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Giant gas turbine makes its way through port
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Workers prepare to unload a 332,000-pound gas turbine to be delivered to Mitsubishis Savannah Machinery Works at the Pooler megasite. The first phase of the Savannah Machinery Works, a 128,000 square foot gas turbine manufacturing center, was opened in late 2010. - photo by Photo by the Georgia Ports Authority

SAVANNAH—Last week, a more than 332,000-pound gas turbine was offloaded shipside directly onto a super trailer at the Georgia Ports Authority’s (GPA) Ocean Terminal. This oversized or “project cargo” was one of five heavy-lift pieces in the shipment that also included 50 crates.

“We appreciate Mitsubishi’s confidence in our heavy-lift capabilities,” said GPA’s Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz. “Our dedicated GPA team and our skilled ILA partners offer decades of experience handling break-bulk cargo of every description, as well as those with special requirements.”

The large gas turbine being delivered was the unit used for long-term testing at the Mitsubishi T-Point facility in Takasago, Japan. Mitsubishi is the only large frame gas turbine manufacturing company in the world to operate its own factory based power plant, where it performs extended testing and verification of its products before they are released for worldwide sales.

“Mitsubishi is excited to take delivery of the M501G here in Savannah,” said Mitsubishi Power Systems Senior Vice President for Service and Manufacturing Dave Walsh. “Through 10 years of testing, this unit has validated the original Mitsubishi design which is the basis of the most reliable and clean-burning industrial frame gas turbines in the world. Now it will provide continued value as a training tool for Mitsubishi factory and field service technicians and engineers far into the future. This is the value that separates Mitsubishi from our competitors.”

This unit operated for more than 14 years at Mitsubishi’s electric plant and has now been transferred to the newly established Savannah Machinery Works facility as a training platform for the growing employee workforce at the Pooler megasite. With its arrival at the Pooler facility, Mitsubishi is considering establishing a global training center for field service and technical personnel bringing more jobs and investment to the Savannah area.

“Our proactive approach walks customers through the process every step of the way,” said GPA’s Director of Breakbulk and Bulk Operations Craig Kessler. “From pre-arrival meetings to post-delivery service reviews, our team anticipates issues and offers customers seamless cargo movement through Ocean Terminal.”

Guy M. Turner provided a super trailer to haul the gas turbine. “With our depth of experience on large cargo projects and our commitment to have the necessary equipment and expert personnel to handle such a project, we were able to complete it safely and efficiently,” said Guy M. Turner’s regional manager Marvin Gross. “We could not have done so without the cooperation and partnership attitude of the folks at the GPA, John S James and SSA Cooper.”

John S. James provided freight forwarding services, and stevedoring was managed by SSA Cooper.

“SSA Cooper was proud to handle the first Mitsubishi Project Cargo at the port of Savannah,” said SSA Cooper’s Vice-President John Walsh. “It was a true team effort by all stakeholders.”

Mitsubishi’s Savannah Machinery Works completed the first phase of its new gas turbine manufacturing center, opening 128,000 square feet at the Pooler megasite in late 2010. The comprehensive manufacturing and service facility will provide critical components and services for some of the largest, most advanced gas and steam turbines in the world.

Upon completion, the total state-of-the-art manufacturing complex will employ approximately 500 people — at an average salary of $58,000 — in 500,000 square feet of facilities.

“The Georgia Ports Authority has been a tremendous partner in our growth and start up,” said Mitsubishi Power Systems General Manager of Savannah Machinery Works Steve Woodall. “The GPA’s capabilities and support were a key factor in selecting the Pooler location for the Mitsubishi facility. Now, their responsiveness and flexibility have exceeded our expectations.”