Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Heavy Lift RoCon and Tanker Operator Recognised by US Authorities

Qualification Can Equate to More Efficient Freight Transit Times
Shipping News Feature
US – SAUDI ARABIA – Given the restrictions of the Jones Act, a subject which still prompts controversy almost a century after its adoption, foreign shipowners welcome any chance of being accepted as bona fide suppliers of ocean borne transport. DKT Allseas, as agents for the line, advise us that heavy lift RoCon carrier and tanker operator Bahri, the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA), announced this week that its vessels are now enrolled in the United States Coast Guard's QUALSHIP 21 programme, which recognizes foreign flagged vessels with a high quality of operations and maintenance. Less than 10% of the ships that call at US ports meet QUALSHIP 21 eligibility requirements.

Under the restrictions of the Jones, more properly the Merchant Shipping, Act vessels must be built and flagged in the US and crews and maintenance staff must be US citizens. These are the only craft allowed to operate on domestic delivery routes. Any foreign vessels entering US waters are routinely examined at least once a year by Customs officials and in 2001 the QUALSHIP 21 programme was introduced to recognise those companies which have exceptional standards.

Bahri is the world’s second largest VLCC tanker owner, and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih recently announced that it will grow its fleet to become the largest. Its five business units cover the transportation of crude oil, oil products, chemical, bulk and general cargo, and it also provides ship management services. Beyond ship operations, it is also part of the consortium behind a major greenfield shipyard development at the new port in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia.

The three-year enrolment provides Bahri with a number of benefits, including limited oversight when calling at US ports, translating to less delays and faster clearance and delivery of goods for clients, as well as enhanced market credibility from being an approved operator. Ibrahim Al Omar, CEO of Bahri, said that the recognition is a testament to the dedication of the company's technical managers, adding:

"We are proud that a sizeable number of vessels from our North American fleet have been recognized as adhering to one of the industry's most exacting quality standards. The Bahri brand name has become synonymous with quality, reliability and safety, and being awarded QUALSHIP 21 status adds a further layer of trust for our clients.

"Most of the privileges the QUALSHIP certification confers on Bahri directly benefit our customers, who can look forward to receiving their cargo safe and early. This provides us with a terrific competitive edge, and will help strengthen our position as a preferred shipping partner as customers weighing between two identical carriers will naturally opt for the one that has an international seal of approval.”