United Arab Shipping Company – Smart shipping with Marlink Services for nearly 20 years

Sunday 9, April 2017

UASC’s cutting-edge vessels are developed with a focus on cost efficiency and environmental friendliness.

UASC have partnered with Marlink for almost 20 years and are rolling out Marlink’s Sealink Plus VSAT across their entire fleet of 44 owned vessels, as well as their charters. They use their VSAT connectivity to improve operational efficiency and safety by closely monitoring and transmitting crucial data to and from their vessels. Furthermore, their connectivity has enabled highly valued internet access and welfare applications for crew.

ABOUT THE CUSTOMER

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) is a global shipping company based in the Middle East. Founded in 1976, UASC has more than 185 offices around the world. The company is the largest container shipping line in the Middle East region and adjacent markets, covering over 240 ports and destinations worldwide. UASC offers containerized cargo transportation, temperature controlled (reefer) and out of gauge cargo amongst other value added services to a diversified global client-base.

UASC is currently implementing one of the industry’s largest and most technologically advanced new building programs, with seventeen new vessels on order; six 18,800 TEU and eleven 15,000 TEU containerships. With a strong focus on cost efficiency and green shipping, these vessels will be the first ultra large containerships in the industry to be delivered ‘LNG ready’, to enable dual fuel (the use of both traditional heavy fuel oil as well as liquefied natural gas or LNG fuel), which is expected to significantly reduce environmental impact and reduce fuel costs.

THE CHALLENGE

UASC have a long history of Marlink connectivity. Over the years, as their fleet has grown and in parallel their demand for connectivity, vessels had been equipped with the connectivity solutions to match their specific needs at that time, finally resulting in a fragmented connectivity profile across their wide fleet.

UASC previously deployed 5 GB Sealink VSAT Allowances across their fleet. Later in 2014, 27 container ships were upgraded to Sealink Premium VSAT with unlimited bandwidth at speeds up to 512 Kbps and 64/32 Committed Information Rate (CIR), plus FleetBroadband (MSS) back up. Marlink also installed the XChange communications management platform to support management of connectivity onboard and remote administration of users and data. More recently, their 17 advanced ‘ultra large’ newbuild container ships were equipped with Sealink Plus VSAT with boosted CIR of 128 Kbps up and down, ensuring that sufficient bandwidth for business critical applications was available at all times.

Noticing a significant advancement in operational efficiency on their newbuild ships, UASC chose to roll out the same applications and bandwidth across all of their vessels. In 2016, UASC opted to harmonise their connectivity services across the entire fleet. The company also acknowledged that in order to provide quality broadband access and welfare applications to their highly valued crew, higher speeds were needed across the board.

THE SOLUTION

UASC’s decision to equip its new containerships with Marlink VSAT is in line with its commitment to build a new fleet of the most environmentally friendly, technologically advanced and eco-efficient container vessels in the world. UASC benefit from unlimited traffic volume on its VSAT, with data speeds guaranteed by their defined Committed Information Rate (CIR).

Marlink offered roll out of its Sealink Plus VSAT solution with 128/128 CIR to UASC to equip its entire fleet of 44 vessels. Sealink Plus comprises VSAT, MSS back-up and XChange, and UASC will always pay the same monthly fee for their connectivity, regardless of the bandwidth amount consumed or carrier used (VSAT or Inmarsat FleetBroadband).

Additional Value Added Services were selected to complement UASC’s connectivity. SkyFile Mail Premium, will be used across the fleet for unified, optimal email and crucial data transfer. Automatic File Transfer (AFT) was also provided as a functionality purpose-built by Marlink for UASC’s specific needs. Via AFT, essential data is automatically retrieved and transmitted at regular intervals from ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship. All types of transmitted files are then stored within the company’s network with no need for emailing or manual intervention. From shore offices to the ships, data such as weather forecasts, software updates, user guides, anti-virus daily updates and digital map updates are sent. From ship to shore, engine monitoring data, fuel consumption, sensor measurements and official forms are transmitted.

The IP connectivity enabled by Sealink VSAT combined with the Automatic File Transfer (AFT) enables UASC to continuously monitor engine performance and emissions, enabling voyage parameters to be adjusted per vessel and based on trends throughout the fleet. The sophisticated AFT solution has significantly digitalised UASC’s operations, resulting in improved operational efficiency since daily tasks are now fully automatized and essential, up to date data is being monitored and assessed continually.

Also central to UASC’s upgraded communication capabilities is the XChange communications management platform, which enhances network management and functionality for connectivity and voice calling on global basis. Universal Remote Access to the XChange enables IT staff to gain access to any onboard computer or network device meaning they can implement software installations and IT updates across the board. Furthermore, XChange enables vital access to Data Manager, Marlink’s program for web compression and filtering. The solution is provided free of charge and can be used to customise individual firewall configurations to allow desired IP traffic, compress and block selected media content of visited web pages, filter access to web pages and monitor consumption details for the previous 90 days.

XChange also delivers ideal crew applications for UASC, whose crew are each allocated 2 hours of connectivity per day. XChange Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is used onboard to enable crew data and voice from crew members’ own devices. Additionally, XChange Media delivers daily video and media content covering multi-lingual, international news, reports, sports, and documentaries, without the need for investing in expensive regional SatTV solutions. The two applications complement each other perfectly, since XChange Media can be viewed in a communal environment on a television, fostering good morale and fellowship, whilst XChange BYOD gives crew the comfort and privacy to chat with friends and family from their own cabins.

KEY BENEFITS

  • Enhanced green credentials: UASC’s new builds have best in fleet fuel efficiency and contribute towards UASC‘s status as an industry leader in green shipping.
  • Business effectiveness and continuity: is achieved through real-time data monitoring of on board machinery including main engines and auxiliary equipment.
  • Risks at sea are lowered: through improved transparency and control of onboard operations from shore.
  • Crew are happy and performing: benefiting from internet and voice connectivity via their own devices, and regular news and media access – with UASC keeping full control of their communication costs.
  • A harmonised, tightly managed IT infrastructure: software updates, IT security and networks can all be managed remotely and instantly from shore, and software and applications can be installed across the fleet.
  • Higher throughput: facilitates the digitalisation of all vessels in the fleet and keeps business running seamlessly.

UASC’S FEEDBACK

“Communication is an essential part of the ship’s infrastructure as it links people and systems on board to the shore office. With such a key part to play in our daily operations, choosing the right VSAT provider was important, but based on existing positive experiences with Marlink, we know that all of our ships get the reliable connectivity they need.”
Waleed Al-Dawood, Chief Operating Officer, UASC

“It’s important that we have reliable VSAT services for all vessels in our fleet to help us to operate efficiently. We’re also focused on providing crews with low-cost Internet, email and voice calling. Marlink’s services fulfil these requirements and based on our previous experience of using Sealink VSAT across our fleet, we are happy to extend our partnership with them,”
Jamal Alani, Fleet Marine Technology Supervisor, UASC

“Our new vessels are some of the most fuel efficient in the industry, helping us to provide even more competitive services. In order to achieve this level of efficiency, we have to harness the power of the latest technology, and the foundation of many of these solutions is IP connectivity. Marlink’s Sealink Plus provides the bandwidth, reliability and control that we need to make the most of the technology on board, which helps us to reduce our fuel costs and position UASC as one of the most environmentally friendly ship owners in the world.”
Mohammed Zaitoun, Assistant Vice President New Building Technical Projects, UASC