With passage of federal legislation renewing tax credits for wind turbine projects, wind cargo imports are expected to increase in the first half of 2024, reports Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO for the Port of Galveston.
This means great business will get better for Galveston.
In a written response to questions from AJOT, Rees indicates that project cargo, particularly wind turbine components, is a major revenue and jobs generator at the port. In 2022, Galveston imported 1,078 turbine pieces with a total weight of 74,000 tons.
“We’ve been moving wind turbine parts through our port for more than a decade. As this sustainable energy industry has grown, so has the amount of wind turbine cargo we move,” Rees says. Galveston handles wind generation parts from major manufacturers, including General Electric, Siemens-Gamesa, Acciona-Nordex and Vestas.
Due to Galveston’s prime location, transportation infrastructure and experienced labor, the port is a primary point of entry for wind components from Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
The Port of Galveston, grantor of Free Trade Zone 036, is working with a private partner to designate three large parcels of property totaling over 40 acres as a free trade zone to accommodate large wind projects. This is expected to attract several wind-farm developers to Galveston to take advantage of the cost-savings related to the designation.
Rees tells AJOT that no special infrastructure is required to handle project cargo. The components are transferred from the vessel by ship cranes and shore cranes directly to truck trailers and rail cars.
He cites the following advantages for Galveston moving wind cargo by truck and rail to destinations across Texas and the Midwest:
- Located 45 minutes from open seas
- Serviced by two Class 1 railroads with some of the best clearances to get the large components to their destinations
- Direct, 10-minute drive to Interstate 45
- Experienced labor force consistently praised by our wind logistics companies
Critical truck and rail clearances on transportation routes from the port to cargo destinations
West Port Cargo Complex Expansion Plans
Rees indicates the port is excited about plans to improve and expand its West Port Cargo Complex in accordance with its 20-year strategic master plan.
Galveston is seeking state grants, along with port revenues, to fund roughly $50 million in waterfront improvements to expand docks and laydown areas. The port staff has already prepared engineering design and partial construction drawings for a 1,340-foot-long berth across two open slips in its cargo area.
Rees says that eventually, the port will fill two outdated slips and make other changes to expand the complex to 90 acres.
Galveston provides these 2022 cargo statistics:
- Bulk Grains – 730,000 tons
- Bulk Fertilizer – 229,300 tons
- Bulk Liquids – 2 million tons
- Fresh Fruit – 560,000 tons
- Roll-on/Roll-off – 440,000 tons
- Wind & General Cargo – 74,000 tons (includes 1,078 wind turbine pieces)