Association and member companies work on transporting topics and permitting processes for wind industry

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Since 1948, member companies of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) have built a reputation for lifting, hauling and positioning massive items with precision and accuracy. Additionally, the association’s Allied Industries members produce the specialized equipment, professional engineering, insurance, legal counsel and other products and services that make such monumental tasks possible.

SC&RA member companies perform the work that no one else can handle. And they take considerable pride in doing jobs safely, legally and profitably. These characteristics make SC&RA members exceptionally well suited for working with wind systems projects. Year after year, some of the most impressive entries in the SC&RA Hauling and Rigging Job of the Year Competitions involve the energy sector. Regardless of the type of energy ultimately produced, many of the lessons learned from such projects apply to the wind power segment, where SC&RA members have focused much of their attention in recent years.

SC&RA has exhibited annually at Windpower since 2010 to help explain benefits of working with SC&RA members when needing specialized transportation, crane and rigging services. The booths also further SC&RA’s efforts to recruit members from within the wind industry, including at least three new members. Sharing SC&RA’s presence at Windpower each year are more than 50 of the association’s member companies. Largely as a result of SC&RA’s participation at Windpower 2011, the association was asked to participate at the American Wind Energy Association’s Transportation and Logistics Working Group meeting during that conference. This group, which already had some SC&RA members participating in it, provides another outlet to team with SC&RA in its permit uniformity goal.

SC&RA has worked long and hard on efforts to attain permit uniformity for oversize/overweight transport of items such as components for wind turbines, towers and blades. Permitting processes that vary from state to state can be every bit as daunting for motor carriers and their customers. SC&RA’s unwavering conviction that a uniform system for issuing permits would promote more efficient interstate commerce and fuel the economic growth of all states involved led to the creation of the Specialized Transportation Symposiums.

Additionally, SC&RA members and staff participate at meetings of regional transportation groups, including the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Washington Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials. Often, SC&RA staff executives are called upon to present an overview of issues facing the industry.

These efforts sometimes lead to SC&RA’s direct involvement within states. For example, after Virginia enacted a bill last year that required the development of a uniform system of permitting for overweight and oversize vehicles within its boundaries, as well as a comprehensive, tiered schedule of fees for overweight vehicles, SC&RA staff and members began serving on three of the five working groups organized by the commonwealth.

In addition to state permitting issues, SC&RA addresses such areas as federal regulations involving hours-of-service for drivers, electronic on-board recorders; load securement; pilot car practices; and litigation concerns. The association meets as needed with federal officials, submits comments about pending federal regulations and works with related associations on specialized transportation issues of mutual concern. Similarly, SC&RA works on behalf of members in the crane industry and their customers, including those involved with wind systems. A popular session at SC&RA’s Crane & Rigging Workshop last year covered the current and future wind-energy market. Other sessions focused on lift plans, load charts and numerous other topics of significance to the erection of wind towers.

SC&RA’s upcoming 35th Anniversary Crane & Rigging Workshop in Louisville, KY, September 19-21, also will place a strong emphasis on logistical, safety, regulatory and legislative matters of relevance to wind systems. The 2012 workshop is expected to attract more than 425 industry experts, including equipment designers, safety directors, crane operators, operations managers, sales representatives and top management.

As with transportation issues, SC&RA also stays directly involved with crane and rigging issues at the local, state and federal levels. SC&RA actively participated on the 23-member Cranes and Derricks Negotiated Rulemaking Committee that drafted new federal safety regulations. Moreover, SC&RA tirelessly pushed for years to keep the promulgation process moving whenever it stalled.

SC&RA also supplies comprehensive coverage about the transport, erection and installation of wind systems in both of its official magazines, International Cranes and Specialized Transport and American Cranes & Transport, as well as in the association’s weekly newsletter and quarterly safety newsletter. Among the most useful tools offered by SC&RA is the Membership Directory, which encompasses a network of about 1,300 companies. With members in 46 nations, SC&RA is uniquely qualified to further the wind-energy industry virtually anywhere in the world.