March 1 - A strategic investment of up to USD150 million in the UK offshore wine turbine R&D could lead to significant opportunities for offshore and onshore heavy lift operators and project cargo forwarders in the coming years, industry observers predict

Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe has signed an MOU with the British government signalling its intention to invest up to USD150 million in UK wind turbine R&D projects. 

As well as creating some 200 highly skilled jobs by 2014, there will be a further USD27 million grant to fund an offshore wind test site at Narec in Blyth, Northumberland off the east English coast. This is significant as the port of Blyth already has important main trades of project cargo such as wind turbines and ancillary commodities. High quality warehousing is also provided for shipping and non shipping related use.

The MOU comes as a new development of offshore wind farms around Britain looks set to provide the UK port industry with large scale, heavy lift opportunities.

Earlier this year, Associated British Ports (ABP) welcomed the announcement of Round 3 of the UK's offshore wind farm developments, a project of nine locations around the UK. ABP considers that the need to supply, construct and distribute turbines and associated infrastructure will generate significant volumes of heavy lift and project cargo activity.

ABP has been involved with Round 1 and Round 2 offshore wind projects, with traffic being handled at Barrow, Grimsby and Lowestoft. A number of other ABP locations, in the North Sea, Bristol Channel and Irish Sea are in good positions to exploit the opportunities available, says the company.