The P&O brand is set to return to the container shipping sector after recently completing container fitting modification to its multi-carrying vessel (MCV) Topaz Lena, with plans to retrofit additional vessels in the future.
The containerised market comeback for P&O, once a UK shipping giant, marks a first for what is now DP World’s P&O Maritime Logistics and it stems from a collaboration with Unifeeder on providing services on container routes with a low number of boxes but a need for a quick turnaround due to logistical constraints.
The P&O branding, whose box interests merged with Nedlloyd in 1997, was taken over by DP World in 2006, following one of the first big liner acquisition deals of the 21st century when Maersk bought Royal P&O Nedlloyd in 2005. P&O Maritime merged with Topaz Energy and Marine to form a new brand P&O Maritime Logistics in 2019.
We’ll soon be servicing niche trade lanes stretching from the Americas to Southeast Asia
In addition to the original design to transport general and oversized project cargo, P&O Maritime said its fleet will be able to carry 20-foot, 40-foot, and 45-foot containers when container capacity is most needed, adding that the new model of container carrying MCVs are ideal for lower volume, high frequency shortsea routes as well as trade routes through rivers and to shallow water ports like the transit between Turkey and the Caspian via the Russian rivers, where multiple vessels are expected to be employed next year.
Martin Helweg, CEO of P&O Maritime Logistics, said: “As global supply chains have been stretched in recent years, we are entering the container carrying market to help provide additional capacity in the lower-volume, higher-frequency routes. With five more vessels slated to enter the containerised market, we’ll soon be servicing niche trade lanes stretching from the Americas to Southeast Asia. We’ll be working closely with our parent company DP World in rolling out of containerised service, beginning with fellow DP World-owned company shortsea feeder service provider, Unifeeder.”
P&O Maritime Logistics’ trading areas include the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea and the Russian Inland Waterway System. Currently, several MCVs are delivering wind turbine blades, large process modules, reactors, and pressure vessels on shortsea routes and in the open season of the Volga Don Canal, with further deliveries expected in 2022.