With a splash of champagne on steel, NOL Group welcomed the future of global trade here today. The Singapore-based shipping and logistics giant christened the 350-meter APL Chongqing and prepared to launch a sister ship – the APL Gwangyang — tomorrow.
At 10,000-TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of capacity, the two vessels are the largest in the fleet of NOL’s container shipping line – APL. They’re the first of 32 vessels APL will commission by 2014 to gain economies of scale, fuel efficiency and competitiveness in an industry moving rapidly to ships of 10,000-TEUs and larger.
“Today marks a milestone,” said Group CEO Ng Yat Chung in ceremonies at shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Ulsan docks. “We’re upsizing and upgrading, and when we’re done we’ll have the strongest fleet in our company’s 165-year history.”
The christening also fulfills a promise. In 2010, NOL opened its Global Service Center in Chongqing, China, and proposed to name a ship after the Yangtze River metropolis of 32 million. APL has chosen the largest ship in its fleet for the honour. Chongqing is the biggest city in China and the only municipality in western China directly under the central government.
Wang Yi, President, Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, attended the christening of the APL Chongqing. He formulates development strategies for the city’s import and export business, formulates foreign investment regulation there and is responsible for economic cooperation with foreign enterprises.
Lisa Wang, an engineering consultant from Chongqing, served as Godmother for the APL Chongqing and broke a ceremonial champagne bottle over the hull. Kathy Koo, Chairwoman of Seoul, Korea -based Pantos Logistics Co., LTD, will be Godmother for tomorrow’s christening of the APL Gwangyang.
NOL said its two new ships will replace older and smaller vessels in its fleet. With greater cargo capacity, improved design and more efficient engines, the APL Chongqing and APL Gwangyang should reduce operating costs. They’ll also reduce the environmental impact of container shipping.
The new vessels will consume less fuel and emit less exhaust than the ships they replace. Because the ships also have greater cargo capacity, they’ll reduce the amount of emissions-per-container carried.
The company said both vessels will be deployed in the trade between Asia and Europe.