We need to make sure that our customers have the frequency, the reliability and the space they need.
That’s also good news for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), which is called on by its customers in both Oceania and the Americas to get the equipment where it is needed. It’s part of a long history for the company: WWL ships first called at the port of Sydney in 1895, and have been sailing Down Under ever since.
Because of the continued growth in the trade, WWL has – since this spring – been offering its customers even more options on the route between North America and Oceania, increasing the number of sailings from three to four departures per month. It’s not only a matter of more ships, as the trade will also be served by the new Mark V vessel, the newest, largest RoRo ship in the world.
“The market has been very strong, and we have the premier service out of the US to Oceania,” says John Felitto, Executive Vice President, WWL Americas. “So we decided to go up to four vessels, because we need to make sure that our customers have the frequency, the reliability and the space they need.”
WWL naturally carries cars to the region – a lot of them – but the trade is also driven, Felitto explains, by Australia’s mining and agricultural industries, and the need for heavy equipment in the country. “We are a specialist in carrying heavy equipment for manufacturers like Caterpillar, John Deere and Komatsu, as well as used equipment, larger pieces for mining companies and dragline manufacturers, huge excavation equipment, and so on. There are many gas-related projects going on in Australia now, so we’re handling a large amount of project cargo.”
The route takes WWL vessels from Baltimore, Savannah and Panama to Auckland, Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle. “Panama is a strategic hub for WWL where we connect the whole world,” Felitto says. “Cargo coming from the US West Coast, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela and other areas is transshipped in Panama and on to Oceania.”
The arrival of the Mark V vessels – with more than 50,335 square metres of deck area, and a 12-metre-wide ramp with a weight capacity of 500 tonnes – expands the service WWL can provide to its customers, and not only by their size, Felitto explains. “They’re perfect for this service. They have more deck space, hoistable decks and good deck strength for project cargo. We can load them up with the mix of mining, agricultural and project cargo that the market demands.”
“The new ships, and the expansion of our service, are signals of our commitment to this trade,” he continues. “It’s one of the longest routes in the world for us, and one that represents a special relationship between our company and the market. One that’s not only about the ocean service side, but also about the very personal customer service that we still provide, even as we expand.”