Port Taranaki’s ability to receive, lift, and accommodate a wide range of cargo is being highlighted by the arrival of wind turbine componentry to the port.
Yesterday (Sunday, 2 February), a vessel carrying ninety-nine 54.9m blades for Mercury’s under-construction ~$450 million wind farm at Turitea, in the Manawatū, docked at Port Taranaki.
The blades, which have been transported to New Plymouth from the Port of Taranto, in Italy, are being moved by a specialised heavy haulage vehicle to the Eastern Reclamation area of the port. From mid-March and over a period of several months, heavy haulage vehicles will operate at night to transport the blades to Palmerston North. This will match the civil works progress on the Turitea wind farm site.
In mid-May, the first of several shipments carrying a total of ninety-three 64m blades, 31 towers, and nacelle turbine units (the cover that houses the electricity generation components) are scheduled to arrive at Port Taranaki for Tilt Renewables’ $277 million Waipipi wind farm.
The components will also be transferred to the Eastern Reclamation area and stored, before being trucked over a period of several months to the wind farm site, which is between Waverley and Patea.
“Both these projects are very exciting and challenging for Port Taranaki,” Port Taranaki head of commercial Ross Dingle said.
“The cargo is out of the ordinary for our port, but it’s great that our facilities, assets, skills and expertise have been recognised as being of a very high standard and a great fit for this cargo.”
The vessels dock at Blyde Wharf, which has heavy lift pads that can support the equipment. A combination of ship’s cranes and the port’s twin mobile harbour cranes lift components off the ships and onto the heavy haulage vehicles, which transport the components to the Eastern Reclamation.
“We have two hectares of land at the Eastern Reclamation, which is perfect for large project cargo storage, such as this,” Mr Dingle said.
Aside from Port Taranaki’s facilities and logistics capability, Mr Dingle said the port’s proximity to both Turitea and Waipipi had been an advantage in securing the shipments.
“The large, specialised vehicles that transport the blades and componentry need a relatively direct route which doesn’t have tight bends and winding roads, so the road south from here works well.
“Logistics for the delivery of the Waipipi farm components are still to be finalised, but the blades for the Turitea project will be transported at night to reduce the impact on traffic flows out of the port, through New Plymouth and on the state highways.”
Mr Dingle said the work aligned with New Zealand’s move towards a low-emissions environment, and demonstrated Port Taranaki had an important role to play in providing services and facilities to enable that shift.
“We are traditionally an oil and gas port, and believe gas still has an important part to play in the transition to a low-emissions environment. As a key transport and logistics provider and community asset for the Taranaki region, it is our responsibility to support companies and industry in the transition.”
A wind turbine blade for Mercury’s Turitea wind farm is lifted from the BBC Amber on to a heavy haulage vehicle at Port Taranaki. The blades are being stored at Port Taranaki before being transported to Palmerston North over a period of several months.
Photo: Pip Guthrie