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BNSF Logistics LLC last week announced it successfully tested new fixtures it helped develop to move wind-turbine blades more efficiently via rail and ship.The company's "Blade Runner" service features a universal fixture designed for rail and ocean transport to optimize the movement of wind components between any two points in the world. BNSF Logistics teamed up with engineering and design firm Energo to develop the fixtures to increase transportation efficiency for long blades and drive down logistics costs for wind component movements, BNSF Logistics officials said in a press release.The universal rail fixtures are designed to handle all sizes of blades, including longer blades inside required clearance windows, which makes rail a more viable option than truck, they said. Multiple rail tests were conducted on long wind blades at the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, and results showed a 35 percent improvement in the clearance envelope, according to the company.For ocean transport, a blade stowage design also will enable BNSF Logistics to increase the number of blades carried per ship. Tests on the stowage technique were performed at the Port of Houston. BNSF Logistics expects the new system to improve stowage rates by a minimum of 25 percent versus existing configurations. Using the same technology for rail, ocean, truck and storage activities will allow blades to be transported without attached fixtures that historically have been both expensive and difficult to manage, BNSF Logistics officials said."Our universal fixtures for both ship and rail transport modernizes the wind logistics industry and will unshackle current logistics constraints facing the industry," said BNSF Logistics President Ray Greer.
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