HHLA exercises option for three 20,000-TEU mega-ship cranes

HHLA exercises option for three 20,000-TEU mega-ship cranes

New cranes will help the Port of Hamburg, pictured, maintain its leading position in the hyper-competitive Le Havre-Hamburg port range of Northern Europe.

HHLA, the largest terminal operator in Hamburg, Europe’s third-largest port, has exercised an option for three more ship-to-shore cranes able to work ships of 20,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units.

The cranes, along with the two ordered in 2015 that provided the option for more, will ensure that Hamburg remains a destination for the largest ships sailing today and help in its efforts to regain the No. 2 spot in Europe’s port rankings, which it lost to Antwerp in 2015.

“With five ultra-modern 20,000-TEU gantry cranes, Tollerort will be ideally equipped to efficiently handle the growing number of ultra-large container vessels,” said HHLA board member Dr. Stefan Behn. “Together with the two 20,000-TEU berths at Burchardkai, we will be able to offer our customers three berths that can handle the biggest ships in the world.”

The number of ships carrying at least 14,000 TEUs that called Hamburg in the first half rose 83 percent year-over-year to 97.

The cranes will be able to reach across 24 rows of containers and have a jib length of 74 meters (243 feet) and lifting height of 51.5 meters above the quay. The cranes weigh 1,500 tonnes (1,653 tons) each and have a maximum payload of 63 tonnes.

Construction of the first two cranes is on schedule and they are expected to ship to Hamburg from the manufacturer in November.

Long the No. 2 port in Europe, Hamburg lost the position last year as container traffic fell 9.3 percent year-over-year to 8.8 million TEUs due to poor demand on the Asia-Europe trade and sanctions imposed between Russia and the West in the wake of the civil war in Ukraine.

While Asia-Europe trade remains lethargic, Russian volumes through Hamburg have begun to rebound. Overall traffic shrank by just 1.2 percent in the first half of the year compared with a 6.8 percent decline in the first half of 2015.