Release Date:
Release ID: 5748

Hapag-Lloyd is focusing more intensely on Special Cargo

Oversized cargo on container vessels: Out of gauge area restructured / Specialist teams in all regions world-wide / Individual customer support

Hapag-Lloyd is focusing even more intensely than before on Special Cargo for container vessels. In order to be able to transport more cargo which does not fit into standard containers due to oversize or overweight, Hapag-Lloyd has strengthened its team of specialists. In addition to its Special Cargo Division at its headquarters in Hamburg, Special Cargo Teams have been established for the major markets in Asia and South and North America. Thus more than 50 sales and technical specialists for out of gauge (OOG) transports are available to support our customers world-wide.

“Special Cargo is a growing market throughout the world. Hapag-Lloyd has many years of experience in this attractive segment. We are well-known and renowned for our expertise. Now we intend to reach more customers and grow in this segment as well”, states Thorsten Haeser, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Hapag-Lloyd.

Hapag-Lloyd is also increasing its sales and marketing activities with regard to Special Cargo. “We wish to do a better job of informing our customers about their chances to profit both from our experts’ specialised knowledge and the advantages of one of the world-wide leading liner shipping companies”, Haeser says. Thus Special Cargo can be transported, loaded and unloaded on almost all vessels operated by Hapag-Lloyd in any major port. In this way, customers have access to 121 liner services at present calling regularly at all major ports world-wide.

“Safe and punctual transport of Special Cargo is a major priority for us”, states Michael Pradel, Managing Director Region Europe and responsible for implementation of the project. “Each transport is individually organised, co-ordinated and monitored by experienced engineers and navigators.” With offices in all major ports, Hapag-Lloyd provides its customers with a local contact personally supervising loading and unloading procedures for Special Cargo. “We want to move things in a big way for our customers. Their Special Cargo is our passion”, says Pradel.

Examples: The great diversity of Special Cargo as a daily challenge

Too heavy or too big? No problem for Hapag-Lloyd. Every day its experts for Special Cargo provide for safe and reliable transport of heavy and oversized cargo. The following examples illustrate the challenges they face.

Compact heavy cargo: A 343-ton turbine
The transported unit is a little bigger than a 40-feet standard container. But it weighs as much as ten fully loaded containers of that type. It was a 343-ton turbine which Hapag-Lloyd shipped for a South Korean energy company from Charleston, USA, to Busan in South Korea. The most difficult task was, above all, to load the heavy cargo and to stow it safely on board. With the help of a floating crane it took nine hours to load the turbine, which had been transported to the harbour by train, and to stow it safely on board. To keep it safe during transport, it was placed on two layers of flat racks and steel supports. Several load securing chains kept the turbine in position during the sea voyage.

Challenging dimensions: Ship propellers with a diameter of 9 meters
Almost standard practices for us are transports of ship propellers like that 116-ton propeller from Hamburg, Germany to Busan in South Korea. A floating crane expertly raised the valuable cargo and put it on board where it was placed on flat racks and secured professionally.

High value sports equipment: a catamaran from the America’s Cup
After the 34th America’s Cup, the Formula One of sailing, Hapag-Lloyd transported the Italian catamaran "Luna Rossa“ from the official site of the race in the USA, back to the sailing team's base in Cagliari, Italy. The boat of the AC 72 class has a hull length of about 22 meters, a width of 14 meters and a weight of six tons. Together with the team's equipment its total volume amounted to 370 TEU. The particular challenge for the Special Cargo Team was to lift the yacht in the harbour of Oakland directly from the water onto the container vessel. The rigid 19-meter long carbon fibre sails had been taken off and stowed safely for the transport on a platform. Thus the "Luna Rossa", which in regattas races through the water at speeds of 50 knots returned to its home port by the slow steaming Hapag-Lloyd fleet.

