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UASC to expand fleet despite pressure on rates

UASC to expand fleet despite pressure on rates

Dubai: United Arab Shipping Company will continue to expand its fleet despite lower profits in 2006, according to chief executive Ken Sorensen. Quoted in Middle Eastern press reports, the UASC boss said extra capacity on the East-West trade route had put freight rates under pressure and predicted that the coming year would be "very tough" for the industry. However, the Kuwait-based company which has recently moved its commercial division to Dubai, has no plans to slow down its fleet expansion plans. The company will be taking delivery of eight 25-knot 6700 TEU containerships from South Korea's Hyundai through the course of 2008 and these vessels will be deployed on its service linking the Gulf, Europe and East Asia. However, UASC is understood to have a broader fleet expansion plan in place as part of its medium-term strategy.

As well as container ships, the company plans to acquire bulk carrier and chemical tanker tonnage. The company has recently extended its agency network through a joint venture with Jardine Shipping Services covering its Asia Pacific network and a similar arrangement with Mumbai-based Transworld Shipping. Just two months ago, UASC and partners Hanjin, K Line and Yang Ming inaugurated a new service linking Singapore, Colombo, Nhava Sheva, Pipavav, Port Said, New York, Norfolk and Savannah. Eight container vessels of about 3000 TEU - two from each of the partners - are running the weekly service with a transit time of 18 days between India and the US.  [05/02/07]

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