How to transport wind farming equipment

From the September 2011 issue.

Following the nuclear disaster in Japan, many countries are embracing renewable energy. In Europe alone, the offshore wind-turbine market is expected to grow by more than 40 per cent a year for the next five years, creating a not-so-ordinary freight task to transport the XL sized equipment needed.

Between Australia’s lush south and Germany’s harsh north, the tension is almost palpable. The transport industry is gearing up for a bright future - creating the infrastructure to transport pre-assembled rotor blades, hubs, nacelles, tower sections and foundations. The size and weight of today’s wind farming equipment has increased considerably in the past decade. The turbines can each now generate more than 3 MW, weigh over 100 tonnes and have blades more than 70 metres long. A single turbine can require up to eight loads; one nacelle, one hub, three blades and three tower sections – a major freight task in any language.

As a result, it is safe to say that general equipment availability and transport capacity will soon tighten up. In fact, experts around the world expect that demand for specialised transport equipment is likely to outstrip supply. Therefore, the smart money has already begun to jostle for shipping capacity and equipment has begun. The manufacturing industry is now offering high technology to cart up to 15,000 tonnes, but tends to keep its knowledge close to the vest as the wind farming market is a profitable, yet highly competitive one. Nonetheless, Global Trailer presents a roundup of what appears to be emerging globally in this up-and-coming space.

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