UASC joins big ship leagues
Liner carrier United Arab Shipping Co. said Tuesday it has received its first 13,500-TEU vessel, part of an order of nine so-called A13 vessels from South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries.
The UASC Umm Salal is named after an area of Qatar famed for its historic monuments.
'The delivery of this vessel is hugely significant as it represents a momentous landmark in the history of UASC,' said Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al Thani, the government of Qatar's representative on UASC's board of directors. 'With the handing over of Umm Salal, a new era for the company starts to take shape.'
The remaining eight ships are to be delivered during the first four months of 2012. The ships have reefer capacity of 1,600 TEUs and will be deployed on UASC's AEC8, launched in March this year with China Shipping Container Line, CMA CGM and Evergreen. The service connects ports in China and Malaysia with Le Havre, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Zeebrugge in northern Europe.
|UASC received the 13,500-TEU Umm Salal, the first of a nine-ship order.|
'When the full fleet of nine A13 vessels has been delivered, however, UASC will use its latest newbuildings to establish a standalone service covering the Europe/Asia trades, with direct calls in the Middle East, the company's core market,' the line said.
The A13 ships are the biggest in UASC's fleet, with its A7 series vessels, delivered in 2008, having a capacity of around 6,900 TEUs. The line said it expects the A13 vessels to yield important economies of scale, allowing UASC to compete more effectively in the key Europe/Asia trades.
'The delivery of the Umm Salal is a very important moment for us as it signals our commitment to expand our service profile in the main east/west trades,' said Jorn Hinge, UASC chief executive officer. 'We are confident that having these bigger ships will reduce our per-TEU transportation costs substantially and will make us a much stronger competitor within these east/west trades, in addition to our traditional Middle East trades and in many other markets worldwide.'
In preparation for the arrival of the new vessels, UASC has over the past year introduced a number of new north/south container shipping services connecting the traditional UASC network with new markets in West Africa, Australia and South America.
'We know that high levels of utilization will be required if we are fully to benefit from the economy of scale potential these A13 class ship offer,' Hinge said. 'The lower slot costs provided by our new ships will enable us to enter a number of north/south trades with a highly competitive product.'
UASC said it also expanded its container-purchasing program, investing in new standard and reefer container units.