COSCO Shipping Lines loaded a 126-ton plant section onto a containership in Shanghai in April 2017 and 37 days later transhipped it at the HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort in Hamburg.
Rapid handling times, efficient processes, standardised transport chains – these are some of the advantages that global container shipping has enabled.
However, the trend of recent years has demonstrated that container shipping companies are increasingly active away from the norm. To a growing extent, they are developing expertise on cargoes that do not fit into 20 or 40-ft containers.
In April, COSCO Shipping Lines, one of the top players among container shipping lines, loaded a 126-ton plant section on to the 14,000-TEU containership ‘CSCL Jupiter’ in Shanghai. On 1 June, 37 days later, this unusually heavy unit was transhipped at HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort. Planning and execution of this shipment were an extremely testing and complex challenge.
The rotary boiler, 24 metres in length, with a diameter of 4.40 metres and weighing several tons, will be used in the food industry for processing grains and oilseeds. It was transferred by HHLA’s Hamburg-based floating cranes III and IV directly into an inland waterway craft that is taking the vulnerable cargo along the Elbe to Melnik. From there it will cover at least 300 kilometres by road to its final destination in Olomouc, Czechia.
The special challenge here was that on account of its centre of gravity, the two HHLA floating cranes had to operate in tandem to lift the rotary boiler from the hold, where it was secured on a total of eleven 40-ft flatracks. For that, they first had to secure themselves together on the towering side of the 366-metre-long containership. The cargo was then lifted out and lowered on to the waiting inland waterway craft.
Thomas Lütje, Sales Director for Hamburger Hafen und Logistik, commented: “This transhipment underlines the flexibility and capacity of HHLA container terminals. Our facilities are not only supremely efficient specialists in handling containers, but also offer impressive solutions for transhipping heavy-lifts.”
The COSCO shipping company, with its European headquarters in Hamburg, has been a player in the general cargo business for around ten years. Its special traffic/projects department looks exclusively after breakbulk cargoes. This year alone, this dedicated COSCO department has handled 80 especially heavy and/or out-of-gauge shipments via ports in the North Range, 70 of these in Hamburg. Yet this is never a routine matter. “Despite all our experience, handling this rotary boiler was something special,” confirms Dennis von Gogh of COSCO’s special traffic team in Hamburg. “We had just six weeks to prepare for this load, but its weight and dimensions meant that it was by no means an everyday job.”
In planning, COSCO’s project cargo specialists conducted full calculations on a great diversity of routes and handling options. Von Gogh: “Hamburg’s handling facilities and excellent hinterland link with Czechia via the Elbe made it the best solution.”