United Arab Shipping Co., which has nearly doubled U.S. cargo volumes this year, plans to consolidate most jobs, including employees from its U.S. headquarters of United Arab Agencies in Cranford, N.J., to Atlanta next summer.
Anil Vitarana, president of United Arab Agencies, said about 150 of its 170 jobs, including most back office work, will be relocated to Atlanta.
"We are in multiple locations in the U.S. now, and so we are consolidating all in one location. We think it will be better for our work efficiencies to be centralized," said Vitarana. The company now has offices in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Norfolk, Savannah, and Cranford and Elizabeth, N.J. He noted the company has a fair concentration of customers in the Southeast, and that Atlanta came out on top in terms of availability of staff. The weather is also warmer, he noted.
He said the company will still have a commercial sales office in New Jersey, and offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati.
2013 has been busy year for UASC in the U.S., with the company doubling weekly volume to about 10,000 TEU as a result of the decision to enter the transpacific trade.
The company has four weekly services between the Far East and West Coast. Three call Los Angeles and Oakland, one calls Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. The company is in a space-sharing agreement with China Shipping in the transpacific.
To the U.S. East Coast UASC has one service from the Far East via the Panama Canal and another via the Suez Canal that serves ports on the East and West Mediterranean, Middle East, India Subcontinent, and West Africa (via transhipment in Algeciras). China Shipping is also its partner in the Panama service, while Hanjin is UASC's partner in the Suez Service.
Asked if UASC is planning to become part of a larger alliance, Vitarana noted that Yang Ming has joined China Shipping and UASC in some transpacific services while continuing its participation in the CKYH Alliance of Cosco, "K" Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin.
Vitarana said that the company expects to eventually bring bigger ships to the U.S. East Coast when the Bayonne Bridge is raised in the Port of New York/New Jersey and the Panama Canal expanded.
On the Pacific, he said the company is planning to increase the size of the ships it utilizes from 4,000-TEU to 8,000-TEU ships. The ships are likely to be chartered, he said. UASC has 14,000-TEU and 18,000-TEU ships on order, but the plan is to used the use them in Asia-Europe strings.