Rail waggons and giant tires “travel” with Hapag-Lloyd

The Hamburg container shipping company is also successful in the special cargo market segment

Rail waggons and giant tires “travel” with Hapag-Lloyd

In recent weeks, Hapag-Lloyd has once again been able to showcase its skills and ingenuity in the special cargo market segment with several demanding and unusual projects. Two great examples are its transport of rail waggons ultimately destined for Hawaii from Antwerp (Belgium) to Houston (Texas, USA) as well as the shipping of huge tires from Savannah (Georgia, USA) to the Australian port city of Freemantle via Antwerp.

Due to their large diameters, the enormous tires – which Hapag-Lloyd delivered to Australia in several batches for a well-known manufacturer – did not fit in standard containers. In this case, something developed in-house at Hapag-Lloyd turned out to be the ideal solution: the 40’ open top container with a steel floor. Between four and six of these mega-tires for mining vehicles can be securely lashed and stowed in one of these open-topped containers before making their journey across the oceans.

The successful first transport, which was implemented by Hapag-Lloyd’s Area US Flag, comprised 27 open tops. Contracts for an additional 51 containers, which were divided over five sailings of Area US Flag, were subsequently secured.

In order to win the contract to transport 30 rail waggons destined for Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, Hapag-Lloyd was able to bring two specific strengths to the table: In this case, in addition to its technical skills, the company also benefitted from the fact that it is one of the few large, international carriers that also operates ships sailing under the American flag with US personnel. This was one of the conditions set by the US government for securing this transport. From the customer’s perspective, another factor arguing in favour of Hapag-Lloyd was the fact that the shipping company had already impressively demonstrated its technical skills in a similar case: the recent transport of underground waggons to Peru.

In early July, the first three of the rail waggons – each 18 meters long, three meters high and 3.5 meters wide – were loaded onto Hapag-Lloyd’s “Washington Express” after having been trucked from their production location in southern Italy to Antwerp. From Houston (Texas, USA), the port of destination, the rail waggons will be taken to Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA) for final assembly before ultimately being shipped to Honolulu. Between now and June 2018, Hapag-Lloyd plans to make roughly one additional delivery per month.