MAERSK LINE LTD. UPGRADES U.S.-FLAG FLEET WITH FOUR MODERN SHIPS
Maersk Line Ltd., the U.S.-flag vessel operator for A.P. Moller, will buy four modern Panamax G-Class containerships to replace four aging 1,200-TEU containerships.
Kenneth C. Gaulden, senior vice president of government marketing for Maersk Line Ltd., said the company’s continued investment in its U.S.-flag fleet will lead to increased containership capacity to support the sealift needs of both its military and commercial shippers.
The four new ships — “Maersk Missouri,” “Maersk Carolina,” “Maersk Georgia,” and “Maersk Virginia” — each have a capacity of 4,300 TEUs. The ships, which are part of the U.S. Maritime Security Program, will operate in the carrier’s liner service between the U.S. East Coast and ports in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, starting in mid-October.
“Maersk Line Ltd. will be the only carrier operating a direct U.S.-flag liner service to the Middle East region, which is an important area of the world to many of our commercial and government customers,” Gaulden said. “This direct U.S.-flag service will shorten transit times, improve service reliability, and provide added cargo security.”
The carrier’s U.S.-flag operations continue to expand. In August, Maersk Line Ltd. was awarded a five-year $400 million vessel operations contract from the U.S. Military Sealift Command. Under the contract, Maersk Line Ltd. operates eight large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships near Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
Maersk Line Ltd. was also involved in a recent round of hearings regarding renewal of MSP, which expires on Sept. 30, 2005. The carrier wants to have direct control over all its MSP ships through a change in the section 2 citizenship requirements.
Currently, Maersk Line Ltd., a documentation citizen company, charters back 15 former Sea-Land vessels in MSP from section 2 citizen firm U.S. Ship Management. Maersk Line Ltd. operates four MSP ships under its direct control.
“We are working hard to remove various impediments that have stifled growth and investment in the U.S. merchant fleet,” said John Clancey, chairman for Maersk Inc.