Exporting Wind Turbines to Brazil: Port of Duluth is North Dakota?s Global Gateway for Wind Energy

The Port of Duluth has become a strategic link in the global wind energy supply chain and, this week, 60 wind turbine blades manufactured in North Dakota are being exported to Brazil aboard the Dutch-flagged Alamosborg.

The 37-meter blades – manufactured at LM Wind Power’s plant in Grand Forks – began arriving in Duluth on tractor-trailers two weeks ago and have been staged at the port’s breakbulk terminal awaiting final delivery to Brazil for IMPSA Wind’s new CEARA II wind farm in Ceara, Brazil. Dozens of blades will be visible on the top deck of the 469-foot Alamosborg as she departs beneath the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge later this week. Current estimated time of departure is set for late Friday, June 29, with arrival in Brazil approximately three weeks from now.

"North Dakota is fortunate to have an international seaport close to our state,” said Andy Peterson, president & CEO of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. “Nearly 85 percent of North Dakota’s goods are exported around the world. In an era when we can help feed a hungry world with our agricultural commodities and fill the demand for manufactured products like turbine blades, we appreciate the access to global markets afforded by the Port of Duluth.”

IMPSA, a global leader in providing power generation from renewable resources, has made a huge commitment to the expanding Brazilian wind power market. “We decided to move these blades through the Port of Duluth due to its proximity to our manufacturer’s plant – LM Wind Grand Forks, North Dakota,” said Santiago Delfino, IMPSA Wind International Trade and Logistics. “Duluth has an excellent port infrastructure, spacious road access, expertise in handling oversized pieces and quite good storage conditions. IMPSA is 100% committed in the development of green projects, which comprises renewable energy such as wind power and hydro power. Duluth’s nearness helps us reduce our carbon footprint.” When complete, the CEARA II project will include 141 turbine generators (1.5 MW each); phase III is already being planned.

“This shipment is one of nearly 20 energy-related cargoes on the books for 2012 and our second shipment of blades from North Dakota to Brazil in recent years,” notes Jonathan Lamb, vice president and general manager at Lake Superior Warehousing Co. (breakbulk terminal operator for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority). “Duluth has moved well over a million freight tons of wind turbine components from and to Europe and South America since the port first started handling wind turbines in 2005.“

Strategically located at the western tip of the Great Lakes-Seaway trade corridor, the Port of Duluth has become a transshipment hub for industries that drive the regional economy including wind energy, steelmaking, forest products, and oil/gas production. In fact, Duluth was voted top port in North America last year by RICA (Railway Industrial Clearance Association).

According to Adolph Ojard, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director, “The expertise of Lake Superior Warehousing and our joint commitment to streamlining project cargo handling, makes this terminal very attractive to major manufacturers and logistics experts worldwide who consider the Port of Duluth an ideal gateway in and out of the North American heartland.”