Ship supplier Wilhelmsen Ships Service says that it has launched a new “integrated service solution” for vessels passing through the Straits of Gibraltar.
Known as ‘Your Straits Solution’, the new initiative will enable customers to utilise the company’s services in Algeciras, Ceuta and Gibraltar from one location and under one banner. A centralised agency for the three ports was established earlier this summer, which WSS says enables it to offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for owners and operators using Algeciras, Ceuta and/or Gibraltar with one agency fee charged for calls at the three ports.
The new system has been trialed by reefer operator Seatrade, a regular caller at the three ports, and will be marketed to owners and operators from next year. The WSS office in Gibraltar will act as the main point of contact, but WSS products and services will still be offered at all three ports in the region. WSS recently gained a license to operate in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, which is accessible by fast ferry or helicopter from Algeciras.
“The Straits of Gibraltar is an important strategic location for many ship owners and operators as their vessels transit through the area. It is widely used to conduct a range of services for the vessel and crew where a speedy cost-effective turnaround is looked for,” says Simon Hutt, area director Southern Europe, North & West Africa.
Gibraltar-based WSS operations manager Keith Blackshaw said, “We are confident that this new development will enable us to make operations quicker and more efficient. The Straits Solutions allows vessels that need to make two or more port calls – for example, taking on bunkers at Gibraltar and liferaft exchange services, at Algeciras – to pay just one agency fee.”
“WSS has identified an opportunity to further enhance our service levels to customers by offering a flexible, efficient and cost-effective set up, recognizing that time is money. Positioning our capabilities to efficiently cover Algeciras, Ceuta and Gibraltar through one co-ordination cell has been an important element behind readjusting our service capability. We will continue to work with our customers in a transparent way in order to meet their expectations to handle their vessels in this area,” comments Hutt.