Wed, 19 Jan 2022

ABU DHABI, 6th December, 2021 (WAM) -- SAFEEN Feeders, a leading container feeder operator of AD Ports Group, has today announced acquisition of a container ship that will join its feeder service fleet in the Arabian Gulf.

SAFEEN Pearl, formerly called Vega Virgo, will be deployed in its UAE Coastal Service (UCO) providing seamless connection to UAE coastal ports via its hub at Khalifa Port. The UAE-Coastal Feeder Service provides shipping customers with a perfect connectivity solution that accelerates last leg deliveries between the Group's flagship, Khalifa Port, and the coastal ports of Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Fujairah, while supporting movement of goods and optimising local logistic chains.

Additionally, the cost-effective service complements SAFEEN Feeder's UAE-Indian Sub-Continent Gulf Service (UIG) that benefits exporters operating from India's West Coast and Pakistan by enabling them to connect their volume to UAE coastal ports. It also provides a hub and spoke network option to major shipping lines calling on Khalifa Port.

Captain Maktoum Al Houqani, Chief Corporate Authority Officer and Acting Head of Maritime Cluster - AD Ports Group, Managing Director - Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy, said: "We welcome the addition of SAFEEN Pearl, which further strengthens our unique feeder proposition in the Arabian Gulf, and also brings a host of enhanced capabilities and much needed capacity into the ranks of our esteemed service fleet.

"As part of the UAE-Coastal Feeder Service, SAFEEN Pearl will greatly improve our ability to provide customers with a flexible, agile, sustainable, and cost-effective solution that meets their demand of a coastal service in the UAE from our hub at Khalifa Port. It will also develop our ability to target customers in the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Gulf region and connect them with some of the world's leading shipping liners."

SAFEEN Pearl has a gross registered tonnage (GRT) of 10,000 tonnes and a nominal handling capacity of 966 TEU. It has a LOA of 139 metres, breadth of 22.6 metres and a draft of 8.8 metres. It was built in South Korea in 2012.

Capt. Abdulla Darwish Al Hayyas, Director of Maritime Transport Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said: "The UAE has consolidated its pioneering position among the best maritime hubs in the world. The UAE's ports rank among the top 10 internationally in the volume of container handling. The UAE ports handled over 19 million TEUs during 2020. Adding SAFEEN Pearl to AD Ports Group's feeder service fleet in the Arabian Gulf will enhance the UAE's position and its seaborne trade and transhipment capabilities. Registering the ship, which carries the UAE flag confirms that it fulfils all the requirements set by international organisations regarding the Flag State in accordance with regulations and procedures that ensure safety, protecting the environment and maritime security. Moreover, the move also supports the UAE's re-election bid to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council under category B, which will take place next month; supporting the UAE's active role in serving the shipping sector and international trade."

Launched in 2020, SAFEEN Feeders was created to deliver premium feeder services linking Abu Dhabi to other crucial ports across the UAE, the wider-Gulf region, and the Indian subcontinent. SAFEEN Feeders currently operates its services through a joint commercial agreement with Bengal Tiger Line (BTL), a renowned feeder service operator. The current service network offered by SAFEEN Feeders covers nine key ports across the targeted region and intends to expand its network coverage to Africa, other ports in the Middle East and Asia.

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