Overnight from 25 to 26 September 2011, the GRANDE SIERRA LEONE docked at the Unikai terminal at the Port of Hamburg for the first time. It is the first sailing of the newbuild in the West Africa service operated by Grimaldi Lines.
The GRANDE SIERRA LEONE joins the “Southern Express” service of the Grimaldi Lines, which now operates with a total of six ConRo ships and links Hamburg with the West African ports of Casablanca, Dakar, Conakry, Lome, Pointe Noire, Luanda and Douala. On the south-bound leg, the port rotation includes Amsterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp, Le Havre, Bilbao, Leixoes and Lisbon. The deployment of the GRANDE SIERRA LEONE allows Grimaldi to step up the frequency of departures to West Africa from ten to eight days.
The GRANDE SIERRA LEONE completes the series of twelve Grande newbuilds. Grimaldi had seven of the vessels built at the Uljanik shipyard in Pula, Croatia; the other five were built by Hyundai in Korea. With a length of 210 metres and a draught of 9.5 metres, the ships in the Grande class can carry 2,000 cars/vans, 800 TEU (20-foot standard containers) and provide 2,000 linear metres with a track width of 2.5 metres to accommodate extra large and heavy cargo such as trucks and construction vehicles. General cargo is transported on roll trailers or loaded conventionally using forklift trucks with a carrying capacity of 38 tons. The stern ramp can support a load of 250 tons, and the two Liebherr on-board cranes can each lift 45 tons.
“Hamburg is the key port in northern Europe for the Grimaldi Group. It is from here that we service the West African continent as well as the east coast of South America and a number of destinations in the Mediterranean. For the year 2012, we will be able to increase our ca-pacities further still, and our current planning is for about 250 arrivals at the Unikai terminal,” announced Dirk Peters. The Grimaldi subsidiary ACL also sails for the eastern coast of North America from here.
“A total of eight liner services now link Hamburg with ports in West Africa, and container traf-fic between Hamburg and West Africa increased by more than 82,000 TEU in 2010, which represents a growth rate of 54 per cent,” said Axel Mattern
. This strong growth on the West Africa route was also the decisive factor in the positive overall trend in the Port of Hamburg's Africa traffic as a whole. Last year some 200,000 TEU were shipped between Hamburg and ports in Africa (+23.4 per cent).
“The positive trend carried through to the first half of 2011. About 43,000 TEU were shipped between Hamburg and West Africa between January and June, generating 7.5 per cent of additional growth. Imports from West Africa amounted
to 29,000 TEU, compared with about 14,000 TEU in exports,” said Mattern.
The staple imports carried
by sea from West Africa and transhipped via the Port of Hamburg are cocoa, timber, textiles, raw materials, furniture, rubber and coffee. Exports are primarily vehicles, but grain, fertiliser, chemical products and other machinery and equipment are also shipped to West Africa via Hamburg.