In early March, Chipolbrok’s multipurpose vessel Qian Kun arrived in the German port of Cuxhaven to deliver wind power equipment from the Far East.

The ship then called at the port of Rouen in France to deliver a tunnel boring machine for the Paris metro expansion project.

Chipolbrok then began the westbound service, calling at the port of Antwerp to load steel commodities and general cargo, including two 169-tonne diesel engines. The units were lifted by the ship’s own cranes from river barges. They were loaded into Qian Kun’s third lower-hold hatch.

Continuing on its journey, the multipurpose vessel called at Wallmann & Co’s terminal in the southern part of the port of Hamburg to load various heavy units, weighing up to 357 tonnes, destined for an offshore project near the Chinese port of Nansha.

The ship then moved to C. Steinweg’s terminal in the eastern part of the port where cargoes weighing up to 144 tonnes were stowed on board. A 60-tonne, five-axle mobile crane and rolling stock, measuring up to 22.4 m in length, were also loaded.

The long units were stowed under deck, along with a 63-tonne generator and a 46-tonne heat exchanger.

Terminal operators also loaded a 44-tonne yacht before the ship moved on to Bremen to collect a dismantled dock crane that will be transported to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The heaviest component weighed 37.8 tonnes. The crane jib, which measured 68.4 m, was stowed on deck over two hatches.

As the spread of Covid-19 continues to change the way the transport and logistics industry operates, Chipolbrok had to overcome some new challenges for these port calls. The carrier explained: “There is only a very limited number of stevedores and lashing people on board. All staff involved is reduced to a minimum. There is no personal contact – no hand shakes, no accumulation of people staying together.

“But of course it cannot be avoided that onshore men, stevedores, crane drivers have to work hand-in-hand as a team, which sometimes requires a distance to each other of less than 2 m. This is also the case for safety reasons when handling shackles, wires, slings and grommets, etc that require more than two hands.

“The importance of the project and breakbulk shipping segment should not be underestimated,” said Chipolbrok. Power plants, infrastructure projects, the chemical industry and health care production all depend on this sector.