GERMANY – DENMARK - EUROPE – Freight forwarding and logistics group Geodis Wilson has been patting itself on the back this week following the successful shipment of several 55 metre long wind turbine blades by rail. This is the first time rail cargo has been used in Europe to solve the obvious problems associated with the transport of such huge yet delicate pieces and results from a suggestion made two years ago by Henrik Funk, Global Manager for Wind Energy Projects at Geodis Wilson, Denmark when he proposed the idea of electrically powered rail transport to Vestas, the world's leading wind turbine manufacturer, as opposed to traditional haulage by road. The sheer scale of the project can be appreciated by watching the video HERE.
Funk realised that a green energy producing product should utilise the most sustainable methods of transport where possible whilst obviously keeping costs to a minimum. Vestas themselves were easily convinced having grown tired of the difficulties to obtain all the necessary pan European permits necessary for road haulage, particularly at peak holiday periods. Transit times are better with journeys often taking half that previously required. By getting French national rail carrier SNCF (owners of the Geodis Group) on board the freight agent was able to utilise that company’s specialist European freight division and own stablemate, Captrain.
The initial trips have involved shipping the giant blades from the production facility in Lauchhammer, Germany to the port of Esbjerg in Denmark, a journey which previously would have taken 72 hours, involving 9 trucks and 18 safety cars, instead the train between Lauchhammer and Esbjerg took only 20 hours. The innovative approach worked so well that SNCF Geodis and Vestas are now designing rail connections between Vestas’ other production facilities, research centres, warehouses and erection locations throughout Europe.
The German shipment travelled under the watchful eye of STSI, the specialized oversize-rail-cargo unit of the French logistics company garnering a 15% cost saving for customer Vestas and this latest venture is just the latest in Geodis Wilson’s support activities for the energy sector the company having already handled a record-breaking air freight shipment of 42 metre long wind blades from China to Denmark.