Port of Duluth receives record breaking shipment of wind turbine blades

Wind turbine blades being unloaded in the Port of Duluth-Superior. (Photo: Duluth Seaway Port Authority)

Duluth Cargo Connect, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s project cargo entity, received a shipment of wind energy cargo from Europe, including the longest wind turbine blades ever handled by the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Manufactured by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) based in Germany, the cargo, including turbine blades measuring 80-metre (or 260 feet), arrived in the midwestern state of Minnesota, USA, aboard the vessel Roerborg, last week. Built in 2014, and sailing under the Dutch flag, the Roerborg cargo ship measures 169.75 metres in length and 20.4 metres in width, with a carrying capacity of 23,000 metric tonnes DWT.

North America’s furthest inland port

Stevedores from Duluth Cargo Connect moved the blades from ship to shore using two different types of cranes. From the Minnesotan port, the cargo will be driven to a wind farm in Canada. Indeed, the Port of Duluth-Superior, located on Lake Superior, is North America’s furthest inland port, located at the westernmost tip of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence seaway system. The second furthest inland port in North America is the Port of Thunder Bay, which is in Canada.

Wind energy cargo

This shipment adds to the 2 million tons (approximately 1,814,369 metric tonnes) of wind energy-related components, handled by Duluth Cargo Connect since the port began receiving such cargo in 2006. The port has since strategically invested in support of this industry segment. As such, in 2020, the port received 525,000 tons (about 476,272 metric tonnes) of wind energy-related cargo, surpassing the previous record of 306,000 tons (about 277,598 metric tonnes) in 2019.

Author: Emma Dailey

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