ARC adds 9th U.S.-flag ship, expands in Mideast
American Roll-on Roll-Off Carrier has acquired and reflagged to the U.S.-flag commercial fleet the vessel Endurance (formerly Taronga).
The Endurance, the company's ninth vessel, will enter service on Feb. 15. The vessel, which was delivered by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in December 1996, is considered the largest, most militarily useful ro/ro ship in the U.S.-flag fleet.
The Endurance has nine decks that can be configured to carry more than 260,000 square feet of high and heavy cargo, such as CH-47s, MRAPs, M-ATVs, tracked vehicles, construction equipment and generators; 130,000 square feet of additional high-side vehicle (SUV) space; and about 200 containers. The vessel's ramp weight capacity of 320 tons exceeds that of any vessel in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet, the company said.
ARC said both the Maritime Administration and Transportation Command have approved the Endurance to replace the ro/ro vessel Liberty in the Maritime Security Program (MSP). The Liberty, which is on charter to the Military Sealift Command, will remain under U.S.-flag, ARC said.
Included in the 2003 Maritime Security Act, MSP provides the U.S. government immediate access to 60 modern container, ro/ro, tanker and heavy-lift vessels. In return for making their ships available, MSP participants receive a payment to help offset some of the their operations costs.
With the addition of the Endurance, ARC's Middle Eastern liner service, which operates between U.S. East and Gulf coasts ports and the Mediterranean, will consist of five vessels on a 14-day frequency with 1 million square feet of standalone capacity and more than 10 million square feet of cargo capacity on an annualized round-trip basis. Regular ports of call in the Middle East region include Alexandria, Jeddah, Ash Shuaybah, Umm Qasr, Karachi and Mumbai, with other ports served on an inducement basis.
ARC also operates a three-ship liner service between U.S. East Coast ports and ports in North Europe and the United Kingdom.
Headquartered in New Jersey, ARC has satellite offices in Frankfurt, Dubai and Washington. ARC is the largest U.S.-flag ro/ro carrier and the third-largest U.S.-flag carrier overall operating in international trade.
For more details about the overall U.S.-flag ro/ro fleet, read the December 2009 American Shipper, pages 29-30.