There is a rush of shipments of super-sized cargo components in U.S. ports on the Great Lakes. These multi-million dollar shipments are for wind farms in the U.S. and overseas.
Over-sized cargo including wind turbines, blades and hubs are entering and leaving Great Lakes ports. St. Lawrence Seaway International Trade Specialist Tim Downey says wind energy has become a big business. He says several ports are seeing this over-sized cargo, including the port of Duluth-Superior. "Lake Superior Warehousing, the terminal there, receives wind components weekly it seems like. Only about three weeks ago, they shipped two ships to Brazil with wind blades."
Duluth Seaway Port Director Adolph Ojard says they have had a surge in wind energy components with about a dozen cargoes so far this year. "We've exported blades from Grand Forks, North Dakota; we will do four shiploads of exports to Brazil. We've had a number of good import cargoes as well with wind turbines and heavy equipment and machinery."
Downy says the reason for the rush is because wind energy production tax credits expire January 1st. Therefore, wind developers have a sense of urgency. "Their job is to get them in the ground and connected to the grid and they need to do that by the end of the year. That's why you're seeing a very strong season."
Downey says this "wind rush" may end, unless Congress extends the energy production tax credits beyond this year.