"These examples show that each Special Cargo has its own particular requirements which we are happy to satisfy“, states David Piel, Senior Manager Special Cargo at Hapag-Lloyd. Their expert team operating world-wide has many years of technical and nautical experience which they apply to all their transports. "With this know-how we provide safe and reliable transport of heavy and oversized cargo“, Piel points out. "This is confirmed by our satisfied customers, among them the leading forwarding companies of the world".

Interview: Special Cargo needs specialists

David Piel, a Hapag-Lloyd Special Cargo expert based in Hamburg, explains in an interview Hapag-Lloyd's strengths in transporting out of gauge cargo, and why he personally enjoys working with this kind of load.

David Piel, Senior Manager of Special Cargo in Hamburg, is one of the company's technical experts responsible for Special Cargo shipments. Together with his colleagues, he plans, organises and supervises each out-of-gauge transport individually. For this, special expertise is essential: Piel began at Hapag-Lloyd as a trainee ship mechanic in 2004, then studied marine operation gaining navigation and technical certificates at Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, finally returning to the company in 2011. He was at sea worldwide as Second Officer on Hapag-Lloyd container ships until 2013. Since then, the engineer has specialised in Special Cargo.

Mr Piel, Hapag-Lloyd is known around the world for container shipping. How long have we also been shipping Special Cargo?

David Piel: Hapag-Lloyd will soon have 170 years of experience in transporting goods, and has always catered for especially large and heavy loads on its ships. This is nothing new for us! Our team of specialists draws on more than 50 years of experience, and we continue to expand in the current growing market. Shipping loads that don't fit the box was at that time something special – today we can do it on virtually every Hapag-Lloyd ship.

You're an engineer yourself. The Special Cargo team consists of technical and nautical experts. What are your responsibilities?

Every Special Cargo is, as the name indicates, special and unique. That's why every single shipment is handled personally by individuals on my global team. We take care of all Hapag-Lloyd Special Cargo shipments worldwide. These are mainly out of gauge goods that are shipped as pre-lashed or break-bulk cargo. We check the feasibility of the shipment, give a precise quote, and organise, co-ordinate, and monitor the whole process until the cargo is discharged. This calls for specialist knowledge, which can't be acquired by chance. That's why the experts on the team are all experienced technicians, engineers and navigators, who know exactly what they are doing. Each of us in Special Cargo has experience at sea and is familiar with the procedures on a container ship and in port. Our customers' special loads are in the best possible hands with us.

Out of Gauge, known also as OOG or oversize shipments, is still always an exception, isn't it?

Piel: No, as long as the respective ports have the right crane equipment, all of our container ships already carry Special Cargo. Most heavy and special transports to date have gone from Europe to Asia and North America. We are now starting to see increased demand for shipments in the other direction: India and China in particular are exporting more Special Cargo to Europe. These routes are well covered by the Hapag-Lloyd fleet.

What fascinates you about Special Cargo?

Piel: I am fascinated by the dimensions of Special Cargo on the one hand and its variety on the other. There are no standard solutions in Special Cargo: every shipment must be handled individually. Especially during planning, we need to draw on our imagination and creativity to find the right solution. We have to find a fresh solution for each load, depending on its dimensions and weight, the available space, materials and lashing points needed for secure transport. It is extremely motivating and simply enjoyable to meet the challenge of securely transporting unusually large and heavy items every day.

Are there ever any loads that are simply too big, too wide or too heavy for Hapag-Lloyd?

Piel: In most cases, no. We can take a single cargo item weighing up to 500 tons on board. As long as the departure and destination ports are able to manage the respective loads and dimensions, the rest is just a matter of planning. At Hapag-Lloyd, we plan very exactly. Our aim is to propose solutions that are possible to implement technically and time-wise, and which guarantee safe, undamaged transport of the load. If we accept an order, our customers can rest assured that everything will be in order.

Who should customers approach if they want to ship Special Cargo with Hapag-Lloyd? Piel: We have specially trained sales representatives who are experts in these shipments in each of our four regions. We remain in constant contact with them. Potential customers can find contact details – among other places – in our new Special Cargo brochure.
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