One of “K” Line’s newest ro-ro vessels, the Hamburg Highway, recently made its maiden call in Thailand at the Laem Chabang Port at Terminal A5.
The striking new red design stood out at the terminal while the vessel was being loaded with various automobiles for its trip back to Japan. The vessel includes new enhancements from the previous versions, including such features as a higher adaptability with a variety of cargo, increased capacity for cargo, more secure and safe loading, and a more environmentally friendly design. Larger-scales of cargo can be loaded on this newly designed ro-ro vessel beyond passenger cars, including train cars, farm machinery, mining, and construction equipment can all fit better on board. The wider and larger ramp leading up into the vessel has been improved and strengthened to handle the heavier equipment that will be loaded onto it.
“The Hamburg Highway is the second of ten ro-ro vessels of this size we have on order, and the first to call in Thailand,” said Mr. Masahiko Taki, “K” Line’s Asia Regional General Manager Car Carrier Department. “The standard ro-ro vessel size around the world is 6,000 units, but because of the recent expansion of the Panama Canal along with other research, we felt it was a good time to expand into larger ro-ro vessels.”
“This new series of vessels have a capacity of 7,500 units and is 5 meters wider, allowing us the ability to take on additional non-uniform passenger car units.”
“The double-hull design also helps with being able to load bulkier cargo, as there’s less support pillars throughout the vessel because the hull carries more of the weight, maneuvering larger cargo is made much easier. This vessel has 20% more capacity, but the engine is still the same, and the aerodynamics of have been researched and tweaked to be able to fit more on the vessel. We’re very happy with the advancements we’ve made on all aspects of the vessel.”
When speaking about the car carrier industry in general, Mr. Taki said, “I think the car carrier business is changing so much, and will continue to. Thailand is a good example of a successful car carrier destination, thanks to the automobile manufacturing industry here. In Thailand we have more than ten calls a month currently and without this cargo from Thailand, we could never expect to fill up our vessel.”
“… We’re also carrying more and more heavy machinery, as the requests for this service has risen quite a bit.”
“K” Line has a long history of designing and utilizing pure car carrier (PCC) vessels, as Japan has a very successful car export business. The PCC’s were originally designed to match our top car production customers production plan, and as the like to ship out in batches of 6,000 units, we built our PCC’s to match. Over the years the need to utilize space to its fullest has become a top priority. Competition among car carriers is also very strong and it has led us to looking into offer other carrier services beyond passenger cars to expand our portfolio. While passenger cars are still a core cargo for us, the ability to accommodate other larger cargo helps to enhance our service offerings we can provide to our loyal customers.”