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Wind power parts triple Duluth shipping terminal volume

Fueled largely by shipments of wind power equiment, Duluth's Clure Marine Terminal appears on pace to handle about 300,000 tons of cargo this year, said Gary Nicholson, president of Lake Superior Warehousing Co., the facility's operator. That's m...

Fueled largely by shipments of wind power equiment, Duluth's Clure Marine Terminal appears on pace to handle about 300,000 tons of cargo this year, said Gary Nicholson, president of Lake Superior Warehousing Co., the facility's operator. That's more than triple the 82,000 tons of cargo the terminal moved in 2006.

"We've had a ramp-up of activity we never envisioned," said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, which owns Clure Marine Terminal.

"This is a shipping frenzy right now with wind power," Ojard said.

Not only is the terminal receiving inbound components for Midwestern wind farms but it has begun to handle outbound equipment, as well. Ron Johnson, the Port Authority's trade development director, said Lake Superior Warehousing expects to ship 162 wind turbine blades to Spain this year, for example.

Nicholson likened the recent surge in wind power shipments to "a tsunami" and said his company has almost maxed out the terminal. To accommodate growing demand, Lake Superior Ware-housing recently fenced in a few additional acres of land to provide additional lay-down space for cargo.

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Besides wind power equipment, Nicholson said Lake Superior Warehousing expects to see additional shipments of equipment destined for oil-sand developments in Alberta.

He told members of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority Wednesday that based on work already scheduled, he anticipates the tonnage handled by the terminal could grow by another 25 percent in 2008.

"There's huge potential out there," Nicholson said.

PETER PASSI covers business and development. He can be reached weekdays at (218) 279-5526 or by e-mail at ppassi@duluthnews.com .

Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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