Thursday, January 12, 2012

US Groups Join to Offer New Heavy Lift and Break Bulk Freight Opportunities

Expertise Spawned in Europe Will Drive New American Project
Shipping News Feature

US – An ocean project between two American subsidiaries of major European shipping lines, Denmark’s Maersk Line and Germany’s Rickmers- Linie has taken another step forward with Maersk’s reflagging under US registry of Maersk Illinois, its newest multipurpose heavy-lift vessel. The ship is one of two sister vessels that US company Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) acquired in cooperation with Rickmers-Linie (America) in September 2011 and which will sail for the Maersk-Rickmers US Flag Project Carrier providing break bulk and project cargo service for shippers requiring US flag service.

The Jones Act makes it essential for vessels trading in America and transporting goods by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S. flagged ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. Maersk-Rickmers brings together MLL’s expertise in the operation and management of US flag vessels and Rickmers-Linie’s 175 years of experience handling project cargoes worldwide. The complementary capabilities are intended to create a reliable service that realizes the efficiencies US flag customers need to compete on a global basis despite the restrictions imposed by what has often proved to be an uncompetitive cost.

Maersk Illinois completed its maiden voyage in Mobile, Alabama where its reflagging was performed. The 19,600 DWT ship is 148 meters long and can carry 20,000 cubic metres of cargo. With two onboard cargo cranes with a combined maximum lift of 480 tonnes, she is ideally suited for handling of a wide variety of heavy and bulky cargo such as generators, locomotives, wind and gas turbines, hazardous materials and more. The vessel will make port calls on inducement around the globe and full specifications can be seen HERE.

Maersk Illinois loaded its first US flag impelled cargo immediately after the reflagging was completed on 30th December sailed for Ghana with its new crew of US mariners from American Maritime Officers and Seafarers International Union. MLL was keen to stress the benefits to those customers which required a more competitive environment for the heavy lift market and Dave Harriss, Director of Ship Management and Chartering at MLL commented:

“We are pleased to see this reflagging process completed, allowing us to introduce our modern ship and bring new value to the US flag project cargo market. We are now looking forward to bringing the second ship, Maersk Texas, under the US flag fleet as we continue to build the service.”