Maersk Line, Limited and Rickmers-Linie this week announced a joint venture to provide U.S. customers with heavy-lift breakbulk and project cargo shipping using two newly-built multi-purpose ships to be operated under the U.S. flag.
The partnership, which will operate as Maersk-Rickmers U.S. Flag Project Carrier or Maersk-Rickmers for short, will provide services to customers seeking U.S.-flagged heavy-lift multipurpose vessels using the new 19,000 DWT Maersk Illinois and Maersk Texas, each with a combined maximum lift of 480 metric tons. The vessels will provide twice the capacity of any U.S. flag multipurpose vessels currently in operation.
“The Maersk-Rickmers service is designed for shippers needing U.S. flag service and seeking the advantageous economics of large multi-purpose vessels,” said Dave Harriss, director of Ship Management and Chartering at Maersk Line, Limited. “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.”
“The Maersk-Rickmers partnership will have a positive effect on U.S. trade by providing cargo owners the customer-oriented service that both companies are known for,” said Sean Carney, President and CEO of Rickmers-Linie (America). “This adds a new dimension to the portfolio of services Rickmers-Linie provides to customers in the project and breakbulk cargo markets.”
The ships currently fly the Marshall Islands flag and are preparing for their maiden voyages. In November, the vessels are scheduled to complete the process to bring them under the U.S. flag.