News Release from American Clean Power Association


Wind Industry Profile of

AWEA - Special report: transportation & logistics issues bubble up

“Everyone in the wind transportation or logistics industry should get involved in the group.”

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As wind farms continue to sprout up across the U.S., so does the need to mitigate logistical challenges associated with transporting turbine parts and material components to project sites. At the first-ever AWEA “Transportation & Logistics Summit” held this week, industry experts met to begin the process of addressing the needs of this market segment.

Illustrating the importance of moving components along the supply chain, nearly 50 people attended the first official Summit, held by the AWEA Transportation & Logistics Working Group (TLWG) on March 23 in Little Rock, Ark. in conjunction with the Supply Chain Workshop (see related story). The Summit brought together participants from all parts of the wind energy industry, with the stated goal of leading efforts to eliminate or minimize transportation and logistical challenges.

“The TLWG is an important collaborative where the industry leaders come together to find solutions,” said Valerie Harris, director of marketing for the Port of Longview, Wash. “Everyone in the wind transportation or logistics industry should get involved in the group.”

Co-chairs Vikash Patel from GE Energy Logistics and Nikhil Amin from Trinity Logistics Group led the Summit attendees in a dialogue on key issues facing the industry, which were selected from a total of 25 pressing items previously identified by AWEA business members in the TLWG. “Each issue had been organized, prioritized and assigned to a member of the working group,” explained Tom Maves, AWEA deputy director of manufacturing and supply chain services and TLWG facilitator. “Each owner did analyses in advance of the Summit, allowing participants to formulate solutions and develop an action plan, in person, to address each challenge the sector is facing.”

Moving forward, the TLWG is now focusing on seven key issues on which they will gather data and consensus, and then draft a proposal for review by the broader group:

State permitting: uniformity and consistency. State routes and regulations are not consistent from one load to the next, without apparent reason. This causes potential risk to service, costs, and inconsistencies for driver expectations.

Driver shortage. The economic downturn has created a significant reduction in available trucks and drivers, and it is expected that the shortage will continue through the coming years as added regulatory requirements are being imposed on drivers and trucking companies. Studies indicate that the industry will need to hire 400,000 drivers by the end of 2011 in order to keep up with development needs; one million drivers will be needed in the next 15 years. The TLWG devised a wide range of suggestions for addressing the driver shortage, including promoting the development of training programs, offering scholarships, and working to understand potential regulatory barriers.

Manufacturing & equipment. Equipment that can transport the next generation of component parts, such as longer blades and wider towers, will be a necessary hurdle in the future for this market segment. The TLWG will work to provide guidance to all OEMs on transportation requirements and needs.

Engineering logistics for optimized equipment utilization. While manufacturing processes have been effectively engineered, the logistics leg of the supply chain—i.e., origin manufacturing to pad site destination—is not always effectively or consistently considered or managed for optimized equipment utilization.

Waterways. Waterways are not currently optimized for wind energy component delivery due to unknown physical constraints and port locations and capabilities.

Green solutions. Developing a “green” supply chain solution for the wind energy industry involves developing a correlating proactive and consistent green logistics solution, factoring in all modes of transportation to create the most efficient and green end result.

Ports. Managing challenges, such as sufficient laydown areas, infrastructure limitations, lifting and transfer requirements, and qualified labor, are parts of a logistical strategy that have to be fleshed out in order for wind turbine components to be delivered safely through ports.

The AWEA Transportation & Logistics Working Group will meet again in Anaheim, Calif. as part of WINDPOWER 2011. For more information about joining the working group or meeting, please contact AWEA Deputy Director of Manufacturing and Supply Chain Services, Tom Maves at tmaves@awea.org

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Posted by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, wind power, wind turbine, onshore, offshore, windmill, www.windfair.net, Trevor Sievert, ECA

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