Evening, from Lloyd List 26.9.11:
AN ALLIANCE between the US arms of Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk and German heavylift specialist Rickmers will open up new markets for both parties as well as giving a boost to the US flag, writes Sylvia Traganida .
Maersk will benefit from Rickmers’ position as a world leader in the transportation of project and breakbulk cargoes that are unsuitable for containerisation. At the same time, Rickmers will gain from Maersk’s position as a US flag carrier with access to preference cargoes.
The partnership between Norfolk-based Maersk Line Ltd and Houston-headquartered Rickmers Linie (America), announced a few days ago, brings together two companies that already know each other well. Rickmers’ shipowning arm has vessels on charter to Maersk.
The partnership “is no surprise as the two companies have already been working together”, said Rickmers-Linie communications manager Marko Stampehl.
Maersk Line Ltd operates the largest US flag fleet, covering a range of ship types and sizes.
The two newbuildings to be deployed in the Maersk-Rickmers US Flag Project Carrier Service, Maersk Illinois and Maersk Texas , will be transferred from the Marshall Islands register to the US flag in November.
“The US government prefers to move US cargo under US flag,” said Maersk Line director Kevin Speers.
Under US law, freight is paid by the US government to ensure that there is both a strong US flag fleet and a pool of US seafarers.
The 19,000 dwt heavylift ships, each able to lift up to 480 tonnes, are twice the size of the largest multipurpose ships currently on the US flag. They will be deployed in the global tramp trades.
Maersk will own the pair, which have been built in China and will soon embark on their maiden voyages to the US. “The introduction of these vessels further signals Maersk Line Ltd’s long-term commitment to the US flag,” said chief executive John Reinhart.
“The partnership with Rickmers forms a strong team that will deliver outstanding service to shippers worldwide.”
The new Maersk-Rickmers service is designed for shippers that require US flag vessels and the option of large multipurpose vessels, said Maersk Line director of shipmanagement Dave Harriss.
“As part of our market analysis, we heard from shippers who said they want greater flexibility from their carriers and the ability to support all their cargo requirements. We listened, and the Maersk-Rickmers service is designed with our customers in mind,” he said.
Rickmers-Linie (America) chief executive Sean Carney said the partnership would have a positive effect on US trade “by providing cargo owners the customer-oriented service that both companies are known for” .
Rickmers-Linie has pioneered liner services for the breakbulk and project cargo trades with its round-the-world Pearl String that transports cargoes such as generators, wind power equipment, locomotives, steel pipes and yachts.
So exact ownership until November a bit unclear esp. as Rickmers have some involvement in the new venture.