Investments in handling of wind turbines

Port of Uddevalla has built up close cooperation with most major wind turbine manufacturers over the past fifteen years, such as; Siemens Gamesa, Enercon, Nordex and Vestas. We discharged the very first rotor blades here in Uddevalla in 2006. Since then the development has been astonishing and up until today we have handled hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines parts over the quays in our port.

The first rotor blades we handled were only around 30 meters long. With time the rotor blades has grown longer and longer and today we handle rotor blades that are around 75 meter long. However, it will not stop there. We are preparing to handle rotor blades with a length of over 80 meters in the coming years.

The wind turbines are transported on the vessels divided in to several sections, to be manageable for loading and discharging. As the rotor blades ha grown longer, the towers becomes taller and the nacelles (generators) becomes more powerful, the various parts of a wind turbine also becomes heavier. The heaviest tower sections and nacelles weighs over 90 tons each. This, of course, places great demands on both our staff and on the equipment we use to lift and move the various parts between the different areas of the port.

Handling of wind turbines is one of the main reasons to why we have made such large investments, in new port cranes, machinery and equipment, in the recent years. One of our new port cranes has a lifting capacity of 100 tons, which enables us to handle discharging and loading of all sections. Recently we also purchased a reachstacker/container truck, which was built especially for handling project cargo. This truck also has a lifting capacity of 100 tons. In addition to above already mentioned, we have also invested in several new terminal wagons with a loading capacity of 100 tons, two custom-built tow truck systems to be able to transport the tower sections within the port area. Many of these investments have been made by us specifically to meet the demands of the wind power industry and to handle their products. However, most of our investments also benefit our other customers and other goods handling in the port. This is something we find very positive.

It requires access to large storage areas to be able to handle wind turbines in a port. There is usually very limited storage space on the sites, where the wind turbines are being built. Therefore the parts need to be stored with us at first and be delivered from us continuously, as the wind turbines are built. The parts are delivered either by truck or by smaller vessels.

Our good storage conditions enable us to receive large ocean-going vessels, loaded with large volumes and complex compositions of wind power components. At the Sörvik terminal alone we can offer storage facilities for wind power on an area of ​​70,000 m². If needed, in addition to Sörvik, wind turbines are also managed and stored at Skeppsholmspiren.

In recent years it has become more and more common that the goods are loaded onto smaller vessels for further transport to one of Vänern's ports, after first having been stored with us. During this year we will load a total of 176 tower sections, on 31 occasions, aboard smaller vessels in Port of Uddevalla. These vessels goes from us via Göta Älv and Trollhättan, on to a port in Lake Vänern. The goods will then only need to be transported a short distance by truck to the final destination. Transferring this goods from our roads to our internal seaways reduces the load from heavy traffic on our road network. By using our internal seaways for transports, also means more environmentally friendly and cost-effective transports for our customers.

Each manufacturer and each wind turbine model has its own special instructions and requirements for how their goods should be lifted, handled and stored. With many years of experience, our professional staff has very good expertise about this special handling. We feel confident that we can offer our customers a safe and flexible service when it comes to handling wind turbines, after 15 years of handling them in our port.

During 2019 a total of 42 complete wind turbines were handled in Port of Uddevalla and during this year we plan to manage 67 wind turbines.

Click on the video below to see more from our handling of wind turbines .