WIND ENERGY COMPONENTS PROVIDE BOOST
TO CARGO ACTIVITY AT PORT FREEPORT
FREEPORT, Texas – Entering its fifth year, movement of wind energy components through Port Freeport is providing the Texas Gulf Coast port with increased activity while supporting delivery of renewable power to hundreds of thousands of U.S. homes.
Last year, Houston-based BP Wind Energy joined Houston-based cargo specialist RBC Projects LLC as the largest users of Port Freeport’s facilities for movement and storage of wind energy components. They are among five firms utilizing those facilities, which now include 55 acres dedicated to storage and staging of the units.
The world’s largest single windmill tower shipment, imported from China, arrived at the Port last October aboard Clipper Windpower’s chartered vessel Port Melbourne. The vessel carried 128 tower sections, which equals 32 completed towers. A second shipment of 28 towers arrived at Port Freeport in January, which is the first shipment of cargo to be stored on the 20 acres of stabilized backland at Velasco Terminal.
When the wind energy shipments began through Port Freeport in April 2007, with RBC imports of units made in India by Suzlon Energy Ltd., about 5 acres at the Port were designated for such activity.
RBC Projects alone has handled more than $600 million worth of wind energy components into Port Freeport – units that combine to furnish the equivalent of power for 180,000 homes, according to Prasad Menon, president of RBC Projects.
“Port Freeport has been very supportive of our needs at the Port’s windmill terminal by creating innovative and cost-effective solutions,” Menon said.
Because of their weight, as many as 80 tons per turbine, and long dimensions, with blades of nearly 150 feet in length – wind energy components require expert labor and specialized equipment for their movement, in addition to ample space for laydown. Labor is provided for the moves by Gulf Stream Marine Inc., while Port Freeport’s own 100-ton-capacity Gottwald crane combines with Gulf Stream equipment and onboard ship gear to facilitate lifts. Specially fitted trucks and railcars have been involved in getting units to inland destinations.
“Port Freeport’s movement of wind energy components is good for Brazoria County and for the nation,” said Port Freeport Port Commission Chairman Thomas S. Perryman. “This activity supports local jobs while also bolstering the nation’s efforts to use ‘green’ energy.”
Port Freeport currently ranks 16th among U.S. ports in international cargo tonnage handled. With a current channel of 45-foot depth, soon to be widened and deepened, just 3 miles from open Gulf of Mexico waters, Port Freeport offers more than 7,500 acres for future development. Port Freeport serves its customers and stakeholders through development and marketing of competitive world-class navigational capabilities, technically advanced marine and multimodal terminal services and port-related industrial facilities while achieving profits and creating jobs as a leading economic catalyst for the Texas Gulf Coast. For more information on Port Freeport, visit www.portfreeport.com or phone 1-800-362-5743.