February 13 - Shipping line, Safmarine held a naming ceremony in Savannah for its newest vessel, Safmarine Sahara.
Built at the Wuhu Xinlian Shipyard in China, the ship is Safmarine's second newly-built multi purpose vessel (MPV), which can handle both containerised and breakbulk cargo.
"We are pleased they have chosen to celebrate with us the addition of this versatile vessel to their fleet," saidGeorgia Ports Authority executive director Curtis Foltz. "Ocean carriers like Safmarine help to make the Port of Savannah's Ocean Terminal an important gateway to global trade for the U.S."
Safmarine CFO Rob Harrison said the flexibility of the company's MPV fleet sets Safmarine apart.
"Our investment in new vessels allows us to meet our customers' requirements and partner more closely with them," Harrison said. "The Sahara is one of three vessels in Safmarine's Corex service, which calls on Savannah once a month."
The Port of Savannah's Ocean Terminal experienced record growth in exports in calendar year 2011, thanks in part to the commitment made by Safmarine. Total export tonnage through Ocean Terminal reached 560,621 tons (508,586 tonnes), an increase of 27.2 percent over the previous year. Top export commodities included machinery, liner board and wood pulp.
Safmarine's Corex service port rotation includes Camden, Savannah, Houston, Takoradi, Tin Can Island (Nigeria), Onne, Douala, Abidjan and San Pedro.
The vessel's godmother, Anita Edmondson, director of International Logistics at M-I SWACO, officially bestowed the vessel's name at the event on Savannah's riverfront Friday. She said: "I am delighted to be the godmother of this new vessel, which is a symbol of Safmarine's long-term commitment to the MPV trade and to supporting our business."