Heaviest Object Ever Lifted By A Crane

Heaviest Object Ever Lifted By A Crane

Although our mobile HIAB cranes are strong, being able to lift 40 tonne/metre, they’re nowhere near as strong as this brute. After penning a recent blog about the biggest truck in the world, we couldn’t resist finding out more about heavy-duty cranes and just how much the strongest crane in the world is able to lift.

The clear winner in the Heaviest Crane Lift Ever category turns out to be the ‘Taisun’ crane at Yantai Raffles Shipyard, Yantai, China.

Back on 18th April 2008, it was able to lift a barge ballasted with water with a total weight of 20,133 tonnes (or 44,385,667.25 lbs). It’s no surprise that the barge was dressed for the occasion with a banner which read 20,000t WORLD RECORD to highlight just what was being achieved on that particular sunny April day.

Just how heavy is 20,000 tonnes?

Some 11 years later, the world record still stands and to give you an idea of just how heavy the dead-weight lifted by the Taisun was, here are a few comparisons of how much 20 thousand tonnes actually is:

  • An average Land Rover Discovery weighs about 2 tonnes so it’s the equivalent of the crane lifting 10,000 at once
  • A Boeing 747 weighs around 181 tonnes when unladen/empty so the crane could lift 181 of them
  • Weighing around 6 tonnes on average, the Taisan crane could lift 3,333 Africa elephants

Hopefully, the above comparisons will give you a fair idea of just how much 20 thousand tonnes actually is; suffice it to say, it’s a lot of elephants!

More about the heaviest crane lift world record holder

The general operating purpose of this record-breaking heavy lifter is for the installation of very large modules in semi-submersibles (e.g. offshore drilling rigs) and FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) projects. It’s located at Yantai Raffles Shipyard in Yantai, China and was originally made to install huge integrated modules on top of a vessel’s hull.

Before the Taisun, semi-submersibles or FPSOs tended to be constructed in module form, typically of 1000 to 2000 sections. Because of this, much of the installation work had to be done on board which meant that the efficiency and speed of the project were compromised. Now Taisun is on the scene, the upper and lower parts of the vessel can be constructed at the same time. The net result is way shorter construction man-hours coupled with an improvement in quality and safety. In fact, according to this old article from 2008 on the ‘Offshore’ website, the heavy-duty Taisun crane’s ability to lift 20 thousand tonnes was estimated to save about 2 million man-hours on projects that would normally consist of moving much smaller pieces one at a time.


2008 was definitely a good year for the Taisun crane as it also won the Woelfel Best Mechanical Engineering Achievement Award at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) the same year for having a significant impact on the offshore industry.

The heaviest object ever lifted

When reading this article, you may well have got the impression that Taisun holds the world record for the heaviest object ever to be lifted on land but this isn’t the case. In fact, the current record for this was set on 17th October 2011 and stands at an astonishing 23,178 tonnes (51.1 million lbs). The object lifted was part of the North Rankin B Platform and it was raised to a height of 26.5 metres at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. Rather than a crane lift, this was more of a “push-up” whereby 15 push-up towers with extra bracing were used to safely lift the deck.

So, although the heaviest object ever lifted wasn’t carried out by the heavy-duty Taisun crane, it still holds the world record for the heaviest ever crane lift and is the reigning strongman of the crane world in our book.

Lead image kindly shared by HaakmanOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Ton vs Tonne – What’s The Difference?

Ton vs Tonne – What’s The Difference?

Ton or Tonne? – It’s kinda like one of those “You say tomay-toe, I say tomar-toe” type scenarios, only slightly more confusing! Although everyone knows what a tomato is, the word is pronounced slightly differently depending on whereabouts you live in the world.

Conversely, the weight measurements of ‘ ton‘ and ‘tonne‘ are pronounced the same whether you live in the US or the UK although they actually convey slightly different weight measurements. Confused already? If you are, it’s no surprise so in this short post we’ll try to clear up any ambiguity between the two different types of spelling and which one should be used – and when.

As we’re in the haulage business, measurements of weight are a crucial part of our everyday operations so it’s important we provide highly accurate and exact information to our customers so that they know exactly what weight restrictions apply to our vehicles. For example, our long-reach HIAB cranes have a capacity of 40 tonnes/metre. Note we use ” 40 tonnes” to denote the internationally recognised (and decimalised) metric weight of 40,000 kilograms (kgs). Originally adopted in France in 1795, the metric system is now the standardised way that most countries around the world measure things… unless you live in the US of course.

