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HHLA-Terminal Buchardkai © HHLA

HHL is Getting Ready for Mega Ships

HHLA is preparing itself to handle mega ships with a capacity of more than 20,000 standard containers

The latest generation of container ships will soon be able to transport 20,000 TEU and more – particularly on the busiest world trade routes. This mainly covers the connecting routes between the Far East and Northern Europe.

Hamburg is one of the most important Northern European ports, and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG’s (HHLA) container terminals has already been preparing for the arrival of these mega ships.

More Giant Gantry Cranes

One important prerequisite for handling these 20,000 TEU giants is having container gantry cranes with jibs that can stretch over the entire breadth of ships with up to 24 rows of containers. Only these larger gantry cranes are able to completely load and unload the mega ships. Five of these gantry cranes have been in operation at the HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) since 2014. Another three are on order for CTB, with further two ordered for the neighbouring HHLA Container Terminal Tollert (CTT).

Three High-Performance Berths

Overall, HHLA offers three high-performance berths in the Port of Hamburg capable of handling container ships with capacities of 20,000 TEU and above. To quickly process the ultra large container ships is crucial. The CMA CGM Vasco de Gama, with room for 18,000 TEU, docked at CTBs most modern berth in September 2015. Within 33.7 hours, 5,248 boxes or approximately 8,450 TEU were handled.

According to HHLA’s estimates, between 11,000 and 14,000 TEU per vessel will have to be handled at one terminal for 20,000 TEU vessels in future. Those are incredible peak loads that will have to be managed during quayside handling, in the yard and while handling hinterland traffic.

Investments into Block Storage

CTB is therefore also investing in its block storage. The number of automated storage blocks will be increased from eight to twelve by 2017. “This construction will reduce yard capacity by 4,000 TEU,” reported the managing director of CTB, Jens Hansen. “This area was a straddle carrier yard. The automated storage blocks that will be constructed here will have capacities of 8,200 TEU. That is equivalent to an increase of over 100 percent and will put us in a position to deal with peak loads better. Space is precious and in short supply at the Port of Hamburg, so we have to use it as efficiently as possible.”

Trucking & Intermodal to be Optimised

To ensure the smoothness and efficiency of hinterland operations, HHLA launched the project “Fuhre 2.0”, optimising truck handling at terminals. Camera portals on the terminal gates recording container data and and self-service terminals speed up truck handling.

The next focus will be on reliable truck pre-registration using a data interface (TR02, version 14). The aim is to streamline pre- and post-haulage during entry and exit from the terminals, as well as avoid traffic jams. The role model for “Fuhre 2.0” is rail traffic. Every train has a time slot for the rail terminal during which it must be handled.

Rail Capacities to be Increased

Rail Operations Management (ROM) also intends to coordinate the rail traffic as smoothly as possible within the Port as well as where they join the superordinated rail network. They also intend to increase rail handling capacity at the terminals. From 2017 the rail terminal at CTB is set to receive additional platforms, and at CTA rail terminal, Germany’s largest container rail terminal for intermodal traffic, construction on two new platforms is about to begin.

With these measures, the HHLA terminals are preparing themselves for the growing number of mega ships with 20,000 TEU wanting to call the Port of Hamburg.

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