June 3 - Siemens has awarded a four-year crane framework agreement to ALE for the supply and deployment of cranes, specialised transport equipment and personnel to the manufacturer's harbour-based offshore wind sites in the UK and Germany.

Three quarters of the contract, which covers the period from 2016-2019 and has a value in excess of GBP43 million (USD61.9 million), relates to UK offshore projects, all of which will involve blade export or pre-assembly at Siemens' new facilities in Hull.

The contract covers onshore heavy lifting, transport and pre-assembly services for offshore wind operations, beginning in June 2016.

Along with Associated British Ports (ABP), Siemens is investing GBP310 million (USD446 million) in the Green Port Hull development, which received the green light back in 2014.

The first offshore wind plant to benefit from the newly constructed Alexandra Dock in Hull will be the Dudgeon wind farm off the Norfolk coast, which is owned by Statoil, Statkraft and Masdar.

Comprising 67 Siemens 6 MW turbines, the Dudgeon farm will have an overall capacity of 402 MW and will be capable of providing clean power to over 410,000 UK households on completion.

ALE's staff and equipment will be used in the handling and pre-assembly of imported towers, nacelles and blades for the plant. Where possible, explained ALE, a ro-ro method will be used to move the 75 m long rotor blades and nacelles, which weigh around 360 tonnes.

Once the Dudgeon project is complete, components will begin moving for Dong Energy's Race Bank offshore wind farm off the east coast of the UK. This farm will comprise 91 Siemens 6 MW turbines and have a total capacity of 580 MW.

The first wind turbine blades are expected to start being manufactured by Siemens in Hull during winter 2016, with the facility's grand opening scheduled for 2017.