18,609 TEU – “Tihama” sets new loading record for Hapag-Lloyd

Never before has one of our company’s vessels taken so much cargo on board: In late October, Hapag-Lloyd’s “Tihama” set a new record: 18,609 TEU – or 20-foot standard containers. The ship, which operates in Hapag-Lloyd’s “Far East Loop 2” (FE2) service, had gradually taken on this enormous number of containers at several ports in Asia. All the cargo had the same destination: North Europe.

The record of the “Tihama” is all the more astonishing as its declared capacity – 17,500 TEU – is well below this mark. However, declared capacity is a theoretical, purely mathematical figure that takes a large number of factors into account. Among the limiting factors are draft restrictions and the capabilities of the container gantry cranes in ports of call.

However, with some clever planning and foresight, it is quite possible to surpass the declared capacity. In the case of the “Tihama,” the decisive factor was the average container weight. The theoretical calculation assigns each steel box a weight of 10 metric tons, but it actually turned out to be much lower in this case. This meant that an additional 1,109 TEU of cargo could be loaded on the “Tihama” without making it sit too low in the water to call at Southampton, its port of destination. This loading record can be attributed to a remarkable effort from and cooperation between the Sales teams and the Operations units (in particular the ship planners), the Trade Management and the Network department.

"Tihama" in Hamburg at the Terminal Burchardkai

Even more cargo is possible

With an optimal cargo mix and without external restrictions, the “Tihama” could even hold 19,870 TEU. “We will rarely – if ever – achieve this theoretical cargo volume,” Thomas Elling, Hapag-Lloyd’s Senior Director Regional Sales and Customer Service of Region Asia stresses. “But we are convinced that we can still break our current record on vessels of this class.”

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