The 200th shipset for Airbus’s A-320 final assembly line (FAL) in Tianjin, China, was loaded on to the containership “COSCO Hope” at HHLA’s Container Terminal Tollerort on 28 July and despatched onwards to Asia. Transport by sea to Tianjin lasts around 40 days. Four ‘shipsets’per month are transported by containership from the Port of Hamburg to Tianjin. The forward and rear fuselages, tailplane and rudder, the main landing gear doors and the inner landing flaps are each transported by a special transport craft from Airbus pier in Finkenwerder to HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort. The engine mounts (pylons) are delivered separately by truck to the terminal in the port. All the components are then loaded on to the containership on special sea transport frames. The wings are built in Tianjin itself and delivered there by Airbus’s partner XAC. The A320 final assembly line in Tianjin has been building A319 and A320 aircraft since 2008 and is currently completing these at a rate four per month. This was Airbus’s first final assembly line outside Europe. For over six years Airbus’s Hamburg base has functioned as logistic hub for A320 production activities outside Europe. For Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA), handling project cargo at a container terminal is routine. Cargoes from the project logistics sector are shipped regularly from the largest Hamburg cargo-handling firm’s terminals. Dr. Thomas Koch, Managing Director of HHLA‘s Container Terminal Tollerort, says: “Loading of Airbus shipsets is of importance for Hamburg as an industrial base. We are delighted by the trust shown by our customer COSCO and Airbus in this spectacular transport. Even if a certain routine has set in after 200 shipments, each one of them represents a challenge that we are happy to tackle.”
The Port of Hamburg is an important handling hub for conventional general and project cargo. In 2013 Germany’s largest seaport loaded 1.9 million tons in this segment. Project cargo accounts for a large share of exports, especially. Industrial companies from Germany, Central and Eastern Europe shipped 503,000 tons in the same year from the universal port of Hamburg that is an important hub in Europe, not only for container traffic but also in the field of conventional general and project cargo.