The wind energy market continues to grow, not only in terms of the number of projects coming to market but also in terms of the size of components, the latter point adding extra pressure on those needing multipurpose and heavy lift shipping services.

Only a small portion of ships can accommodate the new wind turbine blades with lengths in excess of 115 m, and nacelles weighing close to 600 tonnes. Furthermore, rising freight rates has put significant pressure shippers and forwarders – many of which calculated transport costs when rates were considerably lower.

Toepfer Transport has published a poll asking ‘Is the current MPP-Fleet large enough and technically well fitted to cover the upcoming demand and cargo specs of the wind energy industry?’. 89 percent of participants expect at least a limited lack of cargo space and capabilities, whereas 63 percent even expect a substantial shortage of suitable ships and carrying capacity.

70 countries highlighted wind power in their national action plans during the recently concluded COP26 summit, with multiple large-scale developments required to meet climate targets.  The low orderbook of the multipurpose market may turn out to be a bottleneck in relation to achieving these goals, said Toepfer.