The Metric Tonne

All over the world, including the UK, one metric tonne is exactly 1000 kgs. Similarly, 1 kg is equal to 1000 grams (g). We like this; all divisible by the number 10 so nice and simple so far huh? In Imperial measurements, one tonne = 2204.6 lbs

The United States Ton

If you live in the US, using the three-letter version ton is standard practice and you’ll rarely see it spelled with the NE on the end. But exactly how much is it? Well, one United States ton (also known as a short ton) is equivalent to 2000 pounds (lbs), which is 907.185 kilograms (kgs). To drive you even more bonkers, in our HIAB crane example above, this would be 44.09 US tons rather than 40 metric tonnes. Ouch, my brain hurts but let’s continue.

Oh, and don’t worry, there’s a summary of all of this at the bottom of this post 🙂

To crunch some more numbers, one US ton (short ton) = 0.907 tonnes so this means that a US ton is lighter than a metric tonne. In other words, one tonne is 2204.6 pounds (lbs) so it’s over 200lbs heavier than a US ton.

Short and long tons

To fry our synapses even more, as well as short tons, there are also long tons. A long ton is an old-school Imperial measurement that’s equivalent to 2,240 pounds (lbs) or 1.016 metric tonnes. A long ton can also be called an imperial ton, a weight ton or a displacement ton (which is mainly a shipping term).

‘Ton’ used in a casual descriptive sense

It’s a word we commonly use casually to depict a lot of something or a large amount – e.g:

  • I can’t get away from work any earlier as I have a ton of paperwork to do.
  • While putting up my garden fence, I had to move a ton of dirt.

In the examples above, we’re generalising and simply trying to convey the idea of a lot of stuff without meaning an exact quantity, which is, of course, fine. It’s also worth noting that tonne can be substituted above too as we’re only speaking in a colloquial or everyday way.

When to use Tonne

The examples below will give you an idea. As you can see, they both refer to specific and exact measurements of weight:

  • I’ve ordered one tonne of sand from the builders’ merchant for delivery next Thursday.
  • A BelAZ 75710 mining dump truck can cope with a 450-tonne payload.

When to use ton (predominantly in the USA):

A million dollars in one dollar notes weighs just under a ton (short ton).

The Empire State Building is estimated to weigh 360,000 tons.

How to remember the difference between the two

If you want a handy way to simplify how to remember the difference, this page suggests that you focus on the NE at the end of tonne. When you see it used, recall in your mind that on a world map, the NE signifies that the UK is to the North East (NE) of the USA. Simple but effective I suppose.


To try and keep this somewhat confusing topic simple, here are a few bite-sized summaries:

  • 1 tonne is the standard worldwide metric weight for 1000kgs
  • 1 ton is the word predominantly used in the USA and equals 2000lbs (approx. 907kg)
  • 1 tonne is about 93 kilos heavier than 1 US ton
  • The terms short and long ton are rarely used anymore
  • Either word can be used casually e.g. my brain hurts a ton after reading all this!
ULEZ Euro 6 – What’s the big deal?

ULEZ Euro 6 – What’s the big deal?

As all transport and haulage companies that operate in Central London will know, the rules regarding vehicle emissions have just had another big shake-up. Earlier this month on the 8th April 2019, any diesel vehicle, whether it be a car, van or lorry must be ULEZ ( Ultra Low Emission Zone) Euro 6 compliant.

Nowadays, pretty much every vehicle from a small van to an articulated lorry is powered by a diesel engine. This means that any company that runs its own fleet of commercial vehicles and has to drive in and out of London on a regular basis will have to either comply with the new rules or pay a hefty charge. So, as long as your diesel vehicle is ULEZ Euro 6 complaint, you’ll have nothing to worry about but if it’s not, you’ll have to pay the £12.50 daily fee.

What’s more, if your vehicle doesn’t meet the new standard and you drive in and out of the zone over a 2-day timeframe, you’ll have to pay it twice. In other words, if your lorry enters the central London emission zone at 10pm and leaves the zone 4 hours later at 2am, it’ll cost you £25.

While this may not be a huge issue for some transport companies that only occasionally pass through the central London, it’s a big problem for companies that operate daily in the Capital but don’t run a modern fleet of trucks.

