Heavylift / Breakbulk
Business on an upward trajectory
Wind farms are continuing to gain ground. In May this year Siemens received an order for a new Dutch offshore project that will be established in the North Sea, around 80 km from the Groningen coast. Although the 144 wind turbines, each with a 130 m rotor blade, still have to be produced in Denmark, there will be no lack of transport contracts in this field in future.
Markus Tacke, the CEO of Siemens Energy’s wind power unit, will not be able to fight off his increasing popularity in the heavylift industry. His company has some very favourable winds in its sails, given the continuing boom in offshore wind farms.
Whichever way the wind blows
At the beginning of September Siemens Energy received a contract to deliver 67 wind turbines for the Dudgeon offshore wind farm in Great Britain from two Norwegian energy suppliers, namely Statoil and Statkraft. As the new turbines’ rotor blades each measure 154 m, they will create orders aplenty for the heavylift shipping sector. Installation is slated to start at the beginning of 2017. The value of the order – including a five year service contract – amounts to nearly EUR 650 million. In July Siemens landed the order for the Dutch near shore Westermeer wind project, which encompasses 48 wind turbines with 108 m rotors that will be placed in the IJsselmeer. It is the first turnkey project for the German firm’s offshore business unit.
A multi-faceted sector
An order for 72 turbines for the Sandbank offshore wind farm was placed by Vattenfall in August. Construction work around 90 km west of the German island of Sylt will commence in summer 2015. Here the quantum rotor blades will be 75 m long.
In addition to transporting rotors, installing the platforms themselves is another activity for heavylift specialists. The Dutch enterprises Mammoet, Seaway Heavy Lifting and Dockwise, for example, recently worked in tandem and utilised an innovative method to install a converter platform in the North Sea. The SylWin Alpha power platform, which weighs 14,000 t and is 83 m long, 56 m wide and 26 m high, was moved from a pontoon to the legs of a steel jacket, using the float-over method. It was the first time that this process, which is standard in the Far East and America, was applied in Europe.
Construction and service overheads
The heavylift logistics sector has plenty of reasons to be confident about the future – and not only because of the offshore industry’s new plans. After the actual construction of a wind farm, the subsequent maintenance required must not be underestimated.
The technical approval authority at the Risø National Laboratory in Denmark recently reported that 15 offshore turbines broke down in three years. Most recently a turbine caught fire at the Cappaboy wind farm near Cork (Ireland) on 30 June. Two of the three rotor blades were damaged in the incident. So operational wind farms also offer the heavylift sector possibilities.