This is something unusual and something that most people wouldn’t think about – the shipping of vehicles across the globe. We all know they come via ship, however do you know how big the ships are?
Höegh Autoliners is a company that performs this important function for all buyers and the manufacturers. Based in Norway, Höegh uses PCTC vessels – Pure Car and Truck Carriers and a few years ago shipped 6,316 vehicles on one vessel from India to overseas markets for Volkswagen and other manufacturers. The crazy thing is that the ship wasn’t full – it can carry up to 7,850 vehicles at a time!
The vessel – the Höegh St Petersburg – was built in 2009 and has 13 decks for the vehicles, that’s some ship. Höegh has a fleet of 52 vessels with the largest capable of carrying 8,500 vehicles. They ship to all continents using 11 different routes and look like they are the prime transportation for vehicles the world over.
Just last month they announced an extension to their Europe to the Middle East service that runs fortnightly. They will extend the run to Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan such that other Asia countries can be serviced from Singapore. It is possible that the majority of imported vehicles are handled by one of Höegh’s ships!
The company started in 1927 as a simple shipping company and started to specialise in oil transportation before moving into other bulk goods. By the mid 1960s they were using roll-on/roll-off and lift-on/lift-off vessels for vehicles and this has become a huge business for them with fortnightly and monthly routes now in operation.
Interestingly the company was floated on the stock exchange in 1987 however in 2003, the third generation of the Höegh family raised enough funds to privatise it again. Next you buy a car that wasn’t built locally, think of the behemoth that shipped it to you!
Image source: Höegh Autoliners