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The Beluga P-Series – New Forces in the super heavy lift sector

The very first Beluga multipurpose project carrier of the latest generation proved her capabilities by the transport of several large reactors during her maiden voyage. Shortly after the delivery from the equipping shipyard in Shanghai, MV “Beluga Houston” headed for the port of Yokohama, Japan. There, on December 7th and 8th 2009, the special vessel loaded two reactors destined for Aratu in Brazil, each of them weighing 485 tons and measuring 21 metres in length. In the next port of loading Pyeong Taek, South Korea, another three reactors measuring 70 metres in length and weighing 300 tons each were loaded. In the Chinese port of Mailiao further two heavy-lift modules completed the cargo, both about 250 tons heavy and more than 40 metres long. The maiden voyage of MV “Beluga Houston” illustrates the kind of transport projects which will be performed with the P-type vessels in future.

MV “Beluga Houston” was delivered as first of the all in all 16 new flag ships of Beluga Shipping with 800 to 1400 tons crane capacities, a deadweight capacity of 20,000 tons and an ice classification of Finnish-Swedish 1 A (German E3), combined with a moderate fuel consumption. The cranes are not only quicker and stronger, they are also equipped with additional a loading tackle for smaller cargoes. Thereby, two crane operators are working synchronously, thus guaranteeing that the valuable cargo is loaded safely and successfully aboard.

This business sector involving heavy goods and project loadings with individual weights of between 500 and 1400 tons, the so-called super heavy lift segment, is stable and accordingly represents an expansion-oriented, financially attractive sector. For Niels Stolberg, the entry into the super heavy lift domain is a logical development within the corporate strategy. The following adage applies as a general rule: The stability of the rate increases with the weight of the cargo – and the Beluga Shipping GmbH follows a clear strategy which focuses upon the super heavy lift sector. Thereby, innovative and customized transport solutions remain undiminished within our portfolio of services. For example, if complete industrial facilities are to be transported in the course of various project stages, the number of voyages will be kept to a minimum, for the purpose of efficiently making use of resources such as time, manpower and money eventually. The worldwide demand for ships constructed for such shipping tasks is significant – and it continues to grow. For these transport challenges, the industry is dependent on reliable logistics partners who are capable of providing the appropriate special ships. For this reason, naval architects, design engineers and shipbuilders have developed, together with the Fleet Management of Beluga, a freighter type which offers this very constituency of customers a package of “all-in-one” services. The Beluga P1-/P2-Series will be optimally tailored to meet the demands of the market. The super heavy lift sector has an enormous potential, particularly in the domain involving crane capacities of 800 tons and more. Most notably, the oil and gas markets as well as the offshore sector can rely on financially strong investors. Even in the future this transportation sector can expect to benefit from the greatest challenges in the project and heavy lift area. That is an important reason for Beluga Shipping to engage more than ever in this segment and to fulfil the increasing market demands by virtue of its new generation of multipurpose heavy lift project carriers.

For entrepreneur Niels Stolberg, this market strategy is a good and solid prerequisite for continuing the strategic expansion of his shipping company founded in 1995. “We have to load the heavy cargoes as close and, more than anything, as safely as possible and subsequently discharge them in the respective destination, regardless of the extent of the existing harbour structure. Therefore, we have to offer the international customer a variety of identically constructed ships, each capable of being deployed according to the particular demands. Given that our ships have a minimal draught, we are able to berth at nearly any quay around the world – indispensable in the tramp shipping industry,” explains Niels Stolberg.

The newly constructed vessels of the P-Class are also equipped for voyages through polar latitudes and can thus traverse the route of the Northeast Passage along the Siberian coast, which abbreviates the sea transit from Europe towards Asia by approximately one-third. As a result, not only daily expenses and fuel consumption costs are reduced, but an active contribution is made to improving environmental protection, given that the reduced usage of bunker causes the production of less climate-damaging emissions. Aboard the P-Series vessels new ballast water filtration systems are also utilized, in order to avoid the so-called “marine invasion” of small creatures and microorganisms into foreign habitats due to untreated ballast water. This also mirrors the sense of Beluga Shipping for maintaining the ecological balance of the world’s oceans.