Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, one of the largest wind farms in South Africa, transported its final load from the Port of Ngqura to its site on 19 February 2014. The Project began transportation of these gigantic turbine components on 22 July 2013, completing distances of over 110 000 km in total. “This has been a huge undertaking and we would like to thank the public for their patience and support over the last seven months,” said Mark Pickering, General Manager of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
Over 500 local commuters registered to receive weekly updates on the abnormal load transportation schedules, designed to keep drivers informed. The public has shown tremendous interest and curiosity by posting words of encouragement on the social media platforms and even calling into the Project’s call centre.
The perception that the ‘abnormal vehicle’ drivers are solely responsible for ensuring that this transportation programme was successfully executed is far from the truth, as the team working on the programme amounts to a very large group of dedicated individuals, from both the turbine supplier Siemens and the transport contractor Deugro. Drivers, escorts, riggers, supervisors, fitters, auto electricians, engineers, crane drivers, flag ladies and of course a health and safety officer are amongst the employees that make up this 70-strong team.
The heaviest loads, carrying 85 ton nacelles, weighed in at over 146 tons including the truck and trailer; the average speed was a very slow 40km/h; the average load time took 2.5hours from Port to site and there were a total of 480 loads. In addition to ensuring the safe delivery of very expensive and crucial Wind Turbine components, this programme has provided the opportunity for local employment, skills development and training.
The greater impact of the transportation programme is in the development of skills, including the truck drivers and their assistants who have learnt the workings of specialised abnormal trucks and trailers. Considering that this industry is in its infancy, these people now have the skills and experience to take advantage of the job opportunities that the industry will offer for years to come,” concluded Pickering.