Trade Winds blowing at the Port of Monroe

MONROE, MI: The Port of Monroe (Port) along with port tenant Ventower Industries (Ventower) and terminal operator DRM are working to develop and expand new renewable energy supply chain opportunities during the 2022 shipping season.

The Port and DRM are working to load wind tower sections manufactured in Monroe by Ventower for outbound shipment on US-flagged barges.  The wind towers are being transported to the Port of Oswego, New York where they will be staged with other components for delivery to a project site in upstate New York.

Ventower Industries is the only active wind turbine tower manufacturer in the United States located at a Port. The relationship between the Port and Ventower has been critical in developing these new supply chains. A load of tower sections was loaded aboard a foreign-flagged vessel in 2019 for delivery to a project in South America but this current project is a positive step forward for short-sea-shipping on the Great Lakes.

“The fabrication of utility-scale wind turbine towers is what we do best.  When you combine the skills of our manufacturing team and the capabilities we developed at our Port of Monroe manufacturing facility with a world class marine transportation facility next door, it creates an environment which allows us to serve our customers more effectively and makes our products that much more competitive in the region,” said Gregory Adanin, CEO/President at Ventower.

Ashton Marine Corporation, a Michigan-based tug company, is handling the transportation for the project.

“We are honored to partner with the Port, Ventower and DRM on this renewable energy project,” said Seth Andrie, President of Ashton Marine. “Transporting project cargo for our customers throughout the Great Lakes is one of our specialties.”

In 2016, the U.S. Maritime Administration designated the Port of Monroe as part of the Marine Highway Route M-90. As a Marine Highway, the Port and its stakeholders are committed to developing and expanding marine highway service options in the United States to expand the use of America’s navigable waterways.

“In a single project we have Michigan manufactured renewable energy components, built right here at the Port of Monroe, being transported under the American flag on a designated Marine Highway Route,” said Capt. Paul C. LaMarre III, Port Director at the Port of Monroe. “The Port of Monroe is proud to be at the forefront of domestic cargo diversification which will ultimately benefit the system as a whole.”

The Port recently welcomed a new Manitowoc crawler crane to the port which will be used to load tower sections. Funds to purchase the crane were awarded through the Marine Highway program.

The wind tower project is expected to be completed later this summer.

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