Are HJ Logistic’s vehicles ULEZ Euro 6 compliant?

The short answer is yes – As our HIABs and low loaders frequently need to travel into central London, we have to be compliant with the new rules; especially as some of the work we do relates to construction and civil engineering projects that can only be done during the late evening/early morning when the roads are much quieter.

Admittedly, keeping our fleet up to date is a costly business but being ULEZ Euro 6 compliant means that we’re doing all we can to help keep London’s air cleaner. Furthermore, we’re also “future-proofing” ourselves against the upcoming emission zone changes that will most likely come into effect as of October 2021. This is likely to hit many transport companies hard and will quite possibly put some out of business. Any firm that operates anywhere within the north or south circular on a regular basis will either have to invest in new vehicles or cough up the daily charge for each vehicle entering the newly-expanded zone.

Check to see if your vehicle is compliant

If you’ve got this far and are thinking to yourself “hey, I don’t need to worry about any of this stuff; I own a car and it runs on petrol” then you may be in for a nasty shock. Although this article has centred around the ULEZ Euro 6 rule changes and its impact on the transport industry, the new rules DO affect petrol vehicles too. So, even if you never drive into central London but do sometimes cross the boundaries of London’s north or south circular roads, your vehicle will need to be compliant as well.

As a general rule of thumb, if your petrol car was registered with the DVLA before 2005 it most likely won’t meet the new “Euro 4” standards that apply to petrol powered cars. If it was registered after this time, you’ll probably be OK. However, if you want to double-check for your own peace of mind, the TfL (Transport for London) website has a useful page where you can simply put in your car’s registration number to see if it’s exempt or not. If it isn’t, now is probably a good time to trade it in for an upgrade!

Are electric vehicles greener than diesel?

Are electric vehicles greener than diesel?

As everyone knows, the haulage industry is heavily reliant on diesel engines to power their trucks. While electric and hybrid cars are becoming more widespread on UK roads, it doesn’t look likely that you’ll see electric powered rigid and artic. trucks on our roads anytime soon. Aside from the sheer size (and weight) of the batteries that would be required to power them, the cost would most likely be astronomical.

In short, hauling a family of four on a day trip to the seaside in a modest sized family car is a far-cry from hauling heavy plant machinery around the country on the back of an articulated lorry.

Are electric vehicles really greener anyway?

Most of us naturally assume that because electric cars purr along quietly without spluttering out harmful exhaust fumes, they must be far better for the environment than their gas-guzzling diesel (or petrol) counterparts. Surprisingly, this view that many of us began to take for granted is now being challenged. There is growing dissent among some industry professionals who now claim that electric vehicles (EVs) may actually be worse for the environment than diesel powered ones.

Although sales of electric vehicles have gone through the roof in recent years, this new challenge to their eco-friendly image could cast a shadow over future sales of electric vehicles. It could even scupper plans to phase out production of diesel cars entirely over the coming years, making it even less likely that EVs will filter their way down into the haulage industry in the not too distant future.

Dr. Jan Burgard, Managing Partner at Berylls Strategy Advisors (a German automotive consultancy firm) made this comment regarding electric vehicles (you’ll need to use Google’s Translate function if you visit the link):

… they do not promise to improve the situation under CO2 aspects. After all, our energy mix and thus electricity for e-cars are still heavily based on fossil fuels. However, the climate does not care whether carbon dioxide comes from the exhaust or is released when burning lignite for power generation or energy-intensive battery production.

Charging the battery

In other words, just because you don’t see CO2 emissions billowing out of the back of electric cars, doesn’t mean that a huge amount of CO2 isn’t used to manufacture the battery packs in the first place, and to keep them charged up afterward. In order to do this, the car obviously needs to be plugged into an electricity supply and the energy used to generate this often comes from burning fossil fuels; and therin lies the problem.

Electric battery manufacture

Another big problem is the amount of energy that’s needed to produce the lithium-ion car battery pack in the first place. Aside from the production of the rest of the car itself, producing the battery alone results in a very high “carbon footprint”. According to the study, in order to build a 500KG battery in a factory that is powered by fossil fuel, you’ll clock up 74% more carbon emissions than if you produced a traditional non-electric vehicle. In fact, it’s estimated that if the electric vehicle was made in Germany, it could take up 10 years to break even with a modern-day energy efficient car that has a traditional engine.

