March 3 - As part of an increased focus on obtaining heavy and over-dimensional cargoes for its container ships, Hapag-Lloyd has established special cargo teams for the major markets in Asia and the Americas, in addition to its special cargo division at i

"Special cargo is a growing market throughout the world. Hapag-Lloyd has many years of experience in this attractive segment. We are well known and renowned for our expertise. Now we intend to reach more customers and grow in this segment as well," states Thorsten Haeser, chief commercial officer (cco) of Hapag-Lloyd.

The shipping line says it is also increasing its sales and marketing activities with regard to such cargoes to make it clear to customers that such cargoes can be transported, loaded and unloaded on almost all ships operated by Hapag-Lloyd in any major port.

During an interview with HLPFI, David Piel, Hapag-Lloyd's senior manager special cargo region Europe, said that the line now has more than 50 sales and technical specialists within the special cargo teams to support customers worldwide. "All have been given specific training and have a thorough technical understanding of handling abnormal loads."

He pointed to the fact that those customers have access to 121 liner services at present calling regularly at all major ports worldwide.

Asked whether a container shipping specialist could really handle heavy and OOG cargoes, Piel said that Hapag-Lloyd has teams of experienced engineers and navigators and provides its customers with a local contact personally supervising loading and unloading procedures for abnormal loads that do not fit into a container.

Piel also pointed to Hapag Lloyd's recent investment in over 4,500 teu of specialist equipment such as flat racks specifically design for heavy and over-dimensional cargoes.

"Our out-of-gauge business is certainly growing from Asia and India into the Middle East and we are receiving many more requests from South America since the merger with CSAV. The sales team in South America is very hot on the heavy lift business."