Early in 2019 BigLift concluded a contract with General Electric for multiple shipments of windmill towers manufactured by Marmen Inc. to be transported from Bécancour, Quebec, to various destinations in the Great Lakes, mainly to Duluth, Minnesota and Erie, Pennsylvania. The shipments began in April 2019 and will continue until October/November requiring up to 13 voyages. Marmen operates two wind tower manufacturing facilities in Quebec, one in Trois Rivières and one in Matane, and is among the largest manufacturers of wind towers in North America.
BigLift Shipping B,V. is part of Amsterdam-based Spliethoff Group, one of the largest ship management companies in the Netherlands, and is a major participant in the field of worldwide ocean transportation of heavy lift and project cargoes. With a modern fleet of 4 heavy transport vessels and 18 heavy lift vessels (including the Spliethoff P8-Type and P14-Type heavy lift vessels and the Chang Yung CY-Type heavy transport), BigLift serves the oil & gas, mining and power generating industries, among many others. Its vessels are equipped with lifting capacities up to 2,200 metric tonnes and some have a ro-ro capability for loads up to 16,000 metric tonnes.
The towers come in various sizes and are shipped into multiple sections as they are too tall to be transported on land to their final destinations. Each shipment takes about 5 – 6 days of transit time. The overall volume to be shipped is about 450 individual sections, representing some 150 complete towers, ranging from 40 to 65 tonnes per section, and ranging from 23 to 32 metres in length, for a total cargo volume in excess of 200,000 cubic metres.
As the Great Lakes are a special Trading Area which has a number of restrictions, such as the beam of the ship and its maximum draft, BigLift selected MV Happy River and MV Happy Rover as the vessels to conduct this summertime shuttle service for this contract, as they meet all the necessary Great Lakes requirements. Another consideration was that their cargohold and deck areas allow for optimum stowage of the tower segments, resulting in the lowest number of voyages at the lowest possible cost for the client.