In recent years the port operator Oy Blomberg Stevedoring Ab has invested heavily in project cargo handling. To date, major export companies in Vaasa have especially benefited from the opportunities brought by this investment. Now imports destined for wind farms under construction on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia are also contributing to the increasing volumes.
Component size poses a special challenge
Imports of wind power plant components at Vaskiluoto got under way last year. In early autumn of this year components for five wind power plants at Svalskulla, Närpes, were shipped via the Port. Later this autumn, ten shiploads of components headed for a 16-unit wind farm under construction at Torkkola, Vähäkyrö, will arrive in Vaasa. Lifting the components and loading them onto transport carriers is the responsibility of Blomberg Stevedoring. According to Sakari Mäki-Fränti, managing director of the company, handling of the wind power plant components places special demands on staff and equipment alike.
“Component size is the main challenge faced in wind power projects. Blades can be 60-70 metres in length and tower elements as long as 40 metres. The components also represent substantial mass; the nacelle of a wind turbine may weigh more than 100 tonnes. The lifting involved with components of this size is extremely demanding and always requires the simultaneous use of two cranes,” explains Mäki-Fränti.
“Despite the degree of difficulty, both lifting and moving proceed smoothly thanks to our staff, who have learned to handle even the most demanding cargoes over the years,” says Mäki-Fränti.
Port resources ready for growth
Growth in project traffic at the Port of Vaasa is the result of joint efforts and investments by the Port Authority, the City of Vaasa and Blomberg Stevedoring. Over the years new, heavy-duty crane and handling equipment has been acquired, new storage capacity has been built at the Port and field areas have been expanded with the requirements of wind power plant projects in mind. Thanks to reinforcement of the bridge to Vaskiluoto last year, heavy unit goods can now be transported to and from the harbour.
According to Sakari Mäki-Fränti, the Port of Vaasa now has the necessary resources. There will also be sufficient demand for the staff’s project know-how in the future. For the time being, wind power plant projects in particular will continue to account for a substantial share of the cargoes.
“There’s an obvious wind power boom in Finland at the moment. At the end of last year there were 211 wind power plants with a combined capacity of 448 megawatts in our country while new wind power projects accounting for more than 10,000 megawatts have been announced. This will probably mean many more shipments to Vaasa because of the especially large number of new power plants scheduled for construction on the Ostrobothnian coast of the Gulf of Bothnia,” predicts Mäki-Fränti.
The Vähäkyrö wind power park will be one of Finland’s largest
When completed, the Torkkola wind power farm at Vähäkyrö will be one of the largest in Finland. Built for EVP Tuulivoima Oy, the project will cost in the neighbourhood of 100 million euros. In all, it will comprise 16 wind power plants with a combined capacity of 52.8 megawatts. Annual production of the wind power park will be equivalent to the energy needed by 10,000 family homes. The wind power plants will be erected in late autumn and the park is scheduled for completion by June 2015.
EPV Tuulivoiman nettisivuilla oleva havainnekuva.
The wind power plants, which will rise to a height of nearly 200 metres, will be built in a 1000 sq. hectare area. Altogether as much as a million kilos of steel and 1200 truckloads of concrete have been used in their foundations.