For the shipping company Hapag-Lloyd’s, there seems to be no upper limit for transporting ultra-heavy goods. This includes very heavy propellers for container ships, a huge flare-stack pipe for the oil and gas industry, or helicopters that almost fly onto the ship.
Instance # 1
The “Antwerpen Express” (13,200 TEU) traded one Special Cargo for another in its recent call Hamburg’s CTA. One propeller had made its way to Hamburg from Shanghai. The second one was loaded on board the same ship to head toward South Korea. This 166-ton propeller was loaded by a floating crane onto the 366-meter-long ship. The crane hoisted the 166-ton load over the ship’s side and placed it on a pre-prepared layer of flat racks, and then the propeller was expertly lashed.
After the operation, the swimming crane moved just a few bays down. Another similar heavy load was waiting there. This was a 92-ton propeller from Shanghai with a 9.20-meter diameter. This propeller is something like a “spare tire” for 13,200 TEU ships, the largest in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet.
If a ship’s propeller were damaged, Hapag-Lloyd would have to take the vessel out of service for a long duration of more than 6 months it would take to either repair the propeller or, in the worst-case scenario, to have a new one made. As a precaution, Hapag-Lloyd now has an additional replacement propeller ready in a warehouse in Hamburg.
Instance # 2
“Phoenix I” headed to Texas with huge flare stack
The “Phoenix I” (4,389 TEU) transported a flare-stack pipe with impressive dimensions from the Italian port city of Genoa to Texas. The metal pipe is 21 meters long, has a 4-meter diameter and weighs in at 40 tons. The flare stack, which was shipped in one piece, stretches across nine container slots. The ship is a 282-meter-long freighter operating in the Mediterranean Gulf Express (MGX) service, arrived in Houston on November 25. The flare-stack pipe is supposed to be put to use in the oil and gas industry of Texas. Due to its size, the cargo’s land transportation, from the northern Italian municipality of Montodine to Genoa, had to be conducted at night and with a special permit. After that, the subsequent loading of the flare stack pipe took three hours to complete. A strong wind of up to 40 knots during the loading required all parties to be particularly alert.
Instance # 3
Hapag-Lloyd’s cargo almost flies straight onto the container ship: In addition to the standard containers, a helicopter was on the “Montreal Express” (4,402 TEU) for the seven-day voyage from Montreal to Antwerp. Loading the helicopter in the Canadian port demanded precision work. First, a pilot accurately landed the Bell 429 on a 40-foot flatrack outfitted with a wooden pallet. A team of specialists then dismantled the rotor blades and tied down the approx. 2.4-ton helicopter and covered it, before the aircraft was hoisted on board and started its seven-day journey across the Atlantic. Finally, the helicopter was hoisted on board and started its journey across the Atlantic.
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