ContainersEuropeOperationsPorts and Logistics

What it takes to handle a 20,000 teu boxship

The Port of Hamburg has revealed what it takes to handle one of the world’s largest boxships. With the world’s first ever 20,000-plus teu containership, the MOL Triumph, making its maiden calls across northern Europe this week port planners have had to be working around the clock to accommodate the giant 400 m long ship.

The MOL Triumph called at Hamburg’s Burchardkai terminal on Monday evening. Some 6,000 teu will be discharged and 3,500 teu loaded during the ship’s stay at the German port.

In a release today the port revealed how nine giant container gantry cranes are operating in parallel on the MOL Triumph. In seven shifts, each eight-hours long, terminal staff will be working virtually non-stop on the vessel. In total, the port has planned around 470 staff shifts, so that the MOL vessel can keep to its sailing schedule, leaving Hamburg again punctually.

Jan Holst, director North Europe for the ship’s owner Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) commented: “Our shipping line has been really exerting itself, working towards this moment for the last three years. It makes you feel really proud when it actually happens.”

Previously, MOL’s biggest containerships had a capacity of some 14,000 teu. “So, this is naturally a quantum leap for us in terms of volume, challenging the whole organisation. In Europe we have taken on staff in each port, 13 in Hamburg alone,” Holst revealed.

The ship is scheduled to leave the Elbe conurbation again at four in the morning on Thursday.

The MOL Triumph was the world’s largest boxship when it was unveiled earlier this year. It has since been trumped however by vessels delivered to Maersk and most recently OOCL.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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