GHHL erecting Saudi Arabia’s first wind turbine

The firm was awarded this prestigious contract for transportation of wind turbine from Jubail Industrial Port and lifting and installing at the Saudi Aramco Bulk Plant

Saudi-based Gulf Haulage Heavy Lift Company (GHHL) says it is proud to be associated with the transportation and installation of the first wind turbine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The wind turbine is a landmark project not only for Saudi Aramco but also for Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy push, which forms an integral part towards fulfilling the kingdom’s Vision 2030 programme. GHHL was awarded this prestigious contract for transportation of wind turbine from Jubail Industrial Port and lifting and installing at the Saudi Aramco Bulk Plant, Turaif. GHHL, with its over three decades of presence in the kingdom and expertise with the local conditions, was the first choice for this project, says a company spokesman.

The initial route surveys were conducted based on the preliminary drawings and considering the overall length of the blade the detailed planning was carried out for choosing the right trailer configuration for transporting the unit with long overhang of the tip, he states. Soon after the arrival of the wind turbine at Jubail Port, at a short notice, GHHL transported one unit turbine blade, from Jubail Port to Dhahran on busy highway crossing the local traffic all the way of 100 kms with full escort, to Saudi Aramco’s headquarters, for a brief display, as a goodwill gesture. This was a critical route, which was covered with close coordination and support from the local authorities, he says.

With one unit blade in Dammam & rest two units in Jubail, each one delicate and measuring 60 m long GHHL was set to move the whole shipment in one convoy, using special trailers along with the Nacelle unit and the tower sections. Taking into consideration the terrain route and various bridges, traffic sign boards, street light poles needed to be adjusted with approval by the government authorities and the police. This was possible with strong relationships between all involved parties to make this smooth and safe transportation. To move this massive wind turbine of 410 tonnes in span of six days, covering the distance of 1,250 kms was indeed a challenge, he explains.

Once the convoy reached the site, initially, the four tower sections ranging from 44 to 52 tonne each were erected. This was followed by the installation of Nacelle unit weighing 83 tonne on the top, at a height of 84 m. The assembled blades were then lifted to fix it along the machine head with proper alignment. The extreme weather conditions and high wind-speed in the region complicated the whole lifting operation shortening the lifting time to meet the critical deadline of Saudi Aramco. The GHHL team managed to complete the whole wind turbine installation within the span of two days. "With detailed planning and a dedicated crew, GHHL executed the first of its kind project in the kingdom safely and successfully making this one of the milestone projects for Gulf Haulage Heavy Lift company," he adds.