On February 23 2011, the container vessel CSCL Star called the port of Hamburg on her maiden voyage in their Far East liner service Asia-Europe Express-1/China-Europe-Mediterranean Service (AEX-1/CEM).
CSCL Star with a capacity of 14 074 TEU, based on her container slot capacity, is the largest container vessel ever dispatched in the port of Hamburg. With a length of 1,200 ft and a beam of 168 ft the CSCL Star can load 20 rows of containers. Fully loaded she reaches a maximum draft of 50.8 ft.
The port of Hamburg is served on a weekly basis in the joint AEX-1 service of China Shipping and Evergreen which was founded in July 2009. The round voyage takes 56 days and serves the following ports: Hamburg, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Felixstowe, Hamburg. The vessels of Evergreen are calling in addition the port of Qingdao.
The container traffic with Asia in Hamburg reached a total volume of 4.7 million TEU With 2,7 million TEU and an increase of almost 20 per cent the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong, has in 2010 again held the top position of the 10 most important trading partners of the port of Hamburg in container trade. The importance of Hamburg for the Far East also reflects the cargo composition of China Shipping. Every third container carried by the Chinese shipping company is destined for Hamburg, plus a large portion of transit cargoes.
Hongzhou Zhao, China Shipping Vice President, praised the excellent service quality and the productivity of the largest German seaport. However, at the same time he criticised the high costs for transit containers in comparison with other European ports. His expectations for 2011 are dampened due to the large number of new buildings come into operations this year.
ULCCS (Ultra Large Container Ships) with capacities of more than 10 000 TEU are increasingly calling at the port of Hamburg. 125 ULCS were dispatched in 2010. For 2011 the Port of Hamburg Marketing expects the number to double and to reach some 250 superlative container vessels.
This number is a clear sign of the attraction of the port’s location for the international ship
ping industry. It clearly shows the importance and priority for the upgrading of the fairway of the lower and outer Elbe. It should not be overlooked that if these giant container ship are calling the port of Hamburg they are restricted to a limited time window due to the present draft and breadth restrictions of the Elbe River.
CSCL Star is the first of China Shipping‘s container vessels with
a container capacity of more than 10 000 TEU. Their total fleet consists of approximately 450 vessels, thereof 143 container vessels with capacities of up to 14 000 TEU. CSCL has presently an order book of 15 new buildings for 3000 – 8500 TEU vessels. In addition 7 sister vessels of the size of the CSCL Star, of which 5 units will still be delivered by Samsung Shipyard in Koje/South Korea in 2011, will be added to their fleet. Mr. Hongzhou Zhao, Vice President China Shipping, does not exclude that vessels of 18 000 TEU plus capacity could be of interest to China Shipping in future.