Michael van Toledo TMA Logistics

TMA Logistics & the logistics for Wind Farm Fryslân

15 October 2020

The Amsterdam/IJmuiden region and Port of Amsterdam are fully committed to offshore wind power. We contribute to the construction of wind farms by producing and shipping all kinds of components via the North Sea Canal area.

In a series of four interviews, we tell you everything about our stance on building offshore wind farms. Speaking this time: Michael van Toledo, General Manager at TMA Logistics.

If you want to know all about containers, cargo transhipment, intermodal transport you need look no further than TMA Logistics. And offshore wind projects are nothing new to the company either. Michael van Toledo is the company's general manager and is involved in the logistics processes surrounding Wind Farm Fryslân. ‘It’s not always easy, but it's a project we're especially proud of.’

Storing and transporting 89 wind turbines

Wind Farm Fryslân is not the first offshore wind project TMA Logistics has worked on. Michael: ‘It’s anything but. A few years ago, for example, we transported and delivered 48 turbines for the Westermeerwind Wind Farm. That was a similar project. That was also carried out with the wind turbines of our client: Siemens Gamesa.’

But Michael has to admit that Wind Farm Fryslân takes the challenge to another level. ‘First of all, because this time we're talking about 89 turbines instead of 48. And for that project we had a year and a half to transport the parts. In this case it's eight months from when the first parts arrive here.’

Gigantic location

Fortunately, there is no shortage of space at TMA Logistics. A wind turbine blade is over 65 metres long and over 3 metres high. Michael: ‘Wind Farm Fryslân needs 267 of them. This calls for a gigantic storage site of over one hundred thousand square metres. And then there are all the other components, such as the generators, blades and towers. All in all, that takes up about a third of all our acreage.’

Michael tells us that there will also be a large office where about 100 to 120 people will be working. He laughs: They'll have to put on a good pair of walking shoes if they want to take a stroll between the parts during their lunch break.’

Space and planning: the biggest challenges

Making enough space is not the only challenge TMA is facing. ‘We’re used to that. We've just finished a logistics hub for the new sea lock at IJmuiden. Cranes, sheet pile walls, concrete piles: everything went through our terminal. Because we worked with large pontoons at a single location, we were able to maintain an overview, make optimum use of the space and avoid delays.’

That’s an important aspect, explains Michael, because in large-scale construction projects the planning is often complex.

‘That’s certainly true of Wind Farm Fryslân. The ships arrive with components from all over the world. Regionally, we collaborate with other companies for their specialist knowledge and materials. A team from Siemens Gamesa assembles the wind turbines on our site to minimise the amount of work needed on IJsselmeer. All that and more. We have to make sure it's all properly coordinated.’

The preparation is a project in itself

Transporting the wind turbine components is scheduled for January. Preparing the project is a project in itself. ‘We have to reinforce our land, for example,’ says Michael. Not only are the parts big, they're also heavy. We need those extra office premises. And we have to divert the power supply: there's plenty to do.’

Fortunately, TMA is only too pleased to do it. ‘We are proud and honoured to see to the logistics of this prestigious project.’

No margin for error

For the time being, the general manager isn't too worried about the planning. ‘I just hope the weather’s not too bad,’ he says. ‘That’s the thing about wind turbine blades... they catch a lot of wind. So we can do without a storm. We don't take any risks of things getting damaged.’

The way Michael sees it, caution is what offshore wind projects are all about anyway. ‘It's about such valuable parts and such tight schedules that there’s no margin for error.’

Amsterdam & wind on water

Michael sees a rosy future for the Amsterdam region and wind on water. ‘We have a great location for inland waterway locations such as IJsselmeer. Construction projects come here for a one-stop-shop of people, materials and knowledge. For offshore projects it would be helpful to have a location outside the locks. There are plans for this in the form of the Energy Port. As soon as this is in place, the Amsterdam/IJmuiden region will have everything it needs for the logistics future of new wind farms.’