Friday, November 19, 2010

Container Specialists Extend Operations With An Eye To The Future

MOL Move Into Asian Tugboat Business
Shipping News Feature

ASIA – JAPAN – VIETNAM - It is almost a year since our article on diversification forming a major part of the strategy of the worlds leading freight groups. In a natural extension of the activities for which they are better known i.e. container and bulk shipping, Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) have announced this week that they are getting into the tugboat business – in Vietnam.

With a multi purpose fleet worldwide of over 860 vessels this is of course not entirely new ground for the global carrier, and now that deepwater container terminals have been constructed to serve Vietnam’s Cai Mep/Thi Vai areas as a result of tremendous economic growth in Southern Vietnam MOL believe the number of large-scale vessels calling at the ports will continue to increase, so a stable tugboat service will be indispensable.

The new company has been formed by an alliance of MOL, the Saigon Newport Corporation (Vietnam) and the Haivan Shipping-Services Corporation (Vietnam) and will be known as the Tan Cang-Cai Mep Towage Services Co., Ltd. (TCTS) headquartered in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. It will utilise high-powered, high-performance tugboats in the Cai Mep/Thi Vai area to service the new container facilities southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, a new large deepwater container terminal in the Cai Mep area and a new facility being developed by MOL and other shipping groups in conjunction with a national company under the umbrella of Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense and naval forces.

TCTS has also set up tugboat and barge businesses as well as a ship agency business in the Cai Mep River and Thi Vai River areas in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and operate four tugboats (including one under construction) and five barges in the area. One of the new boats is being imported from Japan.