Hot on the heels of the news that Iranian vessels are once more calling at European ports comes a new RoRo and container service linking the Thames side port of Tilbury with the Middle East. The service, operated by the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri), offers shippers a completely new option for shipping heavy roll-on/roll-off, project and containerised cargoes between the UK, Northern Europe and the Gulf region. It began in November with calls including Bremerhaven, Antwerp and Bilbao and now, withUK-based freight building strongly, Tilbury is confirmed as part of the monthly schedule.
Two vessels, the 25,957 dwt multipurpose Bahri Jeddah and sister ship Bahri Abha, built in 2013, are flexible, self-geared RoCon vessels offering 6.8 metre height clearance, 250-tonne ramp capacity and two 120-tonne deck cranes with a tandem lift capacity of 240 tonnes. They have seven decks, including two hoistable decks, the ability to carry up to 700 cars, and a combined deck capacity of 25,000 square metres, plus container capacity for 300 TEU. The ships are fully equipped to carry standard containers, rolling vehicles, tracked vehicles, static cargo, project cargo and high & heavy cargo.
Ro-Ro Cargo Ship Bahri Jeddah - Image: Manuel Hernández Lafuente
The recent arrival of the Bahri Jeddah marked the commencement of the flexible shipping link which also has the capability to handle ‘sensitive’ MoD (Ministry of Defence) and IMO Class 1 goods, subject to the appropriate export licences, etc., being in place, a feature particularly suitable for the region. After the Northern Europe calls, the service passes through the Suez Canal to call at Jeddah, Jebel Ali and Dammam.
A wide range of other ports in the region will be served by inducement or by transhipment via own tonnage and approved partner carriers. DKT Allseas Shipping, a 50/50 joint venture between Allseas Global Logistics and De Keyser Thornton, is the liner agent for the service and Trevor Kay, Bahri service Line Manager at DKT Allseas observed:
“Thanks to the extreme flexibility of these vessels and the service, we have the benefit of not being limited to any single target sector of the market. However, a major focus is big project cargoes, which can be handled by the onboard cranes and via RoRo. The unique factor is that shippers now have the benefit of a direct call into the UK, instead of having to tranship to Antwerp.
“As Bahri is the national shipping line, government projects in Saudi Arabia are an important focus. For example, Saudi Arabia’s large railway projects will take several years of engineering and major construction work. Minor civil engineering has begun, with consequent demand for excavators and general construction equipment. Steel, sleepers, rail track and, eventually, rolling stock, will all be required, as well as all of the construction materials and engineering equipment for building stations, roads, parking and other services.
“The four rail projects will span Saudi Arabia, with the potential for connecting to other countries, and the work will continue for several years. The logical progression for any extensive rail connection would be the development of urbanisation along the route; Bahri would seek to continue securing shipments of the construction equipment and cargoes related to infrastructure support, such as power generation, telecommunications and water supply, etc. In addition, we have the ability to transport associated cargoes ranging from bridge sections to tunnelling equipment and steel fabrications, to name a few.”
With the service looking to profit from some of the major engineering projects in the region, such as Egyptian oil & gas projects transiting through Alexandria the service will consider inducement for calls ranging across a wide variety of ports including Djibouti, Dar es Salaam , Mombasa, Sohar, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bahrain, Kuwait, Umm Qasr, Massawa, Jubail, Mumbai and Karachi/Port Qasim.
Source: Handy Shipping Guide