October 26, 2000

RO/RO lifeline for Harland & Wolff
U.K. Prime Ministe Tony Blair MP, had good news for shipbuilder Harland and Wolff when he stopped off at the yard during a short visit to Northern Ireland today.

He announced that the AWSR Ltd consortium, with whom Harland and Wolff had been closely working, has been declared as the preferred provider for Britain's Strategic Sealift Service, which will entail the construction of six newbuild Roll on Roll off ferries.

Subject of finalization of the U.K. government's contract with AWSR Ltd, two of the vessels will be constructed at Harland and Wolff, subject to finalization of shipbuilding contracts. The remaining vessels will be constructed at the Flensburg yard in Germany.

The order split, delivery dates and associated manufacturing commencement dates will be subject to discussion between AWSR Ltd, Harland and Wolff and Flensburg.

Welcoming the news, Harland and Wolff, chief executive, Brynjulv Mugaas, said the announcement would "provide a tremendous boost, not only for our employees who have experienced such difficult times recently."

He said that, subject to the finalization of the RO/RO contracts, design work would commence immediately.

"The short term orderbook," he continued, "will consist of the ongoing completion of the upgrade of the Fred Olsen Energy owned Bredford Dolphin drilling rig and the new contract for a Special Periodic Survey on another drilling rig, Bulford Dolphin, owned by the Fred Olsen related company Borga a/s. These will provide a valuable contribution to overall workload until such times as the full benefits of the RoRo contracts feed into our production.

"Flensburg, with whom we have established a close relationship, are a very successful and efficient producer of such ships and have indicated their preparedness to work closely with us to benchmark our activities against a best in class provider," said Mugaas. "The establishment of this relationship will play a pivotal role in creating a future for Harland and Wolff following the recent restructuring of the company. In addition, participation in the RoRo program will provide a vital lead-in to the future aircraft Carrier program."

He also noted that the opportunity to work with the AWSR Ltd consortium enables Harland and Wolff to re-establish relationships with some of the oldest U.K. shipping lines.

AWSR Ltd consists of a UK wide consortium of comprising long established shipping lines and includes Andrew Weir Shipping, James Fisher of Barrow Bibby Line and Houlder Offshore.

ACL and Ultrapetrol combine South American barge companies
American Commercial Lines LLC ) and Ultrapetrol Bahamas Limited have signed an agreement to combine their inland river barge transportation companies operating on the Parana/Paraguay River system in South America.

The new company, UABL Limited, will serve commodity shippers in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

UABL will operate 18 towboats and a combined fleet of 335 dry cargo and tank barges. The consolidation was accomplished on a 50-50 basis.

Under the agreement, Ultrapetrol’s Felipe Menendez Ross will serve as UABL’s chief executive officer and ACL’s Delbert Wilkins will serve as its chief operating officer.

"This merger creates exciting opportunities for both companies. Combining our complementary strengths enhances our productivity and improves barge transportation services for shippers throughout the region,” said Menendez Ross. “Our combined fleet will penetrate one of the world’s fastest growing soy production regions, delivering reliable barge service to the interior of the South American continent.” Michael C. Hagan, ACL’s president and chief executive officer, said, “The creation of UABL will serve as a foundation for growth on the Parana-Paraguay river transportation system. Consolidation gives UABL the critical mass necessary to improve efficiencies and provide our customers better frequency of service.”

Marine Log Home page