19th November 2013, Text: Katrin Meier, Photos: Helvetia
The 110-metre long transporter barge from Rotterdam slowly enters the port of Basel. In its hold there are four tower elements, three rotor blades, the rotor hub and the associated nacelle containing the generator – a complete wind turbine. The heaviest pieces weigh up to 60 tonnes. The rotor blades weigh "only" around eight tonnes, but they are up to 45 metres long. All this is now to be transported into the Bernese Jura. Or to be more precise, to Mont Croisin, where Switzerland's biggest wind turbines have stood since 1996.
The "Esperanza" travels up and down the Rhine four times, until all four turbines are in Basel. From loading to arrival at its destination, this type of shipment is very carefully monitored and documented. At the Port of Basel an independent expert checks the incoming cargo for damage, inspects the necessary papers and ensures that it is correctly loaded. It takes almost two days to assign all the individual sections of the wind turbines to the heavy goods vehicles and lash them in place.
As soon as the trucks are on the road, the expert finalises his report and sends it to the transport insurance company – in this case Helvetia. Because losses, theft and damage are unfortunately everyday events in the transport business. Finding the person responsible for the damage and making them pay is extremely difficult, particularly in the case of cross-border shipments. Fortunately, the wind turbines have now arrived undamaged on Mont Croisin and will soon be providing electricity for the region.