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Chinese Heavy-Lift Ship With Straddle-Carriers from Africa Calls to Dublin Port Container Terminal

3rd June 2020
Irish Continental Group's (ICG) container division of Dublin Ferryport Terminal (DFT) where a Chinese flagged heavy-lift vessel, Da Ji, is to be unloaded with the discharge of a pair of 'straddle-carrier's (container handling vehicles: see smaller cranes behind the larger gantry cranes) though this is subject to today's weather conditions. Also above in this file photo is berthed Elbetrader (974teu) one of seven chartered containerships of ICG's other container division EUCON which operate a network of 'feeder' services also from Belfast and Cork to mainland continental hub port's of Antwerp and Rotterdam. Irish Continental Group's (ICG) container division of Dublin Ferryport Terminal (DFT) where a Chinese flagged heavy-lift vessel, Da Ji, is to be unloaded with the discharge of a pair of 'straddle-carrier's (container handling vehicles: see smaller cranes behind the larger gantry cranes) though this is subject to today's weather conditions. Also above in this file photo is berthed Elbetrader (974teu) one of seven chartered containerships of ICG's other container division EUCON which operate a network of 'feeder' services also from Belfast and Cork to mainland continental hub port's of Antwerp and Rotterdam. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Afloat tracked a Chinese heavy-lift vessel loaded with a project cargo of straddle-carriers which sailed from Oran, Algeria in north Africa and arrived in Dublin Port this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The four straddle-carriers (container carrying vehicles) on board the general cargo / heavy-lift vessel Da Ji (2016/21,922grt) which is operated by the Chinese state-owned Cosco Shipping Speciliazed Carriers, had taken almost 5 days to complete the voyage.

Cosco was formerly known as the Guangzhou Ocean Shipping Co Ltd established in 1961 is the first state-owned ocean shipping enterprize of new China and is a historical breakthrough in developing China's ocean shipping business.

On arrival of Da Ji, the heavy-lift vessel was met by a pair of tugs within the port's fairway and close to the entrance. The tug Beaufort operated by Dublin Port Company led Da Ji by the bow while Giano took a position astern of the heavy-lift carrier. Afloat has identified the latter tug to be run by the Dublin 7 based Purple Water Towing Ltd. 

Together they assisted the near 180m vessel alongside one of Irish Continental Group's (ICG) container divisions, Dublin Ferryport Terminals (DFT) which took place before 10 o'clock this morning. Afloat awaits a response from ICG with information on the straddle-carriers cranes.

Subject to weather conditions today they will be unloaded at the 32 acre terminal which is held on a leasehold basis. It is not known if the straddle-carriers were loaded in north Africa or previously loaded elsewhere. As for the remaining pair of the part-cargo which is to be discharged at another port, perhaps Belfast?

DFT's terminal (located close to the Terminal 1 and used by ICG's Irish Ferries) is currently equipped with Liebherr ship-to-shore (STS) container gantry cranes (40 tonne capacity) and 10 rubber tyred gantries (40 tonne capacity).

A counterpart of the Dublin operation is ICG's Belfast Container Terminal which is the sole such terminal at Belfast Harbour which is under a services concession agreement with Belfast Harbour Commissioners (BHC). This 27 acre site is equipped with 3 STS gantry cranes, 3 rail mounted gantry cranes and 3 straddle carriers.

Da Ji is designed to carry large project cargoes asides container gantry cranes, barges and also transportation of containers.

On a related note, ICG's other container division, Eucon Shipping & Transport has one of their seven chartered load-on load off (Lo-Lo) vessels the 139m Elbecarrier also berthed at the DFT terminal. Unlike the heavy-lift vessel, the container ship was berthed on the port channel side of the facility that overall has quay length of 480m, enabling in total three vessels to berth.

The 974TEU capacity vessel operates as part of Eucon's network of routes connecting also Belfast and Cork with the mainland continental European ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp (and other ports on incentive). Noting that these hub ports are connected with road, rail and inland waterway networks penetrating into central Europe.

In order to operate these Eucon 'feeder' services that also link in with deep-sea global carriers, they deploy 3,800 owned and leased containers which is the equivalent to 7,400TEU. They include various types among them reefers i.e. refrigated containers.

On occasions large accumulations of 'empty' containerships have been loaded especially to be taken away by ship. In recent years such a development took place albeit at another leased terminal within Dublin Port's estate.

Published in Dublin Port
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Dublin Port Information

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructure such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

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