Duluth port hits 1 millionth ton of wind turbines shippedAlmost unnoticed, Duluth passed a milestone this summer — surpassing the 1 million-freight-ton mark of wind turbine components shipped through the port.
By: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune
Almost unnoticed, Duluth passed a milestone this summer — surpassing the 1 million-freight-ton mark of wind turbine components shipped through the port.
Officials with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and Minnesota Power will hold a media briefing today about the industry as the latest shipment of wind turbine components is unloaded at the Clure Public Marine Terminal. The BBC Jade arrived in Duluth early Thursday carrying nearly 4,000 freight tons of wind turbine components from Denmark bound for Minnesota Power’s Bison 1 Wind Energy Center in North Dakota.
The first shipments of components for Bison 1 moved through Duluth last year. Another shipment is expected in early November.
“We are especially pleased to be handling these two shipments for Minnesota Power, a company headquartered here in Duluth and committed to serving Minnesota,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.
Duluth handled the first shipments of turbine components in 2005. Since then, most of the components have been inbound from European suppliers for wind farm projects as far away as Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Ontario. But the port has also handled outbound components — turbine blades manufactured in North Dakota bound for Spain, Brazil and Chile.
Lake Superior Warehousing Co. Inc., which has operated the Port Authority’s Clure Public Marine Terminal since 1991, handles the loading and unloading of the components.
“We have an exceptional intermodal facility here in Duluth,” said Jonathan Lamb, Lake Superior Warehousing general manager. “We sit at the intersection of three major highway corridors and are served by four Class I railroads, so we can provide customers multiple options for direct transfer of project cargo from ship to truck or ship to rail.”
Duluth handled 34,080 freight tons of wind turbine components in 2005. The port’s peak year was 2007, when 305,265 freight tons passed through the port. So far this year, the port has received 84,469 freight tons.
The decline coincides with the growth of the domestic wind turbine manufacturing industry. Ojard expects shipments of wind turbine components through Duluth to remain fairly level as long as wind power is economically feasible.
“Because of our strategic location and the experience of our work force, the Port of Duluth remains a vital link in the global wind energy supply chain,” he said.