UAE National Ship Suppliers Association

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The UASC  18,800 TEU mega-ship Barzan has made its maiden call at the Port of Felixstowe.

United Arab Shipping Company’s (UASC) newest vessel, the 18,800 teu Barzan, has made its maiden call in the UK, berthing at Felixstowe. The mega-ship arrived at the UK’s largest container port from Port Kelang in Malaysia. The Barzan is deployed on UASC’s AEC1 service between Asia and North Europe. As well as Felixstowe, the AEC1 service calls at Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Port Kelang, Rotterdam, and Hamburg.

The Barzan, considered by many to be the world’s most environmentally friendly ultra large container vessel, is the first of a series of six 18,800 teu vessels being acquired by UASC for the Asia – Europe trade. Barzan is also a part of the industry’s first LNG-ready fleet and will set new standards for fuel and energy efficiency, due to optimised vessel design and an array of efficiency technologies.

UASC, along with other carriers, is suffering from severe overcapacity on the Europe-Far East trades. To help address this problem the company has implemented a structured blank sailing program with its Ocean 3 alliance partners China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and CMA CGM. The new program, effective from week 27 to week 38 for a total of 12 sailings, is intended to give shippers plenty of notice of ‘blank’ sailings to help customers plan ahead, as an alternative to the approach of some other carriers who have been cancelling sailings on an ad hoc basis.

The AEC8 service will be blank during weeks 27, 29, 32, 35 and 37; and the AEC7 service will offer an alternative service during the blanked-out sailing weeks. AEC in turn will be blanked out on those weeks where the AEC8 is operational. The AEC1, AEC4 and AEC9 services in UASC’s Asia-Europe network will remain unchanged, although the AEC2 will be modified to complement the revised AEC7 and AEC8 sailing schedule. Overall, the changes are not expected to have any major impact on UASC’s main port calls.

According to Jørn Hinge, President and CEO at UASC said, “For our customers, it means that we will be able to support them in better planning their shipments as we are providing transparency to our blanking program, avoiding costly ad hoc solutions. At the same time, the program makes a lot of sense from an environmental point of view, which we are sure will be appreciated by a large number of our customers.”