Piggybacking across the Atlantic

In addition to standard containers, Hapag-Lloyd also transports special cargo that cannot be containerized. Among others, ships and yachts "piggyback" on board container ships.

Each year, Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet transports several million containers over the world’s seas. But, on top of that, the vessels also take on board special cargo that doesn’t fit inside standardized steel boxes. Among the most spectacular of these objects are other ships and yachts that “piggyback,” so to speak, on board the massive container vessels as they make their journey. And the unusual dimensions and often high values of these cargos require particular skill when being loaded and extreme care when being secured.

"Resolution Brest" on board Hapag-Lloyd's "Dallas Express".

For example, last summer, precise planning was the most important requirement for loading the research vessel “Resolution Brest” in the Port of Tacoma, on the West Coast of the United States. In order to heave the 25-meter-long ship on board the “Dallas Express” before it made its journey to Antwerp, the Hapag-Lloyd team first had to get their hands on a floating crane, which then pivoted the oceanographic exploration vessel precisely into the gap prepared for it.

The "Galeon 560" is reloaded onto a container vessel.

Having a lot of experience at handling atypical transport goods also helped Hapag-Lloyd’s Special Cargo team last October during the shipping of the 20-metric-ton motor yacht “Galeon 560” to Taiwan. The 18-meter-long, 4.7-meter-wide and 5.3-meter-high vessel first traveled on a feeder ship from the Polish port city of Gdingen to Hamburg. There, under the direction of the Hamburg-based team, it was reloaded onto a container vessel.

The "Alfa Romeo", an open-sea racing yacht is lifted out of the water onto the "Milan Express".

The “Alfa Romeo” is one of the fastest and most famous open-sea racing yachts ever built. When the wind is favorable, this winner of many traditional ocean regattas can achieve speeds of up to 35 knots and effortlessly leave any container vessel in its wake. This racer needed to journey from the Italian port of Genoa to Los Angeles, on the West Coast of the United States. But instead of having it sail under its own power, its owner chose the safer and more reliable option of having it transported via container vessel. Using its own crane, experts from Hapag-Lloyd lifted the yacht – measuring 30 meters long and weighing 28 metric tons – out of the water and placed it securing on board the “Milan Express”.

The "Luna Rossa" is prepared for the transport from California back to Italy.

Lastly, there was the very delicate cargo of the “Luna Rossa,” a so-called “America’s Cupper,” which Hapag-Lloyd brought from Oakland, California, back to its native Italy after the end of the 34th America’s Cup races held in 2013. Although the 22-meter-long and 14-meter-wide carbon-fiber hull of the AC72 catamaran weighs less than six metric tons, it is especially bulky and susceptible to wind. In this case, as well, a crane lifted the valuable structure directly out of the water and set it down where it would be safe, right in front of the bridge of the “Seaspan Ningbo,” a vessel chartered by Hapag-Lloyd. The shipment also included the 40-meter-long rigid wing sail of this revolutionary boat, which propels the “Luna Rossa” instead of a traditional sail and can help it reach three times the speed of the wind. For the transport by sea, the wing sail was disassembled into two parts and securely lashed down.

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