Reducing the carbon intensity of ships has been a priority for the multipurpose shipping sector. Much like the EU ETS, the CII and EEXI performance measures will ratchet up in intensity as the years progress.

UAL appoints Kestrel Ausa

Harald Maas, managing director at Netherlands-headquartered Universal Africa Lines (UAL), said that his company was “lucky” in the sense that it was ahead of the market with its fleet of EcoTraders. “[These vessels] are sailing with a 30 percent lower fuel consumption compared with similar size tonnage. It is no surprise then that our fleet has a CII rating A label already, but we don’t stop there. We have implemented several other fuel-reducing measures. As you know the CII rules are getting more stringent, and with all the measures we are taking, we should remain at the A level for many years to come.”

Among the measures taken to improve operational efficiencies, UAL has started a programme to get all its vessels coated with silicon antifouling paint. A pilot project to utilise specialised additives for lube oil has begun, and new software adopted to helps optimise engine loads and weather routing. “All these measures together are giving us big fuel savings, which ultimately means lowering your carbon footprint, and that is what we are after. Our clients demand it,” said Maas.

He said that 2023 has proven to be a good year from a commercial perspective for UAL, “although not as great as 2022. It looks like the market has not stabilised at normal levels again”. He remained sanguine on the prospects for the market, going forwards. The carrier is bolstering services to fit rising demand, but there are a few ifs and buts about the market. “We are currently expanding our services to cover Latin America. We have successfully started a multipurpose service from the US Gulf to Brazil covering the Caribbean and the east coast of South America. Also, whenever the LNG project in Mozambique restarts, we will resume our East Africa service again.

“The risks we have are many in Africa, but with our expertise of over 50 years in this region, we know how to cover them well. Piracy is of course the main concern, but we have extended security measures and protocols that have so far navigated us safely through these waters.”