Kirby Corporation Announces Offshore Wind Partnership With Maersk Supply Service
Kirby Corporation announced March 30 it has signed a commercial agreement for its wholly owned subsidiary, Kirby Offshore Wind, to provide barge transportation services for offshore wind towers and turbines to Maersk Supply Service. Maersk Supply has been selected by Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP, as the installation contractor for the project off the coast of New York. Kirby’s contract with Maersk represents a 20-year framework agreement, with the Empire Wind projects being the first.
Kirby Offshore Wind will provide the Jones Act-compliant feeder barges and tugs that will transport the wind towers and turbines from the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to a specialized Maersk wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV). Kirby will invest in two new ABS- classed feeder barge and diesel-electric hybrid tug units, which will be constructed in U.S. shipyards for a total combined cost of between $80 million to $100 million. Each feeder barge will have the capacity to transport next-generation turbines of 15 mW and higher as turbine technology advances.
“We are excited to announce Kirby’s participation in the offshore wind market through our newest business division, Kirby Offshore Wind,” said David Grzebinski, Kirby president and CEO. “We have been carefully evaluating opportunities to enter the offshore wind industry for several years, and we are very pleased to partner with world-class operators such as Maersk, Equinor, and BP on a critical foundational project with a multi-year transportation agreement. Kirby’s participation in this renewable energy space will not only grow company earnings and returns, but will also greatly enhance our ESG product and service offerings in the coming years. Our commitment to build two next-generation feeder barges and emissions-friendly diesel-electric hybrid tugboats, which could have the ability to substitute diesel for alternative fuels, is not only important for Kirby’s ESG journey, but also for the U.S. maritime sector. These vessels will create new American jobs, both during the construction phase at two U.S. shipyards, as well as for U.S. mariners once operations commence.”
Christian O’Neil, Kirby president of marine transportation, said that the U.S. offshore wind industry has potential for significant growth. “As a leading provider of Jones Act-compliant barge services in the U.S. coastal trade, Kirby’s participation in the development and support of the offshore wind industry is critical to our future,” he said. “These new vessels will complement the ABS-classed Maersk WTIV and support achievement of project efficiency gains.”