Home » All Issues » Issue 3 » In it for the Longhaul

In it for the Longhaul

Wind farm delivery

Standing atop the Tararua Ranges overlooking Palmerston North, New Zealand sits a constellation of wind turbines. Known as the Turitea Wind Farm, it is the latest renewable energy project for New Zealand.


While New Zealand’s wind energy industry may be small, it is growing steadily with a total of 581 turbines across 17 farms. Harnessing the windy weather conditions across the Manawatu Region to power the turbines; utilising this strong natural resource is returning a high capacity factor by international standards, fast tracking New Zealand toward its’ renewable energy targets. Completed in early 2023 the Turitea Wind Farm project takes the title of New Zealand’s largest wind farm with 60 turbines, generating enough power to supply 120,000 households, or 2 per cent of the national electricity demand.


Owned by Mercury Energy, construction on the $465 million wind farm began in late 2019, but was then delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and a fire at the Port of Napier. Despite the setbacks and with the shared goal of delivering energy freedom and a sustainable, low emissions future, a number of teams across a range of industries came together to get the job done. 


One of the biggest challenges in building such a wind farm is transporting the giant componentry needed to construct each turbine. Standing at roughly 94 metres tall and weighing164 tonnes fully assembled, the transportation of the components is a complex and technically difficult task with only a few New Zealand transport operators possessing the specialist skills, experience and equipment required to complete the job.  Successfully transporting such enormous loads on New Zealand roads and in all weather conditions is most certainly not a job for the faint hearted.

As luck would have it one of those few specialist transport operators is PTS Logistics. With their Head Office in Palmerston North, PTS have the skills, experience and gear required to undertake such a mammoth delivery task.


First established in 1976, PTS Logistics beginnings were in servicing the Palmerston North area with one tow truck and a single car trailer.  Building on those humble beginnings, owners Scott and Vicki Miers have expanded the business into a logistics operation with a focus on specialised freight. 


Today PTS has depots across New Zealand, a modern fleet of vehicles transporting agricultural and forestry equipment, machinery, motor vehicles, shipping containers – and wind turbines! “The tools of the trade have certainly changed since when I first started. Everything is much bigger and better nowadays. Trucks are more reliable and can take greater loads, allowing us to help transport machinery and equipment that people would’ve laughed at in the 1970s,” said Scott.


Now one of New Zealand’s key transport companies, PTS Logistics employs more than 450 staff and operates 350 trucks across 18 branches, with industries around the nation relying upon the services provided by PTS Logistics.


When offered the opportunity and upholding their commitment to move “almost anything, anytime and anywhere”, PTS Logistics accepted the challenge of supporting the Turitea Wind Farm by delivering the necessary components to the site.


“We delivered all the materials for the wind turbines including the tower sections, the blades and the turbines. Our largest truck and trailer combinations are 80 metres long and rated for loads in excess of 200 tonnes, so they could easily deal with the weight of loads, however, the major challenge was the New Zealand winter. The days are short and the weather can be very harsh and unpredictable,” said Scott.


“During a normal storm, you expect the rain to come straight down. When we were delivering the turbines, the rain was coming in sideways, making it very challenging to operate a heavy haul unit, especially when laden with well over 100 tonnes of equipment.” Before tackling the challenge, Scott spoke with his local Kubota dealer about how he could best equip the business for the mission at hand. For the difficult working conditions, Scott looked to Kubota’s RTV-XG850 Sidekick.


“It was the perfect addition…we were easily able to add a few extra lighting attachments so we could work in the dark, as well as adding in a clear, Perspex roof to maintain visibility above in poor weather. It was a great addition, and I am not sure how we would have coped without it.”


“Being in the transport industry is a really rewarding career and being involved in this project has been a highlight. Ensuring we were able to get the job done on time and meet the Customers’ expectations, is a great motivator for sure. “The variety of things we deliver through PTS Logistics keeps our work engaging, one load is always going to be different from the next – and that’s why it was so great to work on the Turitea Wind Farm. “The challenging conditions tested our equipment and extended our creative thinking skills, it was not an easy task but it was so rewarding to look at the final product. “Wind farms will continue to play a huge role in New Zealand’s renewable energy future, and PTS Logistics will be proud to continue playing a key role in that.”


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