United Arab Chemical Carriers Ltd (UACC) is a Dubai-based shipowner with a modern fleet of 13 product tankers within the medium range (MR) (46,000–50,000 dwt) and Panamax Long Range 1 (LR1) category. In addition, the company has four chemical MR tankers
UACC’s CEO, Jens Grønning, wants a balanced approach to risk. “Managing risk is one of the most important tasks we face,” he said. “We need to deal with various risk factors on a daily basis. We have always minimised risk as much as we feel is possible, and we try hard to manage the fine balance between what is theoretically possible and what is feasible when running international shipping operations.”
Mr Grønning continued: “In many ways the chemical sector is more ‘industrialised’, and therefore more steady than other more volatile shipping segments such as the products market. From a risk point-of-view, we believe our presence in both the chemical and products markets balance each other out, at least to a certain extent. In addition, we operate in pools because we like the scale it creates and the partnership between owners.”
UACC vessels frequently sail through piracy-affected areas in the Indian Ocean. Regarding this matter, Mr Grønning commented:
“To deal with the risk of attacks by pirates we use armed guards, and we follow the guidance established under Best Management Practice 4 (BMP4). Our ships have been attacked twice, but each time they have been deterred because we were prepared, well trained, and use armed guards to defend the crew, ship and cargo.”
Reducing emissions is a growing priority for many owners, including UACC, and in the area of environmental risk and how to find efficiency gains, Mr Grønning has clear views. UACC has tested new silicon hull paint available in the market, and the four ships on order will all have Mewis ducts installed. Mr Grønning said: “I am a believer in the Mewis duct, but we have only done model tests so far and I am looking forward to seeing the results of the sea trials. The important thing to remember is that if we can grab 1, 2, 3, 4% savings here and there, they all add up. If we get to 5% fuel savings, it will easily represent a saving of $1,000 a day at sea.”
Mr Grønning pointed out that UACC do slow steam on ballast passages and that its vessels occasionally go down to ultra-slow speed, and especially on ships which are equipped with slide fuel valves and blowers.
Referring to alternative fuels, Mr Grønning believes that LNG is credible, but that it is not a viable solution for the tanker sector any time soon, especially with the current highly diversified trading pattern which includes both remote and under-developed ports. However, Mr Grønning said that he believes LNG is an interesting option for ships plying a regular trade, such as ferries, container
ships and the like.
Mr Grønning believes UACC’s future prospects are bright. “We have faced many challenges already. We were launched during the sub-prime crisis, and that affected things.
The growth in the petrochemical and refinery sectors is very strong and intact, and with refining and production capacity declining in the west, the tonne/mile ratio is going to be favourably affected by sourcing cargoes from farther afield, such as the Arabian Gulf and India,” he said.
Danish-born Jens Grønning joined UACC in October 2008 and is its President and CEO. He was previously COO of Eitzen Chemical ASA, one of the world’s largest chemical transportation companies. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the shipping industry, with extensive experience of shipping and finance.
He graduated with a higher commercial examination from Copenhagen Business School and took an extensive management course at IMD Business School, Lausanne, Switzerland.