PSA Breakbulk joint venture – crane in the spotlight

Fabian Klasen
June 2023

The PSA Breakbulk site in Antwerp has recently been reinforced. The new blue Liebherr LR 1750 heavy lift crawler crane, towering high into the sky, can be seen from afar. It was in the spotlight on 19 April 2023, when it was officially inaugurated together with the launch of the new Project Cargo Ecosystem product and even given its own name.

The PSA Breakbulk terminal in motion on current major projects for the offshore industry. Image source: PSA

Normally, naming is reserved for ships. But the heavy lift crane provided by Felbermayr at the PSA Breakbulk terminal is so special for the location that it was given its own name at the inauguration ceremony. Big Felb was chosen by lot from the suggestions submitted in advance.

Andrea Felbermayr (Managing Director Felbermayr) announces the name Big Felb for the heavy lift crane. Image source: PSA

“The heavy lift crane is unique at this location and fills a gap in the handling of heavy loads and oversized cargoes between 200 and 750 t,” specifies Steven Degrauw of PSA Breakbulk. The crawler crane is mobile and can be used on the terminal. The maximum outreach is 84 m, the maximum hook height is 105 m. To create the conditions for this giant, more than 1.5 million euros were initially invested in a reinforced floor plate (floor pressure capacity 95 t/m²). The project was implemented together with the HSL shareholder, the Felbermayr Group, which specialises in the installation and operation of heavy cranes.

Big Felb is in demand at the terminal, often working until 11pm. One of the first orders is to transfer 90 components weighing between 20 and 380 tonnes from various special vehicles onto the heavy-lift vessel GPO Grace. These are destined for the first wind farm to be built in the USA.

One-stop shopping with the Project Cargo Ecosystem
The new crane is part of the concept to develop the terminal into an integrated logistics hub for large-scale projects. Under the name Project Cargo Ecosystem, the terminal becomes a one-stop shop for industry partners. These can obtain all services for the support of their large-scale projects from a single source. This includes handling, storage, consolidation, pre-assembly and other value-added services. “The Eco in the product name Project Cargo Ecosystem stands on the one hand for the preferred industries from the renewable energy and sustainability sectors that we want to reach with our service, and on the other hand for the claim to make our activities at the terminal environmentally conscious,” explains Degrauw.

Heiko Brückner (CEO HSL), Andrea Felbermayr (Geschäftsführerin Felbermayr) und Per Nystroem (CFO HSL) bei der Einweihungsfeier auf dem Terminal von PSA Breakbulk. Bildquelle: PSA
Heiko Brückner (CEO HSL), Andrea Felbermayr (Managing Director Felbermayr) and Per Nystroem (CFO HSL) at the inauguration ceremony at the PSA Breakbulk terminal. Image source: PSA

Heiko Brückner, CEO of Haeger & Schmidt Logistics, adds: “We are pleased that we have been able to strengthen the project and heavy lift expertise at PSA Breakbulk since the establishment of our joint venture two years ago. Thanks to the investments in specially equipped halls and the Felbermayr heavy lift crane, we can offer our customers at the PSA Breakbulk terminal a one-stop shop that is unique in Antwerp. The complementary services of our joint venture partners allow us to develop new integrated transport solutions under the Project Cargo Ecosystem label.”

Project “floating giga-socket”
A successfully completed project impressively demonstrates that the new concept and the investments in specialisation at the Antwerp site are taking hold. Recently, a gigantic platform for wind energy was assembled on the PSA Breakbulk site and prepared for sea transport. The unit even has its own name: Baltic Eagle. In the future, the giga-socket will bundle the energy from wind turbines in the German Baltic Sea and supply 475,000 households with green electricity.

PSA Breakbulk took care of the terminal handling, the execution of the necessary technical work and the material supply for about 100 contractors. After about two weeks, the 4,550 t, five-storey giga-socket was ready for shipment.

In view of the enormous weight, the wind energy platform could only be launched at high tide, and the shipping channel on the Scheldt was briefly closed to other shipping traffic. It then took about a week before the Baltic Eagle was anchored at its destination about 30 km off the German Baltic coast.