process lines and modernise the existing one, which has been in operation for over 20 years, and to increase the plant’s capacity from 40 to 305 thousand tonnes of mixed waste per year. The expansion of the plant will bring many benefits to the capital’s residents – it will improve the waste management system, solve a number of environmental problems such as reduction of land and water pollution and increase in the amount of heat and electricity produced in an environmentally friendly way. One of the primary objectives of the ZUSOK plant project is to maintain the plant’s production continuity throughout the works, which entails lot of additional work to ensure that both processes – energy production and project works – take place in parallel and in a safe manner. POSCO E&C, as the contractor, entered the construction site in Warsaw in January 2021 and has 36 months to complete the work. Although challenging, the POSCO E&C team works methodically, relying on the extensive experience of specialists and good organisation of the implementation team. The Warsaw ZUSOK plant, developed in accordance with the BAT (Best Available Techniques) standard for engineering solutions, will be a cutting-edge and environmentally safe facility. In the design engineering phase, it was ensured that the plant blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. Construction is progressing according to schedule.
They work with the best
The POSCO Group was founded with public funds, and although there was later a transformation towards private capital, the spirit of working for broadly defined social development is still present in the company’s culture. The company has developed valuable business relationships and a client network of private companies, government institutions, organisations, and development funds around the world. In Poland, it operates as a contractor selected through public tenders, as this is the specific nature of WtE projects in our country. However, POSCO E&C’s plans include establishing partnerships with waste treatment, road, and airport infrastructure companies. The high quality of project delivery would not be possible without working closely with reputable suppliers and subcontractors. POSCO E&C’s main partner in the ZUSOK expansion and modernisation project in Warsaw is the company Mostostal Zabrze Group, the subcontractor for the building and construction works. The WtE project’s key components are the grate and boiler. The equipment required for waste incineration is manufactured by the German company Doosan Lentjes, part of the Korean Doosan Group. For the steam turbine unit, which generates electricity and heat from the heat recovered during waste incineration, POSCO uses equipment manufactured by Siemens.
Atmosphere for growth
Despite using highly advanced technologies, the success of the complex engineering projects carried out by POSCO E&C would not be possible without the “human element”. The company builds teams based on people’s expertise, specialized competences, experience and knowledge, and the characteristics of a particular project. In projects implemented in Poland, the harmonious cooperation between Korean and Polish specialists is something that stands out. Currently, 25 engineers from Korea and 75 Polish specialists are working on the expansion of the ZUSOK plant. The key personnel – contractor’s representative, site manager, BIM manager – are Polish engineers. Moreover, POSCO E&C is open to cooperation with graduates of Polish universities, creating opportunities for them to gain valuable work experience. Working on this project allows you to experience out-of-the-box technological solutions and project management tools, such as the Building Information Modelling 7D (BIM). POSCO’s organisational culture creates space for personal and professional development, establishing good relationships and working together in a climate of mutual respect. The intercultural environment is enriching, promoting creative thinking, and flexibility. Employees can count on additional medical care or subsidised sports activities. The workplace atmosphere is important, which is why team-building events are often held. Remote working is possible if required, and all security standards related to COVID-19 protection are maintained on site.
Building value together
The high quality of the company’s operations is objectively proven by certificates awarded to POSCO E&C by worldwide institutions, e.g. ISO, ASME, Korean Engineering & Construction Institute. The Polish branch of POSCO E&C is proud of the distinction in the category “public utility facility – other facilities” in the SARP 2015 Award of the Year competition, which was awarded by the Association of Polish Architects to the Thermal Waste Treatment Plant in Krakow for its significant architectural value and incorporating the facility into the local landscape. Finally, let us look closer at the mission of this Korean company, which has aptly found its way into the Polish market. It includes an approach to business and the wider environment. The POSCO Group wishes to bring added value to everything it does and to every environment in which it operates – “With POSCO” and “Building Value Together” are really not just empty slogans used for marketing communication, but are part of everyday practice. POSCO’s core values promoted worldwide are: safety, win-win, and creativity. The POSCO Group consistently emphasises the paramount importance of the development of society when carrying out business projects and trust as two core pillars of any relationship. In the company’s optics, sustainable development is based on humanistic values, and the aim of the carried out projects is to work for the growth of societies, not just to reap financial benefits. The company actively creates new jobs and engages in philanthropic projects.