Monday, February 10, 2014

Break Bulk Freight and Container Shipping Lines Join Forces to Extend US and Caribbean Services

American Arm of Traditional European Group to Work with Puerto Rican Specialist Carrier
Shipping News Feature

US – PUERTO RICO – Rickmers-Linie (America) has joined up with National Shipping of America (NSA) to extend break bulk freight services to Puerto Rico and give the customers of NSA, which operates a fortnightly service between Houston, Port Everglades, and the Caribbean Commonwealth island state, extended connections to the world at large via the Rickmers-Linie global services network.

National Shipping of America deploys the MV National Glory, a 570 TEU, 13,800 DWT vessel sailing under the US flag and endorsed for Jones Act trades on its Isla Verde Express service. The National Glory is the only vessel in the domestic Puerto Rico trade that is constructed to carry both containers and break bulk/project cargoes, both above and under deck.

Rickmers-Linie (America) is based in Houston, Texas, and is part of the Rickmers Group, a global provider of maritime services with a 180-year tradition and a special focus on project, break bulk, and heavy lift cargoes. The parent company operates a ten strong dedicated fleet on its round-the-world Pearl String Service which connects sixteen ports in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It calls fortnightly at Houston, where Puerto Rico-destined cargo will relay directly to the vessel of National Shipping with minimal dwell time.

The two companies have very different pedigrees with NSA only established in 2007 by Dr C.C. Chen, a pioneer of short sea shipping in Asia and also the founder of Wan Hai Lines in 1965 whereas Rickmers can trace its roots back to the 1830’s. Torey Presti, President of National Shipping of America, commented:

“Puerto Rico is one of the most densely populated islands in the world, and is greatly dependent on ocean services to provide everything from foodstuffs to project cargo to oversize materials and equipment. Access to a global vessel network with break bulk capabilities is especially beneficial to support the unique needs of an island trade.”

For its part Hamburg headquartered Rickmers-Linie is also to serve as general sales agent for NSA throughout North America and Robert Sappio, President and CEO of Rickmers-Linie (America) Inc explained the logic of this cooperation, saying:

“We are pleased to offer Puerto Rico as an additional destination to our customers, by connecting our Pearl String Service with NSA’s Isla Verde Express, we greatly expand options for Puerto Rico shippers to source goods from virtually anywhere in the world. We are honoured to be nominated as NSA’s sales agent and are looking forward to a fruitful partnership. Rickmers-Linie will bring its market knowledge and 100-country global scope to further enhance the success of National Shipping of America in the growing Puerto Rico trade.”

Photo: National Glory under way.