How Port of Hamburg Received its Largest Containership


The Port of Hamburg has received it largest containership, the ‘CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry’, after she berthed in Hamburg’s HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai (CTB) on her maiden call early on March 15, 2018.

At 400 metres long, the CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry has a capacity of 20,776 TEU.

During her first call at CTB, the mega-ship discharged around 7,000 TEU and loaded 4,000.

CTB has two berths for handling new 20,000 TEU megaships and 30 cranes able to lift two 40 foot or four 20 foot containers.

The Hamburg terminal operator used nine of its 13 mega container gantry cranes, which have booms capable of extending over a mega-ship’s entire width of 24 boxes in a row, to simultaneously load and offload from the CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

In seven eight-hour shifts, HHLA’s terminal staff – crane drivers, stowage planners, van carrier drivers, foremen, supervisors and many others – worked on the ship almost continuously.

HHLA planned around 470 staff shifts to enable the CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry to keep to her schedule and leave Hamburg again punctually.


Photo: Port of Hamburg


Last year the Port of Hamburg reported over 930 calls by CMA CGM vessels.

Around 9,000 seagoing ships a year reach the Port of Hamburg, about half of these being containerships.

Since the first calls in 2015, the number of vessels with a slot capacity of over 18,000 TEU has tripled.

In 2017 alone, there were 102 calls by VLCVs in the 18,000-20,000-plus TEU segment, an increase of over 52%.

This trend involves challenges, not just for Hamburg, but also for ports worldwide.

Learn about how Cisco and HPA worked together to make the Port of Hamburg better connected by reading a Port Technology technical paper by Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Strategic Innovations, Cisco Systems


Photo: Port of Hamburg / Michael Zapf


Jens Hansen, HHLA Executive Board member and Chief Operating Officer, said: “By investing in state-of-the-art gantry cranes and storage technology, we prepared ourselves at an early stage for this growth in ship size.

“But we are not only making progress on the quayside.

“At the same time, we have implemented measures to deal with peak loads of incoming/departing containers caused by the arrival of VLCVs reliably and securely.

“In November 2017, for instance, a slot booking procedure for trucks was introduced that has already successfully overcome numerous ‘peak situations’ and is increasingly gaining acceptance from all those involved.

“In addition, the successful expansion of the Altenwerder rail terminal and the one planned for this year at the Burchardkai rail terminal will consolidate our integration with European hinterland rail services.”

Drawing attention to the guarantee of nautical accessibility, or secure access through the Elbe, Ingo Egloff, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, said: “That CMA CGM Group should send its flagship to Hamburg is further proof of our ability to handle these mega-ships and an endorsement from the shipowner of this port.

“It underlines its trust in the Port of Hamburg’s ability deliver the goods. All this is vital, since as an exporting nation we depend on the Port of Hamburg’s ability to perform.”

Read more: The COSCO Shipping vessel ‘Aries’ is the first Chinese container vessel with a capacity of more than 20,000 TEU to call at the HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort in Hamburg

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