Wind turbine blades delivered by rail

Paul Boughton

Global logistics provider SNCF Geodis and Vestas, the wind turbine manufacturer, have launched a concept in the transportation for wind turbine blades.

For the first time in Europe 55-metre long wind blades have been delivered by rail, from Germany to Denmark, generating significant reductions in transport time, costs and CO2-emissions.

“We took an innovative approach to lowering the cost of energy while at the same time reducing impact on the environment”, says Mette Heileskov Bülow, Transportation Chief Specialist at Vestas.

The first blade-by-train transport, consisting of nine wind blades went in less than 20 hours from Vestas’ production facility in Lauchhammer, Germany, to the port of Esbjerg, Denmark, mainly by electric railway. By road it would have taken 72 hours, involving 9 trucks accompanied by 18 safety cars.
SNCF Geodis and Vestas are about to design rail connections between Vestas’ production facilities, research centres, warehouses and erection locations throughout Europe.

Changing the mode of transport for the majority of these onshore wind turbine components in Europe in the near future will also reduce transportation cost – “already at this early stage we experience a reduction of up to 15 per cent”, confirms Mette Heileskov Bülow.

Pierre Blayau, CEO of SNCF Geodis, says: “This new transportation concept shows the beneficial strategic fit between SNCF Geodis and Vestas. Both our companies are role models for creating sustainable solutions in our respective industries.”

Going forward, SNCF Geodis and Vestas already plan to design rail connections between more Vestas’ facilities in Europe. The transport management will be provided by Geodis Wilson’s Industrial Projects division and its specialized oversize-rail-cargo unit STSI, together with Captrain, the European freight rail division of SNCF Geodis.

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