Suzlon opens Illinois distribution centre

UNITED STATES: Suzlon has expanded its US logistical operations with the launch of a 20,000-sq-metre distribution centre in Elgin, Illinois.

The new facility, near the company’s North American headquarters in Chicago, is intended to reduce transportation costs and provide shorter transit times for turbines and related equipment.

Suzlon expects to save money by employing a "milk-run" model that includes shipping on regularly scheduled dates using pre-planned outbound and returning freight lines.

The Elgin facility will also house a new training programme with on-site access to Suzlon components. Close proximity to O’Hare airport will also provide easy access for training and customer visits.

Suzlon Wind Energy CEO Andy Cukurs said: "In addition to giving us the edge in transportation costs and logistics for turbine components, the facility will become home to our new world-class training programme for wind technicians in 2011."

Last month Suzlon and developer Affinity Wind revealed a joint venture for building a two-phase 150MW wind project in west-central Illinois, with the first phase expected online next year.

But earlier this month Suzlon announced 110 layoffs, effective in December, at its blade factory in Pipestone, Minnesota. Roughly three dozen employees will be retained to re-tool the plant for larger blades in anticipation of a US market recovery.

Suzlon, the world’s fourth-largest wind energy company, has a presence in 25 countries across five continents.