The Hamburg port operator, HHLA, is teaming up with Fraunhofer Institut to explore the possibilities for container-carrying drones. Is this what we are waiting for is the first question we need to ask ourselves.

“With us container learn to fly,” Angela Titzrath (below) CEO of HHLA, told members of the local press at HHLA’s annual results conference last week.

Containers fly with HHLA

HHLA and the Fraunhofer Institut Center für Maritime Logistik (CML) and an as yet unnamed partner from the aircraft industry will work together to investigate whether containers could be transported through the air by drones. Technically, it may be possible yet but for now drones have not been designed to carry a 20Mt container loaded or an empty container weighing up to 2 tons.

Drone transport would add to the diversity of ways to move containers that HHLA is already working on.

Mrs Titzrath also said: “Now that it is technically feasible, it is up to us to find solutions that are economical and to establish a time frame for such technology to be made available.”

We have seen many of these projects emerging and with all the good intentions, the idea of having a huge number of drones in the Port of Hamburg flying through the air, with all the energy that it takes and the cost that it brings with it, as well as the risks and legal implications (maritime versus airfreight terms & conditions), the practicality is far to be seen.

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