UASC begins GEM1 service in Pakistan

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The United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) on Tuesday began its GEM1 service in Pakistan which would enable the country to reach the Arabian Gulf directly, the Red Sea and Turkey.

The service was inaugurated with the first vessel - UASC AJMAN calling at the Pakistan International Containers Terminal (PICT), east wharf of Karachi harbour.

"Two vessels will arrive in Karachi every week under the GEM1 service," CEO, UASC, Mallick Khalid Mahmood told reporters at an inaugural ceremony held at PICT. He said that the service would help Pakistani exporters to save their time and reach directly a large number of seaports in Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, East Mediterranean, North Africa and the Black Sea. He said that the UASC is planning to start its services to the Far Eastern countries as Pakistan is the key rice and cotton yarn exporter to the region. Similarly, he said, the country has big imports from China and other regional nations. "It depends on Pakistani cargo," he replied to a question whether the UASC would expand its network from Pakistan to the Atlantic region.

About the Pakistani seaports, Mallick said that they are competitive in the region adding that the country's cargo handling terminals have a huge rate of productivity and are well-equipped to save time of shipment. He said Pakistani terminals' efficiency reduces time for ships' stay at ports. "We depend on quicker services," he said. He said that the shipping line is a large company which hires huge Pakistani crew for its services. "The UASC's presence in Pakistan is over 25 years old," he maintained.

"Unlike the past, Pakistani ports are no more expensive in the region," Chairman Marine Group of Companies, Captain Haleem A. Siddiqui told newsmen at the event. He said the service would provide a direct link to Pakistani cargo to around 23 seaports where shipping lines do not have their direct shipments. The service will link India, Pakistan, West Asia Gulf, the Red Sea, Port Said and Turkey.

The UASC has a fleet of seven vessels with a capacity of 3800-4250 TEUs each, which includes: The UASC Ramadi, AL Farahidi, Fowairet, UASC Ajman, UASC Shuwaikh, UASC Samarra and UASC Khor Fakkan. The CSCL will provide one of the eight 3,800- to 4,250-TEU ships used to operate the service, namely the 4,250-TEU Xin Nan Sha 0353E, according to the PICT handout.

The service will call at Port Said (East), Mersin, Istanbul (Ambarli/Kumport), Izmir (Aliaga Terminal), Port Said, Yanbu, Jeddah, Khor Fakkan, Sohar, Port Sultan Qaboos, Karachi, Hazira, Mundra, Khor Fakkan, Jebel Ali, Bahrain, Jubail, Khor Fakkan, Jeddah, Yanbu and back to Port Said. "The bond was further strengthened in 2011 when UASC established its subsidiary company UASAC Pakistan," says the UASC handout, adding that the inauguration of the GEM-1 service is an indication of the UASC's trust in Pakistan's economy and expectation of a strong turnaround in the very near future.

The GEM1 service would also provide extensive coverage of other East Mediterranean and North African ports through relay services over Port Said, in addition to access to a number of Black Sea ports through relay services over Istanbul, it said. The GEM1 Service will call at Pakistan International Container Terminal and deploy a total of 8 x 4,250 TEU (Twenty Ft. Container) ships on the following rotation: Khor Fakkan, Sohar, Port Sultan Qaboos, Karachi, Hazera, Mundra, Khor Fakkan, Jebel Ali, Bahrain, Jubail, Khor Fakkan, Jeddah, Yanbu, Port Said, Mersin, Istanbul, Izmir, Port Said, Yanbu, Jeddah, Khor Fakkan, the handout says.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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