United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has taken delivery of its eighth A13 (13,500 TEU) container vessel “AL QIBLA”, during a Naming Ceremony held at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, where the vessel was named by her sponsor, Mr Othman Ibrahim Al-Issa, Chairman of UASC’s board of directors.
In a speech that marked the official naming of the vessel Mr Al-Issa said: “AL QIBLA takes her name after a city in my homeland Kuwait, and her name carries a special spiritual meaning as well, in the Arabic language it means the direction towards which we turn for prayer”.
With the delivery of this eighth vessel, UASC is closer to completing an order of 9 A13 containerships with SHI placed in 2008 valued at USD 1.5 billion.
The nine vessels, out of which seven have already entered service, are deployed on UASC’s key trade routes between the Far East, Arabian Gulf, Red Sea and Northern Europe - On the AEC8 and AEC2 and AGX1 services.
Jorn Hinge President & CEO of UASC commented during this ceremony: “The deployed ships are living up to expectations and are providing substantial savings in operational cost, which, combined with recent freight increases have resulted in a substantial improvement for UASC”.
“AL QIBLA” Naming Ceremony was attended by dignitaries such as Kuwait’s ambassador to South Korea Mr Muteb Al-Mutoteh, SHI’s senior management, several of UASC’s financial partners and members of UASC’s Executive Management and senior staff.
In his address during the event, UASC’s chairman Mr Al-Issa complemented SHI, Technolog (UASC’s project Consultants) and Germanisher Lloyd for their hard work and for a smooth operation in successfully bringing to completion AL QIBLA.
The last of the nine A13 vessels will be delivered on May 2, 2012 in Geoje with an anticipated Official Naming Ceremony scheduled to take place in Dubai – Jebel Ali, towards mid June 2012.
UASC currently owns and operates a total of 48 container ships and with the introduction of the A13 vessels; a new era begins for the Company.
The investment in the A13 class vessels is expected to yield important economies of scale, allowing UASC to compete more effectively in key trades. The new bigger ships will reduce UASC’s per TEU transportation cost substantially and will place UASC in a much stronger position offering a highly competitive product.
The new A13s are also green ships, incorporating some of the most eco-friendly technology in a number of fields. All of the vessels are equipped with a waste heat recovery system, which converts exhaust gases to electric power, the ships hulls are coated with a silicone paint designed to reduce water resistance and so cut fuel consumption. According to Mr Hinge, “The cost saving from the environment-conscious technology onboard will be significant, but equally importantly they will reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere.”
The company’s new fully integrated liner management system called TRUST has recently become fully operational. This system will enhance UASC’s e-commerce capabilities allowing customers direct access to manage and track their shipments online 24/7 at http://uasconline.uasc.net