PROJECT CARGO HEAVY LIFT 2007 - Corpus Christi port moves Siemens wind energy units

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Maritime  International Trade  Ports & Terminals  

By Paul Scott Abbott, AJOTAs Port of Corpus Christi officials sought to land project cargo to keep the port’s Cargo Dock 8 busy, they found that the answer, was “blowing in the wind.”Global giant Siemens has moved 32 complete wind energy units through the Texas Gulf port since November and will transport many more such components through Corpus Christi as renewable energy endeavors continue to advance in the Lone Star State.
“The port is continuously seeking cargo opportunities, especially new cargo, and this project came at the perfect time,” said John Valls, marketing manager for the Port of Corpus Christi Authority.
Valls noted that Cargo Dock 8 has accommodated rapid, efficient moves of thousands of pieces of military equipment over the past four years, but it recently had been serving as a layberth for a single military ship – thus freeing up dock access for Siemens.
Furthermore, Siemens’ announcement of its plan to use the Port of Corpus Christi for moves of wind energy units came during the week after the State of Texas made a $10 billion commitment to renewable energy production.
Siemens is using the Port of Corpus Christi to support its wind energy projects in Texas, while the Port of Longview, WA, is used for the Pacific Northwest and the Port of Duluth, MN, is being utilized for moves of units headed into the Midwest, according to Clare Bertel, materials logistics specialist in the Orlando, FL, office of Siemens Power Generation.
“The Port of Corpus Christi is a superior port that offers many benefits, including adequate laydown space and the experienced stevedores of Gulf Stream Marine,” Bertel said. “The port is not congested, and we do not have to continually wait for an opportunity to berth our ships.
“Corpus Christi offers easy access to the interstate and minimal road traffic, unlike many of the larger ports in Texas,” she continued. “The road distance from Corpus Christi to our project sites in Central Texas may be somewhat longer than other ports, but not having to spend hours clearing the city makes travel time comparable.
“Most of all,” Bertel said, “the Port of Corpus Christi has friendly people who assist us to make what we need happen.”
The units that already have moved through Corpus Christi have headed by truck up Interstate 37 and onto one of two current Siemens projects, one near Amarillo, some 700 highway miles to the northwest, the other near Sweetwater, about 450 miles to the northwest. Bertel said the company is planning additional Central Texas wind projects for this year and 2008.
Siemens, a German firm that is one of the world’s largest and most respected companies in electrical engineering and electronics, entered the competitive wind power industry in 2004 with its acquisition of Danish wind turbine manufacturer Bonus Energy.
Components for the Siemens wind turbines, manufactured in Brande, Denmark, are shipped across the Atlantic on such multipurpose heavylift vessels as BBC Chartering & Logistic’s BBC California. Components for nine complete turbines typically move together on one vessel voyage, according to Bertel.
“Once the units are received in port, turbines are shipped out at the rate of one complete unit per project per day, five or six days a week,” Bertel said. “To move one complete turbine requires 15 truckloads consisting of eight standard truckloads and seven specialty loads.”
Each complete unit weighs more than 350 tons. Each turbine has three blades, each of which is 148 feet long, thus requiring use of a specialty extension trailer with a steerable rear. The towers are shipped on special Schnabel trailers that are bolted to the towers. The towers come in three sections, the heaviest being the 70-ton base and the longest being the top, at 113 feet. The heaviest piece of all, the nacelle, which houses all generating components at the top of the tower, weighs 96.5 tons and also requires special trailering.
Ruben Bonilla, chairman of the Port of Corpus Christi Authority, commented, “The Port

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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including [em]The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.[/em] A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.