Air Cargo Quarterly
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Metro Ports handles 53-meter wind turbine blades in Galveston
Metro Ports provides stevedore and terminal handling services for Siemens Energy Inc.‘s export wind turbine blade projects through the Port of Galveston. Siemens plans to export 246 53-meter blades between May and July 2013.
These wind turbine blades, manufactured by Siemens in Fort Madison, Iowa, and destined for three wind projects in Brazil, are being transported via the BNSF Railway. Inherent in the movement of these longer blades is a complex transportation and logistics process that takes team work and proper coordination across multiple organizations to assure damage free results.
For example, the Port of Galveston rehabilitated and modified two existing rail track spurs and added two rail track spurs in order to accommodate oversized wind project cargo. The BNSF negotiated special clearances to ensure safe passage across U.S. mid-west rails, and Metro Ports utilized specialty trailers to increase and maintain control of the blades whiletransporting through the terminal.
Siemens’ 53-meter wind turbine blades are the longest blades ever handled through the Port of Galveston. A 53-meter blade covers approximately 60 yards, more than half a football field. Alone, one of these blades requires a handling trailer of approximately 125 feet, or 40 yards, long. The BNSF moves up to 33 of these massive blades on a single unit train.
The blades will be loaded aboard Intermarine, LLC’s chartered vessels. Intermarine is providing professional port captains who will oversee loading operations and interface directly with Metro Ports.
Metro Ports and the Port of Galveston officials are working closely with Siemens and the other transportation parties to ensure efficient and safe vessel loading operations.
“This is a great project for all involved Parties and the tremendous undertaking will clearly position Metro Ports to undertake even largerprojects,” said Metro Ports Director of Business Development Charles Tillotson.
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