February 26th witnessed the on time arrival of the largest ever ship deployed to date by United Arab Shipping Company S.A.G. in its’ Asia – Med Trade network, with the La Spezia System leading the way as the new A-15 class (15,000 TEU) ship Al Dhail berthed alongside Fornelli East for the first time as part of its’ maiden voyage calling at Mediterranean ports.
Named after a settlement in Doha, Qatar, the Al Dhail is one of many ULCCs deployed in one of the four weekly Asia Med strings calling La Spezia, with the port now well accustomed to handling an ever growing number of calls of ever increasing ship sizes. Currently known forecasts suggest that 200 ship calls will be performed by units of 10,000 TEU plus in 2016. The Al Dhail, in arriving fully laden in La Spezia, not only tests the infrastructure in terms of water depths and sheer size, but also the totality of the La Spezia System itself. The record volume to be discharged in a single bottom for many years, represents solid proof that the La Spezia System is able to reach end users in locations generating more than 40 % of Italian GDP.
Michele Giromini – LSCT Managing Director – enthuses “…..it was just over a year ago at the beginning of 2015 that a record was achieved , but today just a year later, in even more uncertain times, the La Spezia System gains a first for 2016. As a system, La Spezia has invested hundreds of million euros to improve infrastructure capable of serving increasingly larger ship sizes. The import cargo on the Al Dhail, with some few thousand containers is one of the highest ever discharged here at our terminal, confirming that La Spezia is ideally located to serve, efficiently multiple markets here in Italy and, increasingly to Southern Europe. Supply chains using La Spezia take advantage of the unrivaled rail connectivity, with 14 trains alone departing from LSCT between Saturday and Sunday to major destinations in Northern and Central Italy, enabling Monday morning final truck mile delivery to the end user. It is the combination of service provided and geographical position of La Spezia which global supply chains acknowledge – positive attributes for both import and export flow traffic, with added nectar for the efficiency of the supply chain offered by the 42 weekly port call combinations from Asia, a number of which are provided by the Al Dhail itself”.
Overall, operations onboard the Al Dhail accounted for some 3,000 contractual moves, with the ship leaving on Sunday. Prior to ship departure, Andrea Gatti boarded Al Dhail to present captain Imad Ussein and chief officer Alaa M. Ammar with the customized crest, a memento of the maiden call at La Spezia.