Burgard goes on to say that perhaps we should consider sticking to diesel for the time being if the CO2 targets set by the EU are to be achieved by the year 2030.

With the manufacturing of the battery being a big problem, Berylls also put forward another example of how an average German (non-electric) car could drive for more than 50,000 kilometres before a Nissan Leaf with a 30 kWh battery would surpass it in CO2 terms if it was made in a country that relies heavily on coal. Bear in mind that the Nissan Leaf is a relatively modest sized car; the BMW i3 has a 42 kWh battery whilst the new Audi e-tron (their first all-electric car) will have a whopping 80 kWh one – Ouch!


Although we’ve mostly highlighted the bad points above, it should be noted that the figures mainly relate to how any electrical energy is generated in the first place; either for car/battery production or when recharging the car battery once the EV is in everyday use by the consumer. If more sustainable (non-fossil fuel) methods are further developed in the future, some of the issues we’ve mentioned above will become less of a problem. One thing is for sure though, HJ Logistics diesel powered HGVs are here to stay… for the time being at least anyway.

What is the biggest truck in the world?

What is the biggest truck in the world?

At HJ Logistics we’re no strangers to big trucks but it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see one of these monsters parked in our Kent depot. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s the BelAZ 75710 and it’s officially the biggest truck in the world.

More about the BelAZ 75710

Made in Belarus, this enormous lorry is classed as a “haul truck” and belongs to the “ultra class” category for this type of vehicle. In a nutshell, a haul truck is an off-road rigid dump truck that’s specifically made for high-production mining and heavy-duty construction sites. They can also be used to transport construction equipment from site to site. Some haul trucks have to be multi-axled so they’re able to support the heavy equipment they’re carrying. The ultra-class that this particular BelAZ belongs to means that it must have a minimum carrying capacity of 272 tonnes or more.

As you’d expect, the monstrous BelAZ 75710 doesn’t have a problem carrying such meagre loads as it can cope with a single payload of up to 450 metric tonnes, thus securing its place as the undisputed biggest truck in the world. When it’s empty, this giant weighs 360 metric tonnes meaning that when it’s fully loaded, the total gross weight comes in at 810 tonnes. To give you an idea of just how heavy this is, a fully-loaded A380 Airbus weighs in at 1,265,000 pounds (574 tonnes), so as you can see, the BelAZ outstrip that by a country mile – Wow!

A380 Airbus

The BelAZ is significantly heavier than a full-capacity ‘double decker’ Airbus A380, including passengers, freight and all luggage

How big is it?

The truck itself is 20.6 metres long, 8.16 metres high and 9.87 metres wide. To give you an idea of scale, (in case you don’t have a tape measure handy) the length is around the same as two London double-decker buses parked end-to-end. Easily bigger than an average house, it also has eight massive Michelin tubeless pneumatic tyres which are more than twice the height of an average person.

Watch the video

Engine and top speed

This colossus may be big and thirsty, but it sure can move. Despite being such a hefty giant, it can still manage an impressive 64kph (which is around 40 mph). As far as the grunt under the bonnet is concerned, it actually has two 16-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines, although it can run on just one of them to save fuel when it’s empty and each MTU 65-litre 16-cylinder four stroke diesel engine can deliver around 2,300 horsepower, making a total of 4,600. To put this in perspective, this is around 8.5 times more than a brand new Porsche 911 Turbo, which delivers a mere 540 horsepower.

BelAZ 75710 – How many miles per gallon (mpg)?

One of the questions we really wanted to know the answer to is how many miles to the gallon does this gas-guzzler do? Well, according to the estimates, this behemoth consumes 1,300 litres per 100km so, for those who like their measurements a bit more “old school”, this translates as 343 gallons per 62 miles. So, if we divide 343 by 62, we get 5.5 so it would appear that the BelAZ 75710 can actually do around 5.5 mpg (miles per gallon), which is pretty impressive considering its sheer size.

The BelAZ 75710 -The biggest in the world

A Belarus postage stamp celebrating the BelAZ 75710 dump truck


So there you have it, if you were wondering what the biggest truck in the world was, we hope we’ve answered most of your questions in today’s blog but if we’ve missed anything or you spot any inaccuracies, please let us know in the comments section